Most of the content for this article appeared in January 2017 – but details have been updated to reflect the 2018 season of The Fly Fishing Show. Do you plan on attending? Let me know!
Starting in early January, fly fishers from across the country will venture out, drive for hours, and all while braving wintery weather. Contrary to their common preferences, they will seek out crowds and austere environs devoid of fish. Vests will be eschewed for wallets, and few will come with a fly rod.
The Fly Fishing Show is back, and coming to your town.
Starting in Denver and ending in Lancaster, Pennsylvania a few months later, the Fly Fishing Show will make seven stops across the country. This annual event for many is the optimum opportunity for checking out new gear, brainstorming for fishing trips, and rubbing shoulders with other anglers.
Those facets of the show are what practically every attendee enjoys. However, there are some other exciting elements that many might not be aware of. For example, classes with individuals such as Bob Clouser, Gary Borger, and Cathy Beck allow anglers to mingle with a pro, learn something, and make the show an interactive experience. For $85 (which includes show admission), these two-and-a-half hour classes are a great deal.
Another opportunity to have a personalized moment at the show is to spend time observing fly tyers. While there are tying showcases, most individual tyers love to walk through techniques, materials, and just generally talk with passersby. Buying a fly or two from them allows you to have a tangible reminder of any tips and tricks that you may have garnered from your conversation. Plus, it is always good to patronize the men and women who post up at the show for a long weekend.
Similarly, the free casting demos, seminars, and film theaters are all worth your attention. While there is a lot of fun and freedom in just wandering around the show, taking a few minutes to check out the docket for the day(s) you will be attending allows you to plan accordingly. Knowing the schedule ahead of time can facilitate getting the author of one of your favorite books to sign a copy, or sitting down for an hour to pick up nymphing tactics from a pro. Notably, this includes the Women’s Showcase. Although I haven’t attended personally, I’ve heard very good things!
Thinking ahead for the upcoming fly fishing season is an integral part of the Fly Fishing Show. Unique tying materials are available, last season’s reels will be on closeout, and that new hat you “need” can be tried on. Guides and lodges have their booths, and are more than willing to show pictures and book dates. Recently, I’ve found my latest pack and waders at the Show. Additionally, I had conversations that lead to two of my best trips (Weatherby’s on the Rapid River and River of Life on the West Branch of the Delaware). Even if you don’t actually pull out your credit card at the show, after walking the halls you’ll be prepared for every upcoming purchase.
Although taking the day to walk around the Fly Fishing Show is not the same as going fly fishing, it is one of the very best “fishing events” that you can spend your time on during the year. Take a family member or friend, and inaugurate an annual tradition that helps you get through the long winter doldrums. You’ll learn some new things that will improve your angling, pick up some practical gear, and meet genuinely great people.
This year I plan on being at the Marlborough and Edison Shows. Let me know if you plan on attending – it would be great to meet readers of Casting Across!
2018 Season for The Fly Fishing Show
- Denver, CO: January 5, 6, & 7
- Marlborough, MA: January 19, 20, & 21
- Edison, NJ: January 26, 27, & 28
- Atlanta, GA: February 2 & 3
- Lynnwood, WA: February 17 & 18
- Pleasanton, CA: February 23, 24, & 25
- Lancaster, PA: March 3 & 4