The Beginning of Murray's Fly Shop article by Harry Murray

Will Murray Jeff Murray
 My grandfather, Will Murray, was not a fly fisherman in 1912 when this photo was taken but he passed his love of fishing on to me. Jeff Murray, my son, started fly fishing with me at age 8 and we still fish together often.

   

 I began fly fishing when I was 10 years old. I worked for Jake Sheetz in his custom furniture shop and he was a fine fisherman.  He taught me the tactics and showed me the rewards of this form of angling.     

     I started Murray's Fly Shop in 1962 in Edinburg, Virginia in a corner of my drug store the year I graduated from MCV School of Pharmacy.

     Good flies were scarce in my area so much of my time was devoted to tying flies when I was not filling prescriptions. I stocked Orvis Fly Rods and tackle. 

    Joe Fisher, a fine fly rod builder, became a very close friend as we traveled around the country conducting seminars on fly fishing for trout and smallmouth bass.  He kindly consented to build a series of his fine fly rods for me which I called the "red wraps". These were outstanding rods and I still have several in 3 and 4 weight. 

     A few years later Harry Wilson, the founder of the Scott Rod Company,  asked me to sell their fine Scott Fly Rods and to work with them as a consultant on fly rod designs. This resulted on the construction of the delicate Murray's Mountain Trout Rod which Scott Rod Company builds exclusively for my fly shop.

     Howard West of Scientific Anglers became a good friend as we fished Montana together and he asked me to start writing stories for the three magazines Scientific Anglers published at that time. This got me started writing stories for national magazines on fly fishing for trout and smallmouth bass and I formed many close friends all across the country.

 Charlie Waterman Lefty Kreh
Charlie Waterman did the photography for my early catalogs and we fished together all over the Rockies, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. Lefty Kreh was a great help in my photography and writing and was a great friend.

     Around 1975 I started producing a mail order catalog that was mailed to around 5,000 customers.  Charlie Waterman, a good friend of mine, did all of the photography for the catalog and helped with the design.  Many years later we were mailing around 10,000 catalogs each year.

     In 1989 Nick Lyons asked me to write a book on Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass which Dave Whitlock expertly illustrated for me.  That same year David Haskell, the fisheries biologist of the Shenandoah National Park, asked me to write a book on Trout Fishing in the Shenandoah National Park which I wrote and have revised several times. Art Flick, a master angler, of West Kill, New York was a great help in identifying the aquatic insects in our streams and I spent many trips fishing the West Kill beside his home. 

     By the mid 1990's Murray's Fly Shop had an online website that made it easier for fisherman to order everything they needed 24 hours a day. To this day, we are still shipping packages to many customers not only in Virginia but across the USA.

     In 2000 Mr.  Frank Amato, the owner of Frank Amato Publications Inc. asked me to write the book Virginia Blue Ribbon Streams which would cover many of the best trout and bass streams in Virginia. For the next three years my son, Jeff, and I spent a great amount of time fishing all of the streams that were recommended by Virginia's fisheries biologist. 

     Next Frank Amato asked me to write the book Fly Fishing Techniques for Smallmouth Bass which would cover the most effective tactics and flies which are effective all across the country.

     Since Mr. Amato was excited about trout fishing in small and middle size trout streams he asked me to write the book Trout Stream Fly Fishing. This was a joy to write because I was able to discuss the tactics and flies I used on many of these streams in the East and in the Rockies.

      The dean of Lord Fairfax College was a fly fisherman so for about 20 years I taught both beginning and advanced fly fishing courses there. This became more of a club than a school for the advanced class because many of the anglers took my class every year. They all became good friends and some even took trips together to Montana, Alaska and New Zealand.

     For the past 20 years I've taught these schools in my fly shop and I've expanded the topics I cover. I'm now covering over 20 different topics with subject matter for anglers of all levels from beginners to advanced anglers.

      With my son Jeff's help we now offer over 40 "on the stream" trout and bass schools each year where we teach you to master all aspects of fly fishing. By keeping the the size of each class small we are able to provide each student with individual instruction. Our goal is to help you become so proficient in fly fishing that you can fish all types of water with complete confidence. 

     We have many anglers who started fly fishing in our schools who are now fishing all across the country with great success.

      In addition to our schools we also offer private guide trips for both trout and bass. 

      In 2015 I discontinued the prescription department in my store and converted the whole building into a fly shop.

     I still enjoy my fly shop and fly fishing as much as I did when I started my business 56 years ago.  In fact I hope all anglers can gain the gratifications I find in fly fishing.

 Jeff Murray Leigh Perkins
My son, Jeff, was not intimidated by fly fishing heavy water even when he was young. Leigh Perkins of Orvis has been a close friend for a long time, going back to when I started the first Orvis shop in Virginia.