One show down, The Fly Fishing Show, and two to go, The Denver Boat Show next weekend, followed by the International Sportsman’s Exposition.
Last weekend was the first time I’d visited the show for several years due to the schedule conflicts with the ISE. It’s been a long time when I’ve went to a show as strictly a spectator, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
First off, I was somewhat surprised as to how similar the show was since the last time I visited. Other than the electronic door prize registration, I could have described the show's layout without needing the brochure I received in the mail. Oh, the mix of booths was mildly different, but in reality it was a lot of folks selling destination fisheries, some shops, non-profits, and a few manufacturers, coupled with some great seminars, presentation and featured fishing celebrities. Little changes from year to year.
The destination booths I mostly pass by, preferring to listen to their pitches at the Adventure Theater, where I spent a goodly amount of time drooling over pictures of sunny saltwater flats and fish porn. Someday, I keep saying, someday.
Manufacturer’s booths are always interesting to check out for the “wow” factor. Unfortunately, I didn’t run across much “wow.” The fold up tying center was interesting, but too pricy for my taste. Milking salmon eggs for fly fishing somehow didn’t seem quite right so I didn’t even stop there. Nothing in the “boat” booths grabbed my eye; especially given they didn’t have anything I’m in the market for.
I always check out the retail outlets for “bargains.” The problem is if you’re not in the market for a product, no matter the price it’s not a bargain. I did manage to pick up a few hundred fly tying hooks and a few books. A couple of shops had some tying materials on sale, but when I did the math I found the bucktails at 20% off were going to cost me fifty cents more than what I typically pay for them. I quickly lost interest in looking any deeper.
The nonprofit’s booths were enjoyable and informative, especially the Federation of Fly Fishers, as I’d like to see a chapter get established in the Loveland/Fort Collins area. Maybe I’ll take a stab at that this year. And I will admit the Lady Fly Fishers refurbished trailers were a kick.
So you might wonder how I managed to spend two full days at the show from opening to close: simple, the seminars, casting demonstrations, destination programs, and fly tiers. What I picked up from those activities was worth the price of admission.
From the fly tiers I learned several new “tricks” and techniques. Not the use of “new” materials, mind you, rather actual methods that I will be able to use when I sit down at the vise. One of the most informative tiers was Mark McMillan, a local tyer here in the Fort Collins area. He always seems to have something new. Any time you get a chance to watch him tie do so, you will come away all the “richer” for your time.
Finally, the seminars where generally well done, and with one exception, I took away something to use on the water from each. Other than Phillip Rowley’s presentation on, “sinking lines for still waters,” I didn’t attend a single “trout” program. As much as I use sinking lines, Phillip opened my eyes to a few more sinking line tactics. I was pleased to be able find enough programs of interest, as the show offered little, outside of saltwater flats fishing, that wasn’t oriented toward fishing for salmonoids. Outstanding from a warm water specialists view.
The most informative program for me was Barry Beck’s on “Digital Photography.” It’s was the only one that I found it necessary to take notes and I’ve no doubt it will help me take better shots. If you’re wondering how good he is, head to the magazine rack and it’s likely you’ll see one of his photos gracing the front cover of some fishing rag.
If the next two shows are half as informative as this one was I will be ecstatic. But the mission for each is different, boat shopping next weekend, then participation along with visiting the following. Hopefully, I’ll see a few of you at one or both.