BRUNSWICK – So much for a soft opening.
Maine fly tyer Selene Dumaine opened her fifth fly tying business Feb. 2 in Brunswick. But the Maine fly fishing community already knew this was on the way. They encouraged her to make it happen.
“It’s a small community, and very supportive,” said Dumaine, one of Maine’s best known fly tyers who is featured in an exhibit at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vt.
A fly tyer for 20 years, Dumaine made a name for herself tying one of the most famous patterns of all time, and a Maine speciality: the Gray Ghost Streamer, the pattern tied by Carrie Stevens of the Rangeley region.
But for a single mom in a profession that’s no longer profitable, Dumaine had to give up her shop in the Fort Andross market in Brunswick in 2010 to get a teaching job to support her two boys.
After landing one as an ed tech at Freeport High, Dumaine went back to fly tying and immediately envisioned a new shop.
Now more than two years after closing Merrymeeting Flies, the renowned fly tyer opened that shop at a store-front location in Brunswick, calling it what Maine fishermen recommended: Selene’s Fly Shop.
“When I tied at the Western Maine Fly Fishing Expo last March, that was a great experience. It was the first show I did since closing the shop. People were really supportive. It was a big confidence builder,” she said in her two-room shop Wednesday.
The daughter of an artist, Dumaine needed a creative way to make a part-time shop work with a full-time job and the work of raising sons Eli, 14, and Gradon, 9. And this time she wanted a shop that would stay open.
The storefront she has just off Route 1 shares a space with a children’s clothing store. But Dumaine said it’s a partnership that works in these challenging times, and a place from which the business can grow.
The posted hours are on weekends, by appointment, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during school vacations. Friday nights from now until the fishing gets good offer fly tying classes at no charge.
It’s been a long, uncertain road for a tyer recognized as something of a modern-day icon.
Dumaine’s original flies and her ability to tie the Gray Ghost almost exactly as Stevens had have won such acclaim she was chosen as one of the 50 women featured in the American museum’s exhibition on the notable women in fly fishing.
But after starting to tie in 1994, Dumaine said she struggled with how to market her flies. She tried different company names like Trout Encounters, Brook Song Angling and Merrymeeting Flies. At last, with her own shop, she decided to use her own name.
“None of those names ever sat right. But even Carrie Stevens tied under a different name, ‘Rangeley Region Trout and Salmon Flies.’ But nobody knows her flies by the business name, they’re Carrie Stevens’ flies.
“This name will stay. I’m known for my name. I am my own brand,” Dumaine said.
Selling all American-made products, Dumaine already has an inventory made up of local and American-made flies. That’s what she wants her fly shop to become known for, not mass-produced flies from Asia.
And the fly tying classes and commissioned flies she makes will continue in a space that is all about fly fishing.
“I’ve hit a stride. I can keep doing this one on the side. And it’s a steppingstone. It will only get bigger,” she said.
To learn more about Dumaine’s flies, go to www.selenesflyshop.com.
Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: