I paid my entrance fee of $15 dollars and walked around for about an hour darting from booth to booth looking to scare up a deal or two but found many prices to be the same as your local fly shop. I was looking for certain materials and did not find them. I did spy the Hardy booth as I am interested in the new Ultralite series of reels and came away quite impressed. These may be going in my arsenal of fly reels and will replace some older reels I haven't used in years. Yes, there where plenty of hackles to be found! Unfortunately Collins Hackle Farm was a no show. I ended up buying a book by Mike Valla on wet flies, a pair of large looped forceps and some extra dispensing tops for my Bug Bond UV resin bottle. Not really a productive day buying materials.
One highlight of the show was watching Don Bastian tie a Gray Ghost streamer. A pure joy to watch! Here is a photo of some streamers tied By Don Bastian and Sharon Wright. (sorry, phone cameras suck) Standing next to Don Bastian was Sharon Wright. This lady can tie Rangely style streamers!
I also did not see a huge presence of salt water fly tyers like there have been in previous years. Maybe nothing to worry about or just a shift back to fresh water tying.
I also saw Dave & Emily Whitlock and they had a throng of folks around them. They were also selling book, dvd's, art work and some flies. $250 bucks for 6 red fox squirrel nymphs and variations is a little steep for my wallet but I'm sure collectors will pay that much and maybe even more.
Its unfortunate but this show is getting smaller and smaller each year. The show didn't even fill the room from one end to the other with vendors. Even Norm Norlander (Nor-vise) and Cote's Fly Shop (staples of fly fishing shows) did not attend. What were once large display booths from the major rod manufacturers has dwindled down to a small sign and a fair assortment of rods. I even saw 4 different manufacturers sharing booth space. Sign of the economical times?
So after all is said and done, I would have to rate the show as just being "OK" but leaning on the side of disappointing rather than wow! This is one show I'll be passing up in the future. I actually got about 10 miles into the journey and turned around and headed home. Should have stuck with my guy feeling.
I wish the Shriners would bring back their fly fishing show!