Tom Adams is famous in the world of fly fishing in Oklahoma.
Adams is a fishing guide and instructor and was the manager of the Backwoods store in Oklahoma City for 34 years.
Backwoods went out of business in February 2021. Now Adams and three local flycatchers who met and became friends in Backwoods over the years are now starting their own fishing shop.
JD Adams & Co. will open. For business Thursdays in Oklahoma City at the same location as the old Backwoods store in Oklahoma City at NW 122 Street and May Avenue, but in a smaller space.
“It would be a place for the community to come in and hang out,” Adams said. “We want it to be a place to share information and suggest flies, suggest destinations. Just be the center of the fly fishing community.”
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74 years of fly fishing
The “J” in JD Adams & Co. stands for Joshua Stratton, 37, of Guthrie. “D” is Dan Orr, 46, from Piedmont. Adams in the name is represented, of course, by 59-year-old Tom Adams from Bethany.
“For me, and I think all of us, we wouldn’t have opened a fly shop without Tom on board,” Stratton said. “We jokingly call him the patriarch of fly fishing in Oklahoma. Fly fishing Tom and Fly is the magnet that attracted us all.”
The fourth owner is 66-year-old Stephen Ruiz from Edmund..
Stratton said, joking that Ruiz could be “&Co.”
The four men work as fishing guides and have worked not only in Oklahoma, but they have guided and hosted fishermen on freshwater and saltwater fishing trips across the country.
The four friends, now business partners, have 74 years of professional fly fishing experience.
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I’ll fly away
JD Adams & Co. will not be. A shop that sells not only fishing gear and other accessories, but will also serve as a fishing factory, arranging trips for customers to travel to fishing destinations, lodges, and guide services.
“We’re going to send them to places we know and the people we’ve fished with,” Stratton said. “Steve has been a few times to Bolivia and Brazil, so there are some connections there.”
Ultimately, the owners plan to host their own fly fishing trips and have rented some real estate in Oklahoma for sea bass fishing. They plan to offer fly hook nights in the store just as they used to do in Backwoods along with the casting clinics.
While the store officially opens on Thursday, the grand opening is set to take place on April 30 with food, drink, and industry representatives on hand.
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fill the blank
JD Adams & Co. will be. The first Oklahoma City store to cater to fishermen only in 15 years, said Stratton, who has worked in the hunting and fishing industry for 21 years.
“I think we fulfill a need and desire by hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to have this kind of shop,” he said. “Arguably our selection of flies will be the largest in the state and it will be diverse.”
Stratton’s work in the outdoor industry includes stints at Cabela’s and running the US Fly Fishing Film Tour, a traveling show of the world’s best fishing movies.
Stratton is also the Great Plains coordinator for the nonprofit Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Backcountry classes are located on the Great Plains in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
Fly fishing is growing in popularity with approximately 7.8 million people in the United States identifying themselves as fly fishers. Nationally, there are 100,000 more fly hunters in the country than there were three years ago, Orr said.
“In Oklahoma, from about seven to eight years I’ve lived here, I’ve grown,” Orr said.
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live the dream
The dream of all JD Adams & Co. owners. The four of the four opened a shop to sell flies. All of them are passionate about fly fishing.
“You won’t get rich from a fly shop,” said Orr, a former Marine who also runs an oil and gas consulting business. “You won’t get rich from being a mentor, so obviously there has to be a passion and love for what you do.
“If we can transfer money, obviously that’s great because we have to keep the lights on and we have to keep all this cool stuff in store, but along the same lines, we have to be a service to people and we want to have the fun of doing that.”
They all agree that life is better with a fly rod in hand.
“I don’t think there is anything else,” Ruiz said. “My wife doesn’t like hearing that.”
The store’s website is jdadamsco.com and its phone number is 405-242-3520. JD Adams & Co will be open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm
Reporter Ed Godfrey researches the stories that affect your life. Whether it’s in the news, outdoors, sports – you name it, he wants to report it. Do you have a story idea? Reach out to him at [email protected] or on Twitter @EdGodfrey. Support his work and that of other Oklahoma journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.