Back in 2004, Blake Merwin decided to take advantage of the early stages of the internet.
With a passion for fly fishing, Merwin decided to share his knowledge with the world and launched WildernessAngler.com. Merwin was surprised by the local demand for fly fishing, and within a matter of years his home-based internet company transformed into The Gig Harbor Fly Shop, which is now celebrating the opening of a second location, Gig Harbor Watersports.
As a longtime resident of Gig Harbor, Merwin has shared that his love for the outdoors and exploring, which helped lead him to his passion for kayak fishing.
“I love being on the water,” Merwin, 37, said. “Our area has so many options to get out on the water. There are a lot of things to do and experience.”
Although Merwin enjoys fishing of any kind, he finds that kayak fishing is the best way to experience the Pacific Northwest. After opening his shop and providing guided kayak fishing tours, Merwin soon found that these tours attributed to half of his sales and that kayak fishing was a hit among locals.
So The Gig Harbor Fly Shop decided to expanded the business along the downtown Gig Harbor waterfront, officially opening Gig Harbor Watersports during a two-day celebration Nov. 5-6.
“We believed that fishing from stable, pedal drive kayaks in our local saltwater, is the best way to fish our area,” Merwin said in a release announcing the opening of Gig Harbor Watersports. “We worked hard at giving people opportunities to try the kayaks and we constantly promoted them online through social media.”
Now, with two locations, Merwin has more to offer to those interested in fishing and outdoor adventures. The original shop, Gig Harbor Fly Shop, located at 3115 Harborview Drive, offers clothing and supplies for fishing as well as what Merwin refers to as “arts and crafts for men.”
This location also provides guided fly fishing trips which takes customers out to explore the beauty of places such as the Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula. Gig Harbor Watersports will provide tours as well with more conventional fishing options as well as stand-up paddle board trips, and although they are not fishing-related, they provide a fun adventure in the Puget Sound.
The shop hosted its grand opening ceremony Nov. 4, which consisted of the christening of a kayak. Following the ceremony, customers had the opportunity to meet manufacturer representatives, participate in raffles and giveaways, and learn from guest speakers.
“We’re really making this all about fun on the water, not only fishing,” Merwin said. “In addition to our kayak rentals we will also have high quality SUP boards for rent. We are also going to be offering kayak and SUP trips and tours around Puget Sound and Hood Canal. The fly shop does a ton with Patagonia and we’re going to expand that inventory down to Watersports, but it will be more about their lifestyle and surf clothing. We’re also bringing in some great brands like Rainbow Sandals. It’s definitely a lifestyle shop for all of us in Gig Harbor that love to have fun on the water.”
For more information on Gig Harbor Watersports, visit gigharborwatersports.com.