Casting for love: Fraser fly shop named hot spot for hooking up with perfect outdoor partner
February 18, 2008
Maybe it’s the attractor fly patterns. Or perhaps it’s all that talk about nymphs. Whatever it is, pick-up lines aren’t just being heard in bars anymore.
Instead they’re taking place on mountain bike rides, ski slopes and ” notably ” guided fly fishing tours.
“As a guide, you’re often directing romance as well as being part of it. When you’re taking a couple out for a day, if they have a relationship, you’re entertaining them, but you also have to see what’s going on there,” said Hank “Henry” Kirwan, co-owner of Mo Henry’s Trout Shop in Fraser. “So in some ways, (the guides are) romance directors.”
Kirwan admitted he was surprised when 5280, one of Denver’s leading magazines, rated the trout shop as one of Colorado’s best pickup spots for active types. But now that it’s been put in print, he realizes it makes sense, he said. He often sees romance develop in his shop, which he owns with his brother, Mo.
“Just this morning I had two girls up from Denver who wanted to go fly fishing. One of our local guides was in here, buying fly materials,” Kirwan said. “They struck up a conversation and pretty soon they’re going fishing together.”
He flashed an all-knowing smile.
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“There’s a lot more that goes on beyond this shop besides fishing,” he said.
Colorado couples aren’t your typical romantic duos. Yes they enjoy a romantic night out at a restaurant, but it’s usually preceded by a day of hiking, fishing, or some other type of outdoor activity.
Mo Henry’s is often a central meeting point for these types of interests because its staff is knowledgeable and connected with what Grand County has to offer. People often stop by ” either locals or visitors ” to ask where the best trails are, or where to go in Rocky Mountain National Park.
“We’re a major entry point for the entire Valley. (And) we have a great deal of knowledge for them,” Kirwan pointed out. “People from all walks of life are dropping by the shop and looking to exercise their passion in life.”
It’s easy to see why people feel comfortable stopping by the trout shop. Located off main street of downtown Fraser, the easy-going manner of the guides, and the mountain-like feel inside the store filled with waders, T-shirts and all types of fishing paraphernalia, makes one feel relaxed.
Here, life isn’t all about work; it’s about loving the outdoors. And that common element is what often draws people to one another.
As Kirwan talks about his shop and the type of customers it draws, a resident walks through the door and is immediately greeted by Kirwan. They strike up a conversation, and Kirwan tells the customer that the shop was listed in 5280 magazine as a place to meet singles.
“Jeez don’t tell my wife that. She won’t let me come to the shop,” the man said.
Andy Straus, a fly fishing guide who was also working at the shop that day, let out a hearty laugh. He was also surprised the shop had received such a sexy rating, he said.
“I didn’t realize I didn’t come here to go fly fishing,” he said in mock wonder. “(But) you do meet lots of people, from all over ” people you wouldn’t expect to meet.”
Perhaps there is more to this store than meets the eye. A T-shirt hanging by the counter reads: “Fish Naked. You might hook the big one.”
A bumper sticker for the shop displays two trout and proudly claims, “Size Matters.” Straus and Kirwan smile happily as they look around the shop filled with outdoor-loving gear, fish hooks, rods, and, of course, the right fly patterns.
“We would’ve never placed ourselves on that list. But when you think about it, it happens all the time,” Kirwan said. “And you’re not staggering out of a bar. It’s (people) discussing what they are passionate about.”