This month’s Member of the Month is Martin Bawden, the CEO of Brevard, North Carolina-based Flymen Fishing Company. Here’s what Martin had to say about his business and the greater fly-fishing industry:
Explain your business — the who, what, why.
There’s no feeling like hooking a fish on a fly you tied yourself. If you’ve experienced it, you know the sensation leads to lifelong obsession and constant dreams of your next fly design, your next fish, your next adventure.
We all have our own reasons for tying flies. For some of us, it’s to express ourselves and explore the ranges of our creativity. For others, it’s the ultimate meditation. Then there are those of us who tie because we need our flies precisely to spec to get an eat from the monster under the log jam at our local secret spot.
Whatever your reason, building your fly off of a durable, purpose-designed base material is a must.
Flymen Fishing Company designs, produces, and distributes fly tying materials that combine ease of tying with innovative design and top-notch performance on the water.
How did your business start?
This obsession inspired me, a lifelong fly fishing and fly tying fanatic, to hang up my suit and tie and start Flymen Fishing Company in 2008. I had been secretly developing our first product, the Nymph-Head Heavy Metal tungsten beadhead, while working for a corporate software company.
Even back then, I had the vision of making the somewhat mysterious world of fly tying much more accessible to the everyday fly angler, which is why the key overriding design goal for every Flymen product is ease of use. Making a fly tying material easy to use and quick to tie enables even a novice fly tyer to create a fly that not only catches fish, but looks great!
Shortly after, I designed and released the Fish-Skull Baitfish Head, which was the first front-fitting weighted fly tying head and won Best of Show – Fly Tying Material at that year’s International Fly Tackle Dealer show.
Since then, we’ve brought on multiple employees, expanded to three product lines, met a lot of great people, and caught our share of fish along the way.
How has AFFTA membership benefitted you?
Every year we look forward to the International Fly Tackle Dealer show. This industry is made up of incredible people and there’s nothing like spending time with them in person to build relationships and collaborate on ideas for mutual benefit. In addition, it certainly doesn’t hurt that AFFTA always makes it a fun week – kudos to you all on consistently putting on such a great trade show.
The structure and organization that AFFTA provides for companies and individuals who are serious about participating in the fly fishing industry extends well beyond IFTD and the environment it fosters for the industry as a whole is invaluable.
What’s one thing you wish AFFTA members knew about your business?
As a manufacturer, members of our dealer, commercial fly tyer, and guide partner programs and their success are important to us. Current members can attest to our commitment to support them.
Any dealers interested in partnering with us can learn more about our program and fill out an easy application here – we’d be happy to hear from you!
When you’re not in the office, what are you most likely to be found doing?
Spending time with my children or experimenting with new tying material ideas and testing them out on the beautiful waters of the Blue Ridge Mountains.