Taking Stock—Selling Flies on eBay

Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

If you have a financial advisor, they’re probably not going to recommend selling flies on eBay as a hedge on your retirement fund. The day I was writing this, there were over 1,000 auctions or ‘buy it now’ items for Woolly Buggers on eBay. Looking at those that actually sold told me the average price per bugger was 50-75 cents each. You have to sell a lot of buggers to make any money at that price. I am sure there are a few eBayers that find themselves successful at selling good numbers of flies every season, but I won’t be one of them. I’ve been an eBayer since 1998 and for the past five years have been selling flies on eBay twice a year. It works like this.

~50 Useless Flies - eBay $10
~50 Useless Flies – eBay $10

Once in the Spring and once in the Fall I’ll take stock of all my fly boxes and other fly storage containers. The goal, find 25-50 flies that you can lump together in a single, cheap box that you can call something like this: “~ 50 Used Trout Flies in Box” with a detailed description that reads something like this: “Approximately 50 used trout flies. Flies are listed as used as they come from working fly boxes. Most however have never been fished and are clean and like new. Assortment includes bead and cone head Woolly Buggers, various streamers and wet flies, a few dry flies including sparkle duns, elk hair caddis and hoppers. Contained in a Plano 3450 box.” Of course the actual description ought to be close to what you are actually selling. When it sells for $11 (.20¢ + per fly) and the buyer is paying shipping and the buyer is ecstatic about the purchase you’ve successfully sold flies on eBay. Anyone can do it. You just need to meet one or more of the following criteria:

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