Sunday, January 29, 2012
Somerset Fly Fishing Show - Recap
It feels like it was just yesterday that I was at the 2011 show. I can't believe a year flew by already. After a long night with the kids having sleeping issues, I didn't get to bed until 2am, and was woke up by Michael at 6:55am telling me he wanted to watch the sun come up with me. So much for getting some rest last night.
That slowed me down and I didn't wind up getting to the show until about 9:45am. Needless to say, parking sucked and I got in some exercise walking to the place. I passed through masses of cars and SUVs covered with bumper stickers; old Cadillacs covered in TU and Hardy stickers, and the younger crowd vehicles with Jettas rocking 20 inch rims, covered with Simms, Sage, and "Insert hip fly fishing website here" stickers. Quite the generation gap.
I was surprised when I got inside. It really was not that crowded at all like it was in the last two years. I thought that was a plus. To be perfectly honest, I didn't find the show to really be that great. Almost half of the floor booths were lodges and guide/charter services, or some fly fishing magazine with jacked up subscription prices (But wait! You get a free LED flashlight and cooler with purchase!) There's a reason why the "free issue" they give you when you sign up has the price removed from the front - it's because they are charging you more than the cover price for a year!
There were a decent amount of vendors, much more than the fly tying symposium had a few months back. But, the great deals were not there. At least I didn't find them. I look at it this way. If I'm driving 1.5 hours and paying a $15 admission fee and have to pay $5 for a slightly-colder-than-room-temperature beer, there better be some damn good discounted gear. I just wasn't seeing it. I think the economy is still taking a hold on the fishing industry and the vendors that are left don't have much wiggle room.
Yeah, there were the 100 hooks for $7 deals, and if you don't tie flies you could pick up a dozen at The Fly Shack for $10, but I didn't come across much else. At the end of the day, you could order that stuff online, pay shipping, and still come out cheaper in the end than driving to the show. The best deal of the day was the waste collector that clips on your vise that catches all your clippings while tying. After shopping around at 5 different vendors who had prices ranging from $21 to $40 for the same damn thing, I finally found a place that had one for $12. SCORE!
Where I did get my money's worth was just watching the flies being tied. I saw some great patterns, got some great ideas, and many of the guys were more than willing to allow you to pick their brain for 20 minutes. The only downside was that a lot of the guys just weren't at their booth. There were quite a few empty seats as I was walking through.
I also probably could have attended a show or two to get the most of my money, but when I finally was ready to check out a seminar or film, it was either Bahamas or Alaska. I was hoping for something a little more local. Oh well. There's always next year.
At the end of the day, I guess it was worth going. It got me out of the house. I got to see some old friends, and meet a few cool people. Here's some highlights:
1.The Tenkara Booth
I got to meet Daniel from Tenkara USA and he was a really cool guy. I also got to check out a Tenkara rod for the first time and I have to say, it's got me intrigued. I might have to bite the bullet and buy one.
2.Pat Cohen from Superfly
Three of us just stood there and watch Pat stack some deer hair onto this massive fly for about 15 minutes. It was impressive. Plus he was a really nice guy, and gave my bro-in-law the fly after he was done tying it. If you get a chance, make sure you watch him tie. His sculpins are sick. (The flies at the top of this post were all his.)
3.Lefty Kreh not getting beat up by the Tenkara posse
But seriously, it's always cool to watch a legend cast a fly rod. Sorry for the blurred pic, there was a mob surrounding him and I had to lift my phone in the air to snap a shot.
4.Derek Deyoung of CanvasFish
This was one of the coolest things I saw all day. My jaw dropped when I turned the corner and saw his big original canvases on display. Seeing his designs on a shirt or water bottle do not do them any justice. They look so good up close. He was even working on a painting at the show. I would have loved to buy a print, but even the small ones were a $105. Hell, the bumper stickers were $10. Like I've said before, slap a Simms logo on it, sell it for thousands!
5.Al Ritt's sculpin
This guy tied a sweet articulated streamer and it was the best use of the sculpin helmet I've seen so far. This pic really doesn't do the fly justice. I appreciated him taking the time to show me the pattern
Although I didn't get pics, I also really liked the streamers tied by Mike Schmidt from Angler's Choice, and I always enjoy stopping by to chat and see flies from George Maciag, Bruce Corwin, and Kevin Compton.
Also, I have to be honest. My favorite part of the day had nothing to do with fishing. It was my stop on the way home at the Porterhouse outside of New Hope PA. They have the best freaking burgers ever! It was also nice to wash it down with an Avery IPA.
EDIT - 2/8/12
Before I get any more comments about how this post is harsh, please read my follow up post before you pull the comment trigger and begin to bash me. This post was not meant to be offensive. I have nothing but respect for everyone involved with pulling off such a big event. I just didn't have much fun there.