Product Reviews

Pick of Salt Lake Fishing Retail Show

Castwell Tips His Hat

by James Castwell

Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a change going on in the fly fishing industry for the better. For the past year, or so, much hand-wringing and tooth-gnashing has been the order of the day. Most retailers and manufacturers have dithered over which big tackle show to attend this fall. For those of you that don't know, or much care either, there has been one, and one only, every fall in Denver, CO. It is where most of the fly tackle manufacturers went to entice the fly tackle dealers to buy the latest and greatest stuff for the up-coming year. Producers and buyers from several world markets showed up annually for the three day event.

Like most things, over the years it grew and expanded and tried to be bigger and better each fall. Then the inevitable happened. Dissension and fragmentation entered the scene and with it the potential for a second show developed. Not only the potential; a new group formed and set one up. On the surface this may seem as a good idea, but hold on. It costs plenty for a manufacturer to set up at these things. Time, dollars, etc. And to set up at two shows in the same month and in different states? How about the retailers? The same goes for them too.

The results were near mass-confusion in the industry for the past several months. Questions like; which show to go to, should we go to both, not go to either, which is going to be bigger, can the new group produce a bigger show than the older group in it's first year? This was not small stuff for the industry; it really shook them up. As could be expected, some went to one, others to the other, some to both, and some did not attend either one. Well, so what...

Perhaps you and our recreation will benefit, that's what. It got things moving. It woke up some of the more complacent ones. Hard to argue with the fact that competition is good for a trade. Sometimes just a good shake-up is in itself not too bad an idea. Instead of whining about lemons, let's hope these guys can make lemonade from this season and both spend time supporting the recreation they each claim to love and not worry too much about each other. I personally wish them both the best success now and in the future.

I could only attend one of the shows this fall. I chose the one in Salt Lake City, UT. It was just dandy. How did I like it? Just fine. It was very well attended, very sincere merchants and buyers, well run from the top down. Was it better than the show in Denver last year? Not a fair question, they are all different.

So, who is my 'Pick-of-the-Show?' Miller-Freeman. They are the boys who put on the show in Salt Lake City, UT. They seem to me to be the biggest single feature of the show. I know you were looking for some neat 'something' I found at the show as a pick. Trust me, I found plenty and will bring them to you over the next months. But, my hat is off to the guys that got together and formed the group and set up the show, and made it all work out so well. Congratulations Miller- Freeman and all the rest of you that made it possible.

~James Castwell

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