Sunday, January 23, 2011

Recap: The Fly Fishing Show - Somerset NJ

48 hours later, and $170 poorer, I'm still dizzy for all the stuff I saw on Saturday. It was a great show. Unfortunately, there was so much to see on the floor and in the 6 hours I was there, I still didn't even get a chance to get time to take in one seminar or film. Oh well, there's always March in Valley Forge. I spent my time picking the brains of as many fly tiers as possible, and finding good deals on tying materials. It's amazing to me how much the trends have changed since last year's show (or maybe it's just that I don't remember anything from last year).

  • I'd say at least half of the tiers I saw had a cautery pen (for burning) and used clear cure good with the UV light. Last year the UV light was a bit of a novelty item.

  • There was a huge emphasis on freshwater streamers. I couldn't walk a few feet without seeing a barbell eyed zonker pattern being tied.

  • The place was absolutely packed with saltwater flies. They were everywhere.

  • I was surprised that I didn't see much Euro-nymphing flies being tied.

  • Everyone was going big on the patterns. I'm a big fan of small nymphs (pheasant tails, hares ears, CJs, etc) and I really didnt see much of that going on.

  • Lots of deer hair.

  • Lots of tube flies.

  • People paying way too much money for anything with the word SIMMS printed on it.

Highlights of the show for me include:

Bruce Corwin - I spent a good amount of time checking out his Spider patterns first thing in the morning. They are amazing! They look so real. He used Mono for the legs. I've already been trying to make these patterns. I can't wait to plop them down hard under a low hanging tree branch in the summer and see if trout take them. He was a really nice guy and more than happy to explain his tying tricks.

Norm the Nor-Vise guy - I always enjoy watching him come up with crazy patterns on this vise. What interested me more this year was his auto-retracting bobbin system. I was inches away from purchasing one, but the thought of having to spool all my thread on his special spools, along with the cost of each spool deterred me. Anyone have any good ideas on a similar bobbin?

Lefty Kreh - I watched him try to teach a woman how to cast a fly rod. He was literally able to rock a 50 yard cast with the flick of his wrist and no elbow flex at all. I'll never understand how he does that.

Fishy Fullum - This guy was awesome, as was his mustache. He took the time to answer every single question I had on his patterns. He's amazing on the vise and he also had a sick spider pattern. I saw him tying this pattern with these crazy bubble-head beads. He said they were from Spirit River Flies, and I must track them down.

Speaking of Spirit River, here's a hummingbird pattern from the man behind it, Bill Black. He also had some great materials including this peacock herl that he bleached, and dyed really bright colors. I need to order some of that for steelhead patterns.

Enrico Puglisi - This was probably the funniest 15 minutes of my day. Not only did this guy knock out flies non-stop all day, but he was also constantly joking around and making the crowd laugh (and believe me, there was a crowd around him ALL DAY). The way he used the cauterizing pen to make eye sockets in a bluegill pattern blew me away.

Other highlights include getting some first hand knowledge from Steve Rajeff on spey vs. switch at the Loomis booth (and being absolutely in the dark after a minute when the discussion went to grains and resins), some crazy old guy walking up to the professional tiers and showing them these milk egg patterns floating in a jar of water, and convincing everyone of them he talked to to buy a dozen because they were so amazing looking, and talking to Ibrahim Mesinovic from Sweden. This guy was awesome. I wish I would have taken pictures of his patterns. He had these lipped minnow patterns and some balsa wood floating baitfish that blew me away. He even told us some of his techniques, one of which included dropping cut up ping pong balls in acetone and dipping patterns in it once they melt to make them rock solid! That was insane to me but his flies looked awesome. I'm going to be hitting him up for some materials :)

And now, for the haul...I felt like I didn't buy that much, but when I got home and pulled it all out I realized that I did get a lot for my money.

Harelin Cautery Pen (which I highly suggest to anyone that ties to clean up their patterns)

Loon UV light and Rio UV knot sealer - One of the featured tiers (don't worry man, I won't drop a dime of you) tipped me off to this. You don't need to spend the $50-$100 for the clear cure goo or bluelight epoxy setup. Buy a $12 pocket UV light from Loon, and a tube of the Rio for $5, and you're set. I've been testing it out on patterns and it's awesome. It dries almost instantly.

Aaron Jasper's European Nymphing DVD - I watched about half of it so far and I'll write a full review on it soon. It's pretty damn informative.

About five 100 packs of hooks, including this new bent stonefly hook from Saber which looks pretty nice. Now I just have to test them out.

Two 100 packs of hot head tungsten beads from Rip Lips.

Ceramic midge bobbin

Dubbing brush

Senyo's Shaggy Dub in black

5 different colors of krinkle antron

8/0 black uni-thread (would you believe this was so hard to find? It took me months)

More rubber legs in various sizes/colors

Swiss Straw

Fly Lips - has anyone else tried these yet?


  1. The question you didn't answer Mike, is did you buy anyone a beer? Really good review of the show. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for a uv light and the sealer and the cautery pen. That sounds good for keeping cats away from my tying materials.

  2. nope, ran in to quite a few people I knew, and met a few people I previously only knew online, but no blog readers (which is kinda good because my wallet was getting light towards the end of the day!)

    Just do a google search for the uv light. they are pretty easy to find. And some site called sierra trader or something like that had the Rio UV knot sealer for $2.95 on clearance. I gotta go back and find it and stock up.

  3. Excellent recap!
    I spent alot of time at Enrico's booth, very awesome!

  4. save your money and get the bubble beads (called fringe beads) from fire mountain gems

  5. Hey Mike. Thanks for the very kind words and nice shot of the spider. In answer to your question about the bobbin, check out Faruk Ekich's bobbin. It's a bit pricey but should get you where you want to go without having to respool your thread. It's a bit annoying at first since you have to release the tension on the thread before cutting off. If you don't, the thread will roll up and you'll have to go looking for your threader to start the next fly. I'll be at Valley Forge in March and I'll bring one with me for you to check out.

    Thanks again,
    Bruce Corwin

  6. @Norman - thanks! Also, I love your blog. I'm a pretty active reader. I'll need to add to the list.

    @Bruce - thanks for stopping by! How did you find this place? I'll have to take a look at that bobbin. Also, thanks again for the advice at Somerset. I'll make sure to stop by at Valley Forge. I still cant get my spider legs good enough to post on here :)

  7. Actually a friend of mine called yesterday when he saw my name pop up here.

    Here's the link to Faruk's website to check out his video. As I said, I'll have one with me so you can check it out.


  8. nice. Thanks again. See ya in a few weeks