November 17-18, 2012 Somerset, NJ International Fly Tying Symposium
I believe this is my fourth year tying at the symposium and I have to say I take something new away every year.Not necessarily tying materials, but perspectives and experiences.This year was the second year that I was invited to tie at the Flymen Fishing Company booth.The show started Saturday morning with a surprise gift from Russian tier Yuri Dyachenko in the form of a stunning calender with his extraordinary salmon flies. Not able to communicate very well, I hope he had as much fun as I did….good karma to start the show.It is very rewarding to see the folks who come up and comment on how much they like a product, or talk about their experiences with a product, or what they would change about the product, and even the not so nice "why do your products cost so much?".I have little to do with any of the design or pricing, but I always appreciate upfront and honest comments.What do I take away from promoting a product or tying at a product booth?I love being able to interact with folks and share ideas.I had a few folks come back this year and say, "I still have that fly you tied for me last year…" or "I really liked the way you tyed this", that for me makes the trip worth it.I gain so much from just the one on one interaction and exchange of ideas, stories, and life experiences.What I really benefit from as well is feedback.New to the symposium this year was the "swimming pond", and area where you could tie on a fly and see the action in the non-flowing water.This was a good idea since who doesn't tie a fly on while fishing and drag it through the water to see what it looks like.I had wanted to see my articulated sculpin pattern in the water and decided to give it a go.Martin Bawdin the owner of Flymen Fishing company wanted me to see his new crawfish bodies once they were wet as well.We fooled around a bit at the pond which was not being utilized very much.Martin was right, the crawfish bodies look pretty damn snappy in the water.I have to confess that I wasn't overly impressed with them originally, but my opinion has changed since then.The articulated sculpin was much better than what I had expected.Before long we had a few folks watching our flies swimming.Before I knew it, Bob Clouser was standing there and watching the action.Soon we had his mostly synthetic clouser and my sculpin swimming in the water.This was a real treat for me and he commented on how good the sculpin looked.I mentioned that I had concerns whether the materials would collapse too much.He said to me "the fly looks the same in the water as it does when it's in the vise…..remember that".We commented back and forth about the two flies, and the affect that current has as well.His clouser sits almost vertical in still water, but add some current and you have a swimming bait fish.Bob almost was interested in the life like crawfish bodies as well.Before long there was a small crowd around us and Bob started telling stories about fishing with Lefty Kreh.Bob then took the time to show everyone a loop type knot that he gave credit to Lefty for coming up with.I was really impressed with his casualness and confidence.It was a nice experience that I will remember for quite some time.After that I did some experimenting with the crawfish bodies and trying to determine placement of weight on the shank to ensurethat the hook point rides up.The latest addition to the Flymen Fishing Company was Abbi Bagwell and before long Martin had her tying flies and meeting all the fine folks/tiers at the show.A welcome addition.Mid afternoon I took a break and walked around to see what the others were tying and experiencing.This part for me has become very difficult, for I spend the majority of the time mindlessly wandering and unable to focus on much.I often walk right past people I intended to see.The time away from the vise is welcomed, but my head while wandering is often in the clouds. Saturday night was interesting and entertaining.A handful of tiers met at Freddies Sports Bar for food and drinks.I ventured off to decompress and take in some tasty Thai food and then joined the others for drinks.Apparently some of the out of state Hurricane Sandy clean up crews got into a brawl outside the bar.Too much drama, too early.The good part was I got to shoot pool with Spring Creek Strategies another Mike Heck for a while.A pool shark I am not.The Fly Tying Bar Crew was a ton of laughs and I had a chance to catch up with the likes of Anthony Giaquinto, John Collins, Allen Landheer, Kevin Compton, Mike Schmidt, John Kavanaugh, and a slew of others. Sunday morning was my annual trip to Carlos bakery in Hoboken, NJ and then back to the show by 9AM to tie again.Sunday morning is also my chance to make my rounds and try to say hello to the folks I had missed previously.Rich Strolis at wwwcatching-shadows.com was a guy I've known online for a while and finally got to meet.This was a treat since Rich and I have similar ideas when it comes to tying. Rich's stuff is always top notch and impressive.Noon time is when I hit the road for the five hour drive back home.Another experience to add to the list of why I love what I do.
Every year around mid November I try to head to a well known Western, NY tributary to fish with my buddy Eric....aka "E". This year was no different...only I had been suffering a case of the no steelhead on the swing blues. I was going to do everything in my power to connect with a fish. This trib is what I would consider too small to swing a spey rod, but my 4wt switch would be perfect, and I could dirty nymph if it got that bad. It got that bad.....there were plenty of fish present, but no takers on the swing. I decided to dead drift some soft hackles and it got the job done. It was refreshing to say the least and it gave me insight into the time of the year and what the fish tend to take.....it is not always eggs!!! Anyway for me, I am off to the International Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset, NJ this weekend and look forward to talking shop with all the fine folks there.