Tuesday, December 30, 2014

WNC Fly Fishing Expo 2014

Evening Folks,
  Sorry for the hiatus, I had to take a little time away from the blog to prepare for finals at school!  But, that's behind me now and I can return to the important things, like fly fishing!  
  Earlier this month I took a ride up to Fletcher, North Carolina to attend the 6th annual Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo.  This is considered to be the Southeast's largest fly fishing event.  The show takes place in the Expo Building of the WNC Agricultural Center.  There was  a PBR rodeo happening at the same time as the expo, driving through the Ag Center there were a lot of nice looking trucks hauling horse trailers and cowboys and cowgirls walking horses through the parking lot!  
  The expo itself consists of a large casting pond in the middle of the the big, open Expo Building with aisles of exhibitors down both sides and lecture tents in the back.  The two day show has become a live forum for local fly fisherman to see the latest gadgets and products from some of the top manufacturers, participate in lectures on a wide range of fishing techniques and scenarios and even get casting instruction from IFFF certified casting instructors.  
  This was my second year attending the Expo and while it is a bit of a drive for me from metro Atlanta I enjoy the show because it has a very local feel.  Most of the exhibitors and lecturers were either local to Western North Carolina or, at least, spoke on topics and techniques that pertained to the area.  I think my favorite part of attending the show is getting to meet the folks that work in the local fly shops.  There were 10 shops represented at the Expo this year and each booth is like stepping into a mini version of the shop it represents, the folks are always very nice, excited to tell you about their shop, quick to invite you to their store and love to talk fishing and gear with any like minded individuals.  
One of several demos at the casting pond.
  In addition to the manufacturers and fly shops, the show plays host to many booths from guide services, lodges, magazines and organizations such as Casting for Hope, Project Healing Waters (I got to talk fly tying and bluegill fishing with a couple great guys!), Federation of Fly Fishers and even a booth from the soon to open Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians!  
  Since I made the Expo a day trip from Atlanta, I only had time to take in two of the lectures.  I attended Mac Brown's Dry Fly Tactics, Casting & Presentation where I learned about effectively fishing with dry flies and various techniques to do so.  Some that I never would have thought of and would probably cause some of the uppity dry fly elite to get up and walk out! But, if it'll work it's worth trying!  My second lecture was with Cameron Mortenson and his talk on the Reinvention of Fiberglass Fly Rods.  Cameron's website, The Fiberglass Manifesto, helped to inspire me to start The Suburban Angler, so it really was an honor for me to meet him in person.  His talk on the history and evolution of fiberglass fly rods was fascinating.  The only downside is, now I want to try fishing one!!!  
BBQ and Fly Fishing just go together!
  Since nobody likes to peruse fly gear on an empty stomach, the Expo invited a couple of food trucks out this year.  A local competition BBQ truck and a gourmet coffees truck were parked at the entrance to the building and the IFFF had a beer and snacks booth inside the show as a fundraiser.  Luckily, I had $2 in my pocket so I was able to get the first Pabst Blue Ribbon I've drank in quite a number of years!  
  For the second year in a row I had a fantastic time at the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo and I really look forward to attending again in 2015!  For more details on the show and the full list of exhibitors click here and if you'd like to hear an interview with Reba Brinkman, the Expo manager, and hear a shout out to The Suburban Angler, listen to The Fly Fishing Consultant Podcast with Rob Snowhite.  I hope to see you all there next year!
   Pleasant Fly Fishing Journeys,

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