Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Evan Burck Interview

Evan swinging through one of his favorite runs looking for Pacific Northwest winter steelhead.

Evan Burck has a multidimensional role with the new and upcoming Allen Fly Fishing. Besides being the Product Development Manager, he is in charge of of guide and pro staff relations, and the web designer for their site. From the age of six, Evan started fly fishing and has never turned back. He doesn't consider himself as a pure fly fisherman and will fish by whatever means catches fish, but fly fishing is what he enjoys the most.

Evan was gracious enough to have a phone interview with me, giving me some insight about his passion for the sport and the company he is an integral part of, Allen Fly Fishing.

The Allen Fly Fishing Booth in Pleasanton, CA. It was one of their many stops this winter/spring during our first year making public appearances at shows.
I initially got the idea to do an interview with Evan because of the interaction I have had with him about making a purchase from Allen Fly Fishing. From my experiences with them I could tell Evan and the company are all about pleasing the customer.

MN: Evan, How did you initially get involved with Allen Fly Fishing?

EB: I started out as a customer and was in school working on a computer science degree. It really began when I started working on the website for the company and it grew from there.

MN: From your job title it sounds like you have a really fun job, can you walk me through a typical week?

EB: My job is fun! I get to do a lot of field testing of our equipment, especially Sept through March. As far as a typical week, there is no such thing. I travel and do a lot of shows trying to get our product out there. I have a lot of communication with our customers and try to develop relationships with people who use our product. I still am the web site developer and keep the site up to date.

MN: You are also in charge of Pro staff relations, what sort of people are you looking for your pro staff?

EB: Right now our pro staff is small, but we want to establish a good relationship with people that represent us. We build genuine relationships and make sure that our mentalities jive. We really represent each other it is a mutual endorsement.

"Our coastal rivers and streams get winter run steelhead from late October through early June.  Winter runs are a very different beast than summer runs, and can be one of the most challenging fish you can pursue in freshwater in this part of the world.  But when you do experience success, it's so worth the effort" ~ Evan Burck
MN: Where is your favorite place to fly fish?

EB: I do not consider myself solely a fly fisher. To me fishing is a joy and I will use whatever means will effectively catch fish. Although I do fly fish about 80% of the time I really consider myself an angler. I am adaptable with a fly rod and use it whenever I can make it work, but some situations it just isn't feasible.
My all time favorite place to fish is the Methow River in Washington. I fished that river since I was six. There is a lot of family history. My grandparents are from Methow Valley and there are so many memories tied into my fishing experiences there. I know the river well and can find myself all alone skating dry flies for steelhead. Although there is a healthy run of steelhead the Methow can present a good challenge.

MN: I may have guessed this already, but what is your favorite target species? and why?

EB: Steelhead! Where I live they are available 12 months of the year. I really enjoy using two handed spey rods and just being out there going after those amazing fish. There are the winter run and the summer run and although genetically they are technically the same, they can be completely different to fish for.

"A small, yet lively little wild summer run steelhead from a Columbia River tributary.  Some of my favorite fishing in the NW comes from the Columbia River summer run steelhead fishery.  It is so incredibly different than fishing for winter run fish along the coastal rivers.  I love having such a variety of different fisheries available for what is technically the same species of fish." ~ Evan Burck
MN: Do you have any experience in fly tying and/or rod building?

EB: Fly tying for me is basically a necessity. Most of the flies I tie may not be appealing to people, just the fish I'm after. I have dabbled a little bit with rod building, but haven't had much time to really get into it. I would love to build some cool custom stuff with some of our blanks.

"Chums are lower river spawners for the most part, so they come in to the river in spawning colors.  This particular day, we put close to 100 to hand between four of us.  Chums, while brutally ugly, are some of the strongest, meanest fighters we have in the Pacific NW rivers". ~ Evan Burck
MN: From my perspective it seems like Allen is growing pretty fast, where do you see your company in the upcoming years?

EB: Right now we are a small operation, but we have grown about 300% in the last couple of years. We are committed to managing the growth of the business smartly. Our intention is to offer an "unbeatable value". We want it to mean more than just getting a good quality product for your money. We do not want to grow so fast we loose the ability to properly serve our customers. In the future we could be as prominent as the bigger name brands, but we want to do it our way.

MN: You currently offer a small line of rods and reels and some other fly fishing equipment? Are there plans for expansions on your product line?

EB: We are working on doing some artists series shirts which should already be on the website. We are always working on improving our products and we will be adding a new reel line some time this summer.

Evan spey casting on one of his favorite runs.
 What initially attracted me to Allen Fly Fishing was the web site and the look of the reels. They offer good discounts to Veterans and Guides. talking to Evan the thing that really stuck out to me was his passion about customer relations and building relationships. With that mentality and the dynamic quality line they present at affordable prices I feel they are in this for the long haul. I'm looking forward to testing one of their Alpha II reels on the Pere Marquette this fall for big Kings :) I'm not sure on the color yet.


Traditional gunmetal/black or aquamarine? Maybe one of each, just have to convince the wife not to kill me :)

Click here to go to his blog post at Allen Fly Fishing

Evan is also an excellent blogger and wrote a blog about the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment by the EPA in Seattle.

1 comment:

  1. Mike, this is another great piece. I love all the interviews you do and really appreciate the great pictures you include with each blog!