Each year for the past five, Jim and Deanna Birkholm
(James Castwell and Ladyfisher) have provided their
picks from the big flyfishing retailer show. This year
they had to choose between a fish-in and the show. They
made the best pick they could have made for FAOL. However,
that left some business unfinished. They couldn't thrill
you with their picks of the 2002 show.
That Castwell fella' always chooses some techy stuff and
Ladyfisher looks for the warm, fuzzy, cute stuff when they
visit the show. I may be exaggerating it a little here,
but it's fully intended to be that way. In their absence,
I went on a search for the things I thought they might choose
for their show picks if they had been there. If anything,
my choices might prompt them to never miss another show.
Then again, you might see a new Field Editor on this site
soon. Either way, here are the things I think they may
have picked if they had been at the show.
First, I started looking for the hi-tech stuff Castwell loves
so much. Whew, it was a rough search. I looked for gadgets
that did everything and nothing at all. I searched high and
low for the one item I thought Jim would find thrilling enough
to choose for his pick, but all I can give you are the finalists.
I just couldn't narrow it down any further than a core group
of finalists, but I may have picked the right one after all.
First, there was this cool rod tube bracket designed to attach
to the front of a bicycle so you can peddle your gear to the
water. Then I got to thinking about Jim's age and decided he
might not think that was such a good idea. In fact, at his age,
it wouldn't be safe to allow that much air to be exchanged in
one area. He might hyperventilate and pass out, and that could
break a nice rod.
Then there was this fancy, expensive kayak with pedals that you
can use to move around the lake. It even has a rudder so you
can direct the path of the boat. Let's see now, you peddle
the boat with your feet and navigate with your hands. I'm
sure you'll get a lot of fishing time with this one. However,
please note the comment in the paragraph above about having
enough air after all that exercise.
Then I found this cool reel that's manufactured in Italy. You
pull on the lever and the reel winds itself up. It really works.
Graphite construction, fast retrieve, easy-pull lever; all you
could want, except the price. They couldn't tell me what it's
going to cost or sell for, but offered to send me the info soon.
Next I looked hard at a scale net. This baby is IGFA certified
to give an accurate weight of your fish after you land it,
without the fish ever leaving the net. The fold-down handle
is techy, the scale is techy, and the cost (well over $100
for an aluminum net) is techy, but it just didn't fit.
I also found a pair of sandals with big spikes you're supposed
to strap to your wading shoes for fishing heavy water. I'm not
sure if the spikes are supposed to keep you attached to the
bottom of the river or the two-pound plus individual weight
of each sandal is supposed to do that job. Can you imagine
walking very far in those things? A friend of mine who edits
one of the popular printed flyfishing magazines chose that
as the one item he was least likely to use. I didn't take
Finally, I found it. The one item I think is technical enough
to grab the coveted award of JC's Pick of the Show. It's
big, it's heavy, and it's so technical I don't have any idea
how it's used in fishing. Yep, I'm fairly sure Jim would have
chosen the fish-axe.
I found this jewel in the new products showcase. Funny, it
looks just like a splitting mall to me. I scratched my head
the entire length of the show wondering how this item relates
to flyfishing, then finally decided the answer was too technical
for me. Since it's too technical for me to figure out, I'm
labeling it "Jim's pick"; or should that be "Jim's axe"?
That pick over, I went on the grand search for something warm
and fuzzy or cute to fill the role of Ladyfisher's pick of the
show. Another tough search. A couple of laps around the show
didn't produce much.
First, I found a little key ring with a functional fly reel on it.
How cute! Maybe, but not quite right.
Then, I found this table full of hand carved and painted fish.
Very nice! I nearly bought one, then I noticed the price tag.
Very cute! Very costly! Not fuzzy or warm enough though.
Another lap didn't help much. I was just about to give up and
then I spotted it; that one cute, unusual, and functional item
that might fit the bill for Ladyfisher's Pick of the Show.
Every time she used it, it would remind her of fishing. Yep,
this has got to be the right item for her pick. (I was also
running out of steam.)
Because it's cute, and fully functional, and has everything to
do with fishing, I decided that Ladyfisher would likely have
chosen the throne lid pictured here.
Ok, I'll bet they either attend next year's show so they can
pick their own show prizes, or they get rid of the goof ball
who wrote this column. Anyone taking odds on which thought
prevails? ~ AC
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