By MADOLINE MARKHAM
Deep South Outfitters near the Colonnade looks like a fishing and outdoors store, and it is. But the owner, Rob Rogers, and his customers will tell you that their prize product is their fly fishing expertise.
“You can get this stuff anywhere,” Rogers said, “but we tell you where to go, what to do and when to do it.”
For the past 18 years, Deep South Outfitters has outfitted local fly fisherman with gear and know-how. They also supply fisherman and non-fisherman alike with apparel from popular outdoor brands including North Face, Patagonia, Orvis, Simms and Smart Wool socks.
Around the store, you’ll find button down shirts, T-shirts, hats, jackets, boxers, sunglasses and insect repellent.
For those interested in learning to fly fish, Deep South offers private and group classes and clinics at a nearby pond on fly fishing on Saturdays. They also hold classes on fly tying.
Everyone who works there is a fly fisherman, of course. Rogers grew up in Birmingham but worked as a fly fishing guide in Colorado and Montana before moving back to his hometown.
He and a friend saw that there wasn’t a fly fishing business in Alabama and decided to fill that void. He originally opened the store in the Colonnade but moved it to its own building at Altadena Square Shopping Center behind the Colonnade about eight years ago. They rent out the space next door, which is currently Gentry Pharmacy.
The store carries anything you need for the sport: vests, books, hats, boxes, cases, bags, shirts, flies, feathers for making flies, you name it. They also carry Costa Del Mar sunglasses and specialty items like waterproof gear and quick-dry clothing.
“We sell stuff we like to use ourselves,” Rogers said. He’s tested all the boats and, no doubt, the gamut of fishing gear himself.
Rogers also said fishing out of a canoe or kayak is the way to go. All fly fishing canoes and kayaks are stable enough to stand up in and can be used to any purpose. He said he sells them to many people who just want to use one recreationally. Rogers’s favorite is a Jackson kayak called the Coosa that’s made in Sparta, Tenn.
Deep South also carries a selection of books on general fishing, fishing in Alabama, Colorado and Montana.
Rogers notes that what sets their store apart is its laid-back atmosphere. “We just want to have fun with our people,” he said.
When he gets away, Rogers likes to fish in the Tennessee Valley, on the Flint River in South Georgia, and locally on the Cahaba River in Montevallo. He also likes to fish in A River Runs Through It country where his brother lives in Mizzoula, Mont.
Around the store, you’ll see photographs of him, his mom and his brother fishing, photos that make you want to go explore in rustic natural settings—even if you could care less about fishing.
Deep South Outfitters
4700 Cahaba River Road
Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.