The Story of the Allen Brothers

Allen Brothers LLC was founded in 2006 by Jeff and Jay Allen, as a response to our desire to turn a great connection we had in Africa into a business where our dreams could become a reality. But, to understand why we dream the way we do, we’ll first have to take you back about 40 years.

Before either of us was born, our father, John Allen, prayed fervently that his sons would like to fish, as he himself became fanatical about fishing as soon as he was old enough to walk. As he taught us to fish, and provided us with plenty of opportunities to be successful, he realized that his prayer had been answered a hundredfold – the “fishing gene” had surfaced and made it evident that the sport was not just a leisure pursuit, but a force that drove our very beings. Our love of fishing was ingrained from a young age, and deepened even more the day Jay was given his own fly rod at 13 years old.

As we grew out of our teens, and turned to face life “out in the real world,” we pursued all the things young men do – jobs, wives, homes. At that time, going into business together doing what we love wasn’t something we were quite prepared for … but in the meantime we continued perfecting the art of fishing at locations across the country  – reading rivers, observing fish, refining patterns.

Jeff’s college and youthful years were spent in Gunnison, Colo., where exist some of the nation’s best trout waters. In between working on his fine arts major/biology minor, and finding plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors himself, he was employed as a fly fishing guide for High Mountain Drifters. Jeff spent 14 years in Gunnison, the pristine yet quaint town known as Colorado’s “High Mountain Playground.”

Meanwhile Jay was thousands of miles away guiding in the East, though the lure of the West drew him to Jackson, Wyo., a few years later. There, Jay became a manager of the fly fishing and guiding program at Turpin Meadow Ranch. The flies Jay ordered for the ranch came from tiers in Nairobi, Kenya; Jay had become connected with them through a missionary friend who had been to their village and marveled at their skill.

When it came time for Jay and his family to leave Wyoming to pursue other business ventures, Jay maintained a connection with the Africans, which would later become the source for Allen Brothers Flies (read more in our Fair Trade section).

The Allen Brothers company launched their website in 2007, offering their “essential patterns”: a honed in approach to the drones of “new” fly patterns on the market (read more about our “less is more” philosophy in our Mission Statement section).

From 2007 to July 2012, the Allen Brothers existed with Jay residing in Michigan and Jeff in Colorado. These five years saw retail website sales of flies and Allen Brothers apparel, wholesale sales to shops and guides, trips to fly fishing expos, and an abundance of fly fishing content – from newsletters to blogs to instructional videos.

In July 2012, Jeff and his family made the leap to move back East, as both families considered the importance of living near each other.

Jay and his wife Heather have three children, and reside in Newaygo, Mich., where Jay is a master guide for RiverQuest Charters. Jeff and his wife Michelle have a son and are expecting a second child in April 2013. They currently reside in Rockford, Mich., and Jeff is employed as a Web content manager/designer at a company in Muskegon, Mich.