The small, picturesque village of Gig Harbor lies just west of Tacoma, Washington on the Puget Sound. The harbor is lined with yachts and boats of all types. Harbor View drive, the main thoroughfare through the village with its quaint shops and eateries is a mecca for tourists. Just a 15 minute drive from downtown Tacoma across the Narrows Bridge, Gig Harbor is a convenient escape from the bustle of the Interstate-5 corridor. At the intersection of Pioneer Way and Harbor View, the heart of downtown Gig Harbor, is the Gig Harbor Fly Shop. Owned by guide entrepreneur Blake Merwin, the fly shop is a full service shop offering guided fishing, everything the fly angler would need for the salmon, steelhead and coastal cutthroat fishing found in the Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula rivers and lakes. The shop also offers a comprehensive line of angling related clothing, books and art. But there's more to the Gig Harbor Fly Shop that's sets it apart from the typical fly shop.
I hail from Bozeman, Montana and if there's a boat in front of the local fly shops, it’s a drift boat. At Gig Harbor Fly Shop, instead you'll find racks of Hobie and Native Kayaks--for sale, for rent and if you are up to it, guided kayak fishing. I've taken several trips with Blake as my guide in his Native Slayer 13 Propel kayaks when I visit relatives in Tacoma. Not unlike guided fishing elsewhere, full-day trips are available along the beaches of Puget Sound and Hood Canal. Blake provides the best gear, flies and meals while putting the angler off remote beaches inaccessible to shore bound anglers. The opportunity to experience high-end angling kayaks for the price of a typical guided trip is a big plus. Fishing regulations in Washington, especially for steelhead, salmon and coastal cutthroat can be complicated. The Gig Harbor Fly Shops is one of the few fly shops in the Puget Sound region specifically accredited by the Washington Department of Fish and Game to advertise and guide anglers from kayaks for the various species of Pacific Salmon. If you want to catch Chinook, Coho or Pink salmon from a kayak, this is the fly shop you should book a trip with or seek advice. These guys are the kayak fishing experts on the south Puget Sound.