Commerce Street sees a new fly fishing shop owned by Liberty alumnus

 A Liberty University alumnus-owned fly fishing shop specializing in handmade flies and other fishing equipment is coming to Commerce Street in downtown Lynchburg in late February. 

Liberty alumni Ethan Martin went from selling handcrafted fishing flies on Instagram to creating a brick and mortar fly fishing store. Martin has a degree in pastoral leadership, and owning a fly-fishing shop was not part of Martin’s 10-year plan.

“I went to school to be a pastor. Now, I’m going into the business world,” Martin said. “That kind of seems backwards.”

But after working in ministry as a youth pastor for four years, Martin said he felt God calling him in a different direction.

“I went and worked for a church, and I loved it, but I saw so many doors opening on the store side, so I asked God (where he wanted me),” Martin said. 

In 2018, Martin and his family packed up and moved from Waynesboro, VA to Lynchburg to begin work on their new store, Taletellers Fly Shop.

The store is located at 920 Commerce Street, Lynchburg. You’ll recognize it by its handmade furniture, window tying station and neon fish “open” sign.

“I saved money making the table and shelves, so I thought I’d splurge on the sign,” Martin said.

The store will sell Martin’s handmade flies, rods, reels and other fly fishing equipment. Taletellers will also offer guided trips and casting and fly-tying lessons — Martin’s beloved childhood hobbies.

“When I was 10, I was annoying my grandpa, so he went to K-Mart, bought me a fly rod, set out a hula hoop and told me to try and cast into it,” Martin said. “I think he went back inside, but I just stayed out there casting.”

The year after his grandfather taught him to cast, Martin started tying his own flies. A friend of his dad’s brought over small a kit to get him started, and now he sells his uniquely crafted flies on social media to buyers all over the world, including New Zealand, Australia and Patagonia.

“I used to knock social media until it helped me survive,” Martin said. “Instagram has been really helpful in getting my flies out there. I had no idea how effective it was.”

Now that Martin has moved downtown, he is anticipating new challenges to come with the territory, but he is thankful to have a family that is supportive of his passion for fishing.

“My family has been great through all of this,” Martin said. “My dad owned a small business for 26 years, so he’s been really helpful in guiding me.”

Martin not only wants to share his passions with customers, but also build relationships with them and with the Lynchburg community.

“You can sit down with someone at a coffee shop for an hour and get to know them, or you can go fishing on the river for five hours and really get to know them,” Martin said. “That’s what’s so great about fishing.”

His store, Taletellers Fly Shop, will hold a soft opening in late February and grand opening in March. His products are online at or on his Instagram @taletellersva. 

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