This Week's View

by Al Campbell

September 16th, 2002

What I Think Jim and Deanna Might Have Picked

Each year for the past five, Jim and Deanna Birkholm (James Castwell and Ladyfisher) have provided their picks from the big flyfishing retailer show. This year they had to choose between a fish-in and the show. They made the best pick they could have made for FAOL. However, that left some business unfinished. They couldn't thrill you with their picks of the 2002 show.

That Castwell fella' always chooses some techy stuff and Ladyfisher looks for the warm, fuzzy, cute stuff when they visit the show. I may be exaggerating it a little here, but it's fully intended to be that way. In their absence, I went on a search for the things I thought they might choose for their show picks if they had been there. If anything, my choices might prompt them to never miss another show. Then again, you might see a new Field Editor on this site soon. Either way, here are the things I think they may have picked if they had been at the show.

First, I started looking for the hi-tech stuff Castwell loves so much. Whew, it was a rough search. I looked for gadgets that did everything and nothing at all. I searched high and low for the one item I thought Jim would find thrilling enough to choose for his pick, but all I can give you are the finalists. I just couldn't narrow it down any further than a core group of finalists, but I may have picked the right one after all.

First, there was this cool rod tube bracket designed to attach to the front of a bicycle so you can peddle your gear to the water. Then I got to thinking about Jim's age and decided he might not think that was such a good idea. In fact, at his age, it wouldn't be safe to allow that much air to be exchanged in one area. He might hyperventilate and pass out, and that could break a nice rod.

Then there was this fancy, expensive kayak with pedals that you can use to move around the lake. It even has a rudder so you can direct the path of the boat. Let's see now, you peddle the boat with your feet and navigate with your hands. I'm sure you'll get a lot of fishing time with this one. However, please note the comment in the paragraph above about having enough air after all that exercise.

Then I found this cool reel that's manufactured in Italy. You pull on the lever and the reel winds itself up. It really works. Graphite construction, fast retrieve, easy-pull lever; all you could want, except the price. They couldn't tell me what it's going to cost or sell for, but offered to send me the info soon.

Next I looked hard at a scale net. This baby is IGFA certified to give an accurate weight of your fish after you land it, without the fish ever leaving the net. The fold-down handle is techy, the scale is techy, and the cost (well over $100 for an aluminum net) is techy, but it just didn't fit.

I also found a pair of sandals with big spikes you're supposed to strap to your wading shoes for fishing heavy water. I'm not sure if the spikes are supposed to keep you attached to the bottom of the river or the two-pound plus individual weight of each sandal is supposed to do that job. Can you imagine walking very far in those things? A friend of mine who edits one of the popular printed flyfishing magazines chose that as the one item he was least likely to use. I didn't take a picture.

Finally, I found it. The one item I think is technical enough to grab the coveted award of JC's Pick of the Show. It's big, it's heavy, and it's so technical I don't have any idea how it's used in fishing. Yep, I'm fairly sure Jim would have chosen the fish-axe.

I found this jewel in the new products showcase. Funny, it looks just like a splitting mall to me. I scratched my head the entire length of the show wondering how this item relates to flyfishing, then finally decided the answer was too technical for me. Since it's too technical for me to figure out, I'm labeling it "Jim's pick"; or should that be "Jim's axe"?

That pick over, I went on the grand search for something warm and fuzzy or cute to fill the role of Ladyfisher's pick of the show. Another tough search. A couple of laps around the show didn't produce much.

First, I found a little key ring with a functional fly reel on it. How cute! Maybe, but not quite right.

Then, I found this table full of hand carved and painted fish. Very nice! I nearly bought one, then I noticed the price tag. Very cute! Very costly! Not fuzzy or warm enough though.

Another lap didn't help much. I was just about to give up and then I spotted it; that one cute, unusual, and functional item that might fit the bill for Ladyfisher's Pick of the Show. Every time she used it, it would remind her of fishing. Yep, this has got to be the right item for her pick. (I was also running out of steam.)

Because it's cute, and fully functional, and has everything to do with fishing, I decided that Ladyfisher would likely have chosen the throne lid pictured here.

Ok, I'll bet they either attend next year's show so they can pick their own show prizes, or they get rid of the goof ball who wrote this column. Anyone taking odds on which thought prevails? ~ AC

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