Fashion and fly fishing are not friends. They don’t even know each other. And if they had crossed paths before, they would undoubtedly snub one another on a street corner. Or river bank.
The man who thinks he can cultivate a union between two opposing interests is Mike Fischer. (You can’t make this stuff up.) On Wednesday, he will open Mend Provisions near Nokomis in Minneapolis, a boutique outdoors store where you can buy better rods and flies along with $220 Tellason jeans, Patagonia jackets, and high-end Hardy bags from England.
Fischer is one of those bicycle riding, coffee drinking guys with a big, bushy beard. (It’s a requirement when you work at Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop + Coffee Bar.) He speaks of fly fishing as an almost religious experience and politely tolerates A River Runs Through It references from outsiders. “Fly fishing puts you in places that are really, truly natural. And that’s where I like to be.”
Then again, he also appreciates raw denim, and prefers a fitted plaid button down to some corny UV-Ray blocking t-shirt. You see, before the beard and bike, Fischer worked for 15 years for Polo Ralph Lauren—first in the Twin Cities, then in Washington D.C.
“I like nice things,” he says. And he thinks it is high time to kill the stereotype of fishermen in funny hats and vests. The question is: are there enough hipster outdoorsmen like Fischer? The fashionable fishing shop has been tried before—remember Cooper Hamilton at Southdale? Didn’t think so. But since then, the interest in heritage brands with sporting roots has exploded. It’s just that, generally, the guys buying that gear today—the Red Wing boots, the J.W. Hulme bags—are wearing it to coffee houses and wine bars. Fischer is trying to bring serious sport, and serious fashion, together—without alienating serious fishermen. Or serious fashion men. It will be fun to observe . . . perhaps from the fly tying bar in the front of Mend Provisions. 2719 E. 42nd St., Mpls.