By Ricky Wolbert
Ah, the cure for cabin fever… What does it for you? Watching WFN or The Sportsman Channel, or your own videos from last season? How about fly or lure casting on the grass or snow, depending on your area? If you can you relate to one or all, means you got it brother, just how deep is it? We have the time in the winter months to do sports shows in the PA /NJ areas, and working at them opens up the door to meet new people that can relate to our passion for fishing. Last week the show ran from February 14th through 17th, and I had the opportunity to work with Steve, Collins, and Dino from TFO rods, and show customers the new TFO line of products, from the BVK fly rods to the new inshore saltwater rods. I had every one in my hands, as they all felt so good and strong, and light at the same time. Learning from the some of the best in the industry was a great experience.
As the crowds come in on Sunday, Collins form TFO and I watched a few little guys walk by holding new tackle boxes and he said to me, “Oh, I forgot it’s tackle box Sunday. Every kid that comes in gets a free tackle box.” I said, “Wow, how cool is that?” Flashing back to my younger days, I thank my grandfather for starting me fishing and taking me to the shows way back in the day when it was held at the Philly Civic Center. I remember people everywhere, and so much energy going on with the lumber jacks racing up poles, and log sawing, and log rolling contests, but the canoe joust was my favorite, with boxing gloves on the paddles. The shows today are awesome, with people from all over the world coming in and setting up shop to show you what they can offer. It did seem like there was more hunting than fishing lodges and guides. The seminars were non-stop with the Bass University doing a two day program and kayak fishing for bass, water fowl hunting, gun dogs retriever demos and a lot more. On the Ford stage was the Wolves Of the World show. It was packed with kids and adults, and I just had a minute to watch, and it looked so cool as they were such beautiful animals.
The TFO Crew.
One day I walked by the trout pond with kids trying to entice a bite. I also watched a few adult men fishing. Yes, I did chuckle to myself, and thinking they don’t know any better, or they are bitten way worse than me… LOL.
The American Fly Fishing Schools held casting clinics and demos at the “Simul-Cast” pond all day every day. Saturday I was asked to do a kayak fishing/casting demo in the pond, which I believe is 35 feet long and 16 feet wide. I had my rigged Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 and bare native Ultimate with me on display, but I used a kayak borrowed from the Paddler’s Cove booth next to us. Within a minute I was comfortable enough to stand and cast my TFO fly rod with a piece of yarn attached to the tippet of the 7wt line. Captain Mike gave me a wireless microphone to use, and the second I started to speak the wolves started to howl VERY LOUDLY. It was their show time too. I started to laugh and howl myself, “thrown to the wolves,” I said. So I turned it into fun. I just stood up in a kayak casting the fly into four hoops stationed at different locations in the pond and paddled around while standing. People looked in awe as someone was in the pond and standing in a kayak.
Dan from Anthracite Outfitters.
The A.F.F.S. instructors included Paul Healy, Chip Jablonski, Captain Al Z., Jack Monague and Captain Mike. Everyone was happy to help people interested in learning fly casting or fly fishing in general. To have a casting instructor to yourself for eventen minutes is a great way to find out if it is for you or not, especially if you don’t know anybody that fly fishes. Sunday was the kid’s casting contest with Captain Mike, where kids learned different casts and tried to make one land into a hula hoop (easier said than done) and the winner walked away with a brand new Wild Water complete fly fishing outfit and a big smile all the way home. See what I’m saying about kids (tackle box and fly rods) it is great for them to get out into our world and see it and feel it. Who knows, they just might get into it like you and me.
Row Jimmy Kirkland and the owners of Welcome to the Woods B&B.
There are still more shows to come, like The Saltwater Fishing Expo on March 15th through 17th and Paddlesport 2013 on March 22nd through 24th, both in Somerset N.J.