February 19th, 2007

Great Bargains
By James Castwell

Well, who doesn't like bargains, especially great ones. I know I do and I know a lot of my friends do to. We check them out every chance we get. We find them at our local fly fishing shows. Lat week we had some chatter on the bulletin board about the price of the shows lately was a rip off. I will take sides on this one.

Admittedly, many of the merchants at the shows are now friends of ours. Some have been for quite a long time. And too, many are also sponsors right here on FAOL. My point is that I know of nowhere else I can see so much new fly fishing gear at one time, talk directly with the manufacturer and even get to try some of it out by actually casting some of the rods.

It's one thing to see the ads in the magazines or on the Internet but a whole different thing to get my hands on the gear and see for myself. These are the newest items they have. These products are not something your local fly shop may or may not have ordered several months ago at the major buyers show. These are your manufacturers and local distributors showing what's new.

I've heard some grumble that after you have ambled the isles for three hours you have seen everything and it's all the same stuff they had last year. I don't understand that attitude. I never get to take it all in at any show ever no matter how many days long the show is. For sure, never at a one day show. There are rods to cast, reels to spin, feathers to play with, folks to chat with, old things to look at and new stuff to learn about.

Often things are for sale at these shows and talk about some fantastic deals. Not all shows are consumer shows but, the ones you get to see are. And a lot of fly fishing gear is available for a sometimes a huge discount. They might say that some item is a sample or a demo product. Look really close and see if you can see any difference. Take a rod up to the casting pond and cast it once. Is it still new? Now you understand. Fly reels the same thing. And more, much more.

Try this. Go to the show and take a hard look at something you think you just can't live without. Talk to the folks at the booth. Ask them what time they are tearing down on the last day. Make a date. Hey, don't tell anyone about this. This is inside stuff. The bargains are there if you have some need of new gear.

I think the seminars are a wonderful offer and most are free. Good grief, how can you beat that? Take some fly tying for instance. As you go through the isles, actually stop and chat with some of the tyiers. Talk about dedicated guys. They have forgotten far more than I ever knew. Get a bit involved. Ask questions about what they are doing. Learn. Then go to the tying demonstration they offer at the theater. I watched Al Beatty tie a feather and thread in a combination I had never seen done before. How long has he been doing it that way? I forgot to ask.

The price of admission to this particular show was fourteen bucks. I guess that's a little more than a movie these days but, I got to watch some of the worlds finest fly casters giving casting demonstrations and helping individual lessons. I watched some great fly tiers. I had a blast but didn't buy anything, in fact, we went home with a free magazine.

I will say this though and hope it doesn't ruffle any feathers. I saw too many old gray haired gents and not enough of the younger guys and especially kids and teenagers. Maybe they thought it cost too much or maybe they were out fishing. I don't know. But this I do know. It was the best fourteen dollar bargain I have seen since last year. And I'll be back next year to take advantage of it all over again. I sure hope you can find the time to check out your local show and it turns out to be a great bargain for you too. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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