Mike is the nicest person in the world. If you don’t agree, we’ll eat a #8 Gold Bead Biot Poxyback Stonefly.
Mike Mercer is one of those guys who gives the world around him his full, undivided attention. Imbued with grace and tireless in his lifelong pursuit of fish on a fly, he’s a danger to fish everywhere, and an unmatched authority when it comes to honest, objective advice about the great fisheries of our planet.
In 1978, an 18-year old Mike Mercer became the first employee of The Fly Shop®, at that time a rag-tag, one-room, hole-in-the-wall with a few hundred flies and a couple rod outfits for sale. In no time he came into his own as a fly fishing and fly tying prodigy, spinning out tips and flies for the waves of California anglers streaming through the shop on their way to NorCal’s famous trout waters. As he began to guide on Hat Creek and Fall River, his reputation as a revered and highly skilled angler grew. People sought out Mike’s advice because it was the best you could get.
In his twenties, Mike began to publish an ever-expanding number of fly patterns. His “Poxyback” mayfly and stonefly nymphs, “Z-wing” caddis series, as well as myriad dry fly, sculpin, leech and mouse patterns quickly became standard trout-getters all over the West, and later abroad. His particular genius with flies lies in innovation, in “seeing” with the mind what will work, and then realizing it in the vise.
As a writer, Mike has a natural, easy-to-understand style, and a generation of fly anglers grew up on Mike’s regular articles in Fly Fisherman and throughout the fly fishing press. His love of fly tying culminated in the 2005 best-selling book, “Creative Fly Tying“, in which Mike guides the reader through his most famous patterns, as well as his approach to creating new patterns.
For much of the 80’s and 90’s Mike was The Fly Shop’s retail store manager, overseeing the first boom years of the shop as the national catalog business grew exponentially. During this period, Mike also began to make annual pilgrimages to Alaska, fishing and exploring the deepest corners of the most far-out waters. In those days the fly fishing travel community was very small, everyone knew everyone, and Mike Mercer’s calm, joyous, ethical approach helped solidify many of the partnerships with Alaskan outfitters that The Fly Shop® proudly maintains today.
In the late 90’s, Mike began to travel more extensively and further afield – to Chile, Argentina, Tierra Del Fuego, Kamchatka, New Zealand and all around the tropical salt water world. His in-shop focus today is to share his incredible wealth of fly fishing knowledge and first-hand experience with our customers, as they plan their own fly fishing adventures. Like all of our travel specialists, Mike stays up-to-the-minute with all our destinations but keeps a special area of extra-expertise: There’s no one that knows more about Alaska and Chile, period. And he is one of our most objective and valued judges when it comes to honing in on new or overlooked fishing destinations around the world.
But above all, Mike is the nicest person in the world. If you don’t agree, we’ll eat a # 8 Gold Bead Biot Poxyback Stonefly.