It's recently come to light that I've dropped the ball and had a few blog posts from Stuart that got lost in the mail. My apologies to those who contributed to Stuart's adventures!
The Early Show
The nice thing about the Early Show is, to state the obvious, it’s early. November is a good time to have a show. The weather is usually changing, bass fishing is coming to a close, and steelhead fishing is starting up. Tying clubs are in full swing and the shops are filling up with warm weather gear, tying materials and posting about warmer locations for you to choose from, be it Belize or the Amazon River.
So is the show worth going to? Yes.
Because it’s a regional show, you get to meet the local folks who sell stuff: DuPage Fly Shop, Orvis, Hawkeye fly tyer, the folks who bought Chris Helms business, Whitetail Fly Tieing, and many others who have traveled a distance to show and sell items for fly fishing. Matt from Driftless Angler who always has something interesting, from ceramics to t-shirts. Also there was Tightlines including Tim and the crew-always entertaining and if you’re looking to book a trip, they have a number you can choose from. And for those of you interested in Tenkara-Badger Tenkara was there.
My buddy Austin Adduci and his guide service, Grab Your Fly Charters had a table, and the sign of a good show for guides is do they book any trips, and a couple of them, said, “I’ve booked a couple of trips, so this is a good show for me.” As usual, John Graham was there to talk about his first and perhaps only love, smallmouth Bass. Austin gave an excellent talk on fishing the Kankakee and he is now branching out for steelhead fishing on the St. Joe, which has been producing a decent run of steelhead these days. I talked with PJ for a while and watched a number of people tie a lot of Bucktail to hooks. Or as I like to call them, “Stuffed Animal Flies.”
After wandering about a bit and visiting some of tying groups like Drift, Nifty and my buddies from Chi-Tie, I headed out to see what Doug Taylor was up to with the long rods. Doug is an instructor for all of you two handed fans and had set up a mock river to help those having trouble with river right, river left and what direction the cast should eventually go.
Drift was teaching the single handed method out in front of the show, also out front - the root beer folks. Always a treat to get a hotdog or burger from them. Good root-beer floats by the way and you can talk to the knowledgeable guys at Rocktown Adventures if you’re interested in getting a kayak or setting one up for fishing.
Brian Smith was set up and demonstrating Bamboo fly rod building and was demonstrating a platform he’d created to hold a planning form at a more comfortable angle. Brian is an excellent teacher for all things bamboo and I know of a number of people who have built good cane rods under his tutelage.
I spent a bit of my time at Coren’s table, that is, when I wasn’t asking Rich McElligott about his patterns and materials or cruising over to Hawkeye Fly Tyer or Whitetail for materials. I host the Coren’s tying group and it’s always interesting to see what other groups are doing and how they’re run.
Ilike the Early Show, it’s the only all fly fishing show in the Chicago Area. It’s hosted by local people and it’s a solid regional show. I’m going to chide the organizers of it for not having a website and doing a bit better job of promoting it. I would hope that in time some manufacturers would make it to the show. It’s at a good location, been there for a couple of years and its’ getting a decent draw. It also has good raffle drawings and the speakers are local guys who know the local waters. It is very easy to get to, has ample parking and from what vendors say, people come there to spend money. I know what I spent including a jungle cock neck, additional tying materials, a fly line and more hooks.
But best of all, I got to catch up with the folks from the local fly shops and not so local fly shops and people that I either fish or tie with.
So back to the line, is it worth going to? Yes it is. Is it like driving to Indianapolis for the Indianapolis Fly Fishing Expo? No, but it’s a show that in time, with a little more advanced promotion, a website, a bit more social media presence and so on might draw a bigger crowd and a few more vendors.