This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

September 15th, 2003

Denver Show, Part 2

One of the things we try to do when at the Fly Tackle Dealer Show is see as many of our Sponsors as we can. We don't always have the opportunity to talk with everyone (I'm not going to interupt a sale) but it's great to see what is new, and also to thank each for their support of FAOL. Without them, this website would not exist.

Jerry Seim

Sage's rod designer, Jerry Seim, (and one of the finest casters we know) took some time to talk with me about the new Xi2 Fly Rod. We had one here before the show, and it is light in hand, very smooth - casts short distances as well as really banging out long distances. Look for an article from Jerry here on a neat casting manoeuver which will help those casting big flies to avoid hitting their rods.

Frank Bryan at Chota has some really unique new gloves. I've had various fingerless gloves for cold weather fishing - but nothing designed like these. There is nothing to snag your fly line - and the padded palm has sections removed so the palm of the glove closes smoothly - without the lumps which make it hard to hold a rod (or anything else). The finger-tips "pop" into place using a method different from anything I've seen before. Very nice!

Thomas & Thomas 2-Handed Rod
There seems to be increasing interest in 2-handed fly rods. My husband, JC, and I received a bit of a lecture from one of the British casting champions when we said the phrase "spey rods." It seems there are no such things. There are no "spey rods" made on the River Spey, never were. There are 2-handed or double-handed rods. Being properly corrected, that is what we will call them! The photo above is Trey Combs showing me the new Thomas & Thomas 2-handed 12 weight rod. The rod is amazingly light! You might keep your eyes open for more information on 2-handed rods as well as how to cast them here.

I had not had an opportunity to actually handle the now famous Korkers Konvertible Wading Boot, and they are just as terrific as the billing. Solves so many problems for the fly fisher at one time! But wait! There's more. Watch for a whole line of new footwear - from sandles to wading booties.

One of - if not the busiest tying materials booths - was Rainy's. We've known Rainy Riding for a number of years - she has always been an innovator and it turns out she's also a fighter. She bought her business back from the Scientific Anglers group and expanded. She set up a factory in Thailand and moved there full time!

The idea was absentee ownership doesn't work. There have been plenty of examples of that one. US companies trying to run a company without being there. Several of the 'off-shore' fly tying companies have changed hands in the recent past.

Do check with your local dealer, or if you don't have one, you can order directly from Rainy's (yes, they are a Sponsor here). If you've been looking for something special - or different, Rainy has a huge selection of brand new items! She also has a whole new line of saltwater flies - that's the lady herself on the left! Congratulations Rainy! By the way, she does fish and she knows what's she's doing.

Jean-Guy Côté

The man behind the neat tinsels, flosses and threads is the gentleman above, Jean-Guy Côté. You've heard the UNI name - now you can connect a face to it as well. Jean-Guy Côté is a fine tyer, and has been instrumental in many of the Atlantic Tying groups. He has promised to add to our Atlantic Tying series as well.

We had the opportunity to spend a little time with Marv Nolte at the Partridge booth. Watch for some goodies from Marv here too. Jeff Pierce, Mustad, was sporting a brace and wasn't tying, but it was sure great to see him!

Marc Petitjean

My favorite goodie from the show was one created by Marc Petitjean. Actually it isn't 'one' it's a group. They are called "Magic Tools" and allow the tyer to create all sorts of combinations of dubbing and hackle at one time. They are clips, clear acrylic so you can see through them, and we saw Marc demonstrate several flies which just blew us away. Al Campbell, Hans Weilenmann, and Jim Schollmeyer all have them. I'm sure we'll all get to see the results soon. Then again, Marc offered to do something for FAOL with them too! Should be an interesting tying season!

I haven't heard if next year's show is scheduled for Denver or not. Frankly, I preferred the layout at Salt Lake, and it's a much shorter flight for us. But Denver does have it's good points (the very long ride from the airport isn't one of them,) however, they may have the best steakhouse ever.

We had dinner Thursday night at Gallagher's on Arapahoe Street, just the other side of the block from the Executive Tower Hotel where we stayed. There isn't anywhere in our region where we can find 21 day dry aged beef. It was absolutely perfect. (They even have a cooler where you can see the meat, with a Quiet Please, Meat Aging sign!) The evening was pricy - but worth every penny. Nice going folks! If you are in the area, downtown Denver, don't miss it.

Our sincere thanks for the folks at Frank Amato Publications too - we had a nice dinner with the group on Friday night. Amato has been one of our Sponsors since almost the very beginning of FAOL, and we value their friendship as well as support. I find it interesting that they as book and magazine publishers saw the value of having a web presence early. There are still many, not just in the fly fishing industry, who don't have a clue. The world is passing those folks by.

I'll probably think of a slew of things I haven't mentioned, so we'll get those in future columns. We had a great time, but we are still exhausted...each year it gets a little harder to recover. Could be the older than dirt is catching up with us. ~ The LadyFisher

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