When Ethan Martin was a kid, his grandfather gave him a fly rod. In 2019, Martin is opening TaleTellers Fly Shop on Commerce Street in downtown Lynchburg, where it all began.
Located just seconds from the James River, TaleTellers Fly Shop will open its doors to customers on February 22, with an official grand opening event slated for March 23.
After getting his first fly rod as a kid, Martin spent most of his summer days and weekends riding his bike to local fisheries and fishing for bluegill.
“A few years later, when I was young teen, a friend of my dad’s learned that I liked fly fishing and thought I might like a fly tying kit. So he purchased me one and gave it to me,” said Martin. “It wasn’t my birthday or anything. He was just being kind!”
Martin started tying flies immediately, and it wasn’t long before he had caught his first fish on a “crazy yellow fly” he’d tied himself. From then on, it was obsession.
“The more I tied flies the more I fished. In my later teens, I started expanding my target species fishing for trout, smallmouth, largemouth, and grass carp all with a fly rod,” said Martin.
Martin continued to tie flies and fish, and in 2016 began selling flies commercially as TaleTellers Fly Shop, all while working full-time as a pastor in a church and with administration in a school. Now, flies he’s tied have been sent to places as far away as Australia and Patagonia.
“My online and fly shop orders continue growing, my family was growing (with our newest addition, Annie, who was born in November), and I knew something needed to change,” said Martin.
After some deliberation, Martin made the decision to plunge headlong into the fly fishing industry with his family by his side in the form of a brick and mortar store in downtown Lynchburg.
“I was pretty stubborn about the business being downtown. Mainly, because of sentimental reasons,” said Martin. “I caught my first smallmouth in downtown when I was just a kid with my Grandpa and some hand-picked hellgrammites. I proposed to my wife downtown, and had some incredible cheese fries right after with her. Both of us really like the environment there and are excited to raise our daughters here! Just a quick walk (or bike ride) from the shop and you can be right on smallmouth, largemouth and carp, not to mention the musky.”
TaleTellers is a full-service fly shop, selling fly rods, reels, lines, waders, boots, flies, and more, but Martin plans to specialize in fly tying.
“Fly tying is really what tied me into the sport and I always dreamed of a place that had it all, and that’s what I want to be my shop to be—a place that has all the tying goods you could ever dream of and more!” said Martin.
In the first five years of business, Martin plans to expand the shop’s presence into videos, hosted trips, online shop sales, and something he calls “the TaleTellers Wagon.”
“Lynchburg is a heavily populated college town. There are a lot of people that fly here for school that love fly fishing, but may not have the money for a guided trip, knowledge of the area, or the transportation to get to the river,” said Martin. “Enter the TaleTellers Wagon. With it, we will set up trips driving several individuals to different rivers or lakes on the weekends and holidays for a small fee. They will be able to rent equipment if needed. The communal aspect of this could be a pretty cool thing—a way for someone who may fly fish but doesn’t know anyone to quickly get into the community around Lynchburg!”
TaleTellers Fly Shop promises to be a warm and unique business in the heart of downtown Lynchburg, due in large part to Martin’s devotion to the outdoors and people.
“I love tying and fishing, but it doesn’t surpass my love for people. I want others to feel the joy of catching fish, getting outside in beautiful places, and spending time together,” said Martin. “The shop will have a people focus, not a fish focus. We’ll teach, help, and care for our community, and, in the process, do what we can to help the fish as well!
For more information, and to get in contact with Ethan Martin and TaleTellers Fly Shop, visit www.TaleTellersVa.com.