This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm
February 12th, 2007

Show Time Again

The Fly Fishing Show was in town this weekend. Seattle and the suburbs have all run together and while Bellevue is a separate town, for us making the trip over there is "going to the city."

The producers of this show, Barry and Chuck do a great job. The 'local' show is just one of many they do across the country. There was a great variety of equipment, rods, reels, clothing and other gear, plus lots of destinations to dream about.

Neither of us cast a rod at the show. Amazing as that may seem, we have already cast nearly everything new out there in the last couple of years, and we really aren't comfortable 'playing' with rods while possible real customers are standing several deep in line waiting their turn on the casting pond.

The schedule for the show was loaded with seminars of all kinds, plus casting instruction by known greats such as George Cook (Sage) and Simon Gawsworth (Rio Lines).

I overheard a conversation where a vendor was complaining to Chuck Furimsky that the customers were all at the seminars and not on the display floor buying stuff. It's my opinion that a good share of the folks attending come especially for the seminars, and if the show didn't have them a lot of people would stay home. Greed is ugly and yes, it is in fly fishing too.

We were there on Friday, and thought the turn-out was quite good. A lot our age, but on a work day one doesn't expect to see very many younger folks, they are working (or should be). I expect they had a great turnout Saturday and Sunday. If you have one of the Fly Fishing Shows in your area, don't miss it. It is a chance to fondle the new stuff and meet some great folks.

One of the things I really enjoy at these shows is seeing people we haven't seen for a while - or this year, a chance to meet some of our Sponsors in person. Sure, I talk to them on the phone, or communicate by email, but for example, I had never personally met Brian Chavet the owner of ElkHorn Rods (and reels too), or Marc Grasley, the distributor for the US for Marryat products. Both are just terrific guys and I really enjoyed visiting with them.

Several other Sponsors were there, Rick Pope from Temple Forks Outfitters had their newest rod, a 'convertible' 8 weight rod which changes into a 10/11 wt. two-handed rod. The basic rod is four piece; the butt section is replaced with a longer two-piece section with longer grip and fighting butt. The idea is an angler can try spey casting without purchasing another rod. It does require a different line, and while you could use the same reel it just makes sense to have a second bigger reel ready to go. For the steelheader it makes good sense - one rod for smaller water, and the ability to convert the rod for bigger water. We will have one of these rods in the Monthly Drawing soon.

Speaking of convertibles, we got to see the new Korkers. The person I usually deal with wasn't there, but Jason Charlet gave JC a full demo. Impressive. No wonder they were so busy.

We did have an opportunity to visit with Al Beatty who had a booth at the show as well. He was usually very busy, so it was late in the day when he could take a break. Gretchen wasn't there, her folks are getting up in the years and they can't both be gone at the same time for very long. They are hoping to be able to attend the Idaho Fish-In again this year, but it depends on how their folks health is then. Al and Gretchen have a new book at the printers, will probably be a year before it is available, but everything they have done so far has been outstanding, so we'll look for it, (published by Frank Amato Publications).

Sage and Rio had a full compliment of folks showing the rods and lines, nice to see everyone, but we live about eight miles from the Sage plant so we do get to see them more often. They always have a very professional display and enough staff to answer questions. Anyone can cast any of the Sage rods on the casting pond.

There also were a dozen or so fly tiers doing demonstrations. There is a good camera set-up where the tier can tie a fly and it is shown on a big screen. Nice for the audience, and there was a new tier every hour.

Brian from ElkHorn had mentioned Char Bloom to me several times, and I had a very nice visit with her. Nice lady, she has designed some neat clothing for gals, is a Colorado guide and casting instructor as well as on the Hyde Boat pro-staff. Char does have a different take on women fly fishing, and I suspect she is right. She feels women look at fly fishing as something else to do outdoors, not as an end in itself. She keeps her classes light and fun and doesn't dwell on the technical aspects. If she can interest women to get into fly fishing, hurrah for her. If you have an opportunity to take a class with her (women only) do so, you will have a fun experience. Char is the person who convinced ElkHorn to do the pink rods for Casting for Recovery. You can visit her website at She is in the process of adding to it, so check back. Her tee shirts with cartoon insect characters are very neat.

This show is the second one locally. There was another outdoor sporting show about a month ago and some of the vendors do one and not the other. Some of the folks we saw at the same show two years ago were absent - but they may have chosen to do the other show.

One of the guys working the show did mention to us that the Fly Fishing Show in Bellevue (Seattle) is the least attended of all the shows they do. And frankly, if I was paying the bills I'd do fly fishing shows where the folks actually had fish. It's hard to get excited about attending a show when you can't catch any fish. Our local fisheries here on the coast of Washington are in terrible shape. I'm constantly surprised at the number of folks out here who are at least interested in fly fishing - much less those who are really enthusiastic.

Just think what could happen if we actually had a viable fishery. ~ The LadyFisher

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