It’s the winter fly fishing show season in Texas once again, and I thought I would pass on some advice about getting the most out of the shows you attend. Shows break down basically into five categories: Keynote Speakers, Classes, Products, and Fly Tiers.
|Flies from Dave Whitlock's seminar|
These individuals are usually of national or even international renown for their skills. In other words, they were likely paid to come speak and did not just volunteer to help the hosting organization. As an attendee these should be priority one. They represent both a unique chance to learn something as well as an investment by the hosting organization. Thus, attending these seminars is critical to the event as well as making a good impression on the invited speaker. Few things are worse then speaking to a nearly empty room. Really well known speakers will have a crowd get to their seminars early if you want a seat.
Admittedly, scheduling conflicts will occur and you will have to decide which of the two seminars you want to attend. I always consider the likelihood of seeing a speaker again or if I can directly contact the speaker later in the show or at their shop. In all cases the goal is to learn! I usually have a notepad or someway to write down important points in any seminar I attend. A lot of information will be taught by speakers during the whole day, and staying organized will make referencing it later much easier.
Classes represent a means to learn a skill. A class is led by a skilled volunteer from the hosting organization. These usually include casting, fly tying, and perhaps more unique courses such as tenkara or entomology. These are usually happening throughout the event and will over lap at least a little with other events, but the classes are often small with mostly one on one instruction in the subject being taught. These are a great way to get a foundation in something new or get advice on something that has been troubling the past.
Shows usually include a number of product dealers or company representatives. These people and the items in their booths are a great way to examine new products or even purchase items not regularly found in your area. They are also a great way to test and learn about items that are technically complicated.
Fly rods are a great example. Will you cast better with an $800 dollar rod? What does a fiberglass or bamboo fly rod cast like? Casting areas are standard at fly shows. Get one of these rods in hand and cast it.
There are whole shows dedicated to this facet of fly fishing, but in general the tiers will be featured as a gallery with several tables each having a tier or two present. Alternatively, they may be spread out with the organizations to which they belong. Often clubs keep a skilled tier at their table to attract people. Be sure to find a local club and chat with them in you are not already a member.
If you enjoy tying be sure spend the time watching a fly being tied from start to finish and if you still do not understand the tricks…sit there and watch it again. Tying is about the details. Often it is the minor touches that give a fly its eye appeal, not the big obvious things. It is not uncommon if you are willing to spend the time watching the process for a tier to give you the fly. Admittedly this is entirely up to the tier, but it does happen frequently.
The winter shows are very good in Texas I hope to see you there.
Feb. 7, 2015
Dr. Ed Rizzolo Fly Tying Festival
Bethany Christian Church, located at 3223 Westheimer Houston, TX.
From 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Admission fees are: Adults $10.00; Students (with valid I.D.) and Seniors (62+) $5.00; Children under 12 Free; Family $15.00.
Feb. 20-22, 2015
BANQUET AND AUCTION:
6:00 PM Friday Feb 20th 2015
EXPOSITION: Free Admission
Saturday Feb 21st 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM & Sunday Feb 22nd 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Fly Fishing Film Tour Feb. 21st
Doors open at 6:00 PM, show is from 7:00 - 9:30.
Purchase Tickets ($15/adult, $12/children 12 and under) at the GRTU booth in the expo tent.