Here are some bits and pieces from the Denver Fly Tackle
We did not attend last year, so this was our first time
in two years. I'm told the attendance from 'buyers' was
up slightly, but from our view it was down from two years
ago. We did receive a 'Press Release' from the show people
which said there were many more 'media' people at
this one. I guess that is good for the fly fishing world
if they all write something good about the show. Marc Bale
from Sage did mention to us they are just inundated with people
wanting Sage to advertise with them at these shows. It
makes it hard to do business with the people who are there
to see the new products and place their orders for next year.
We really try not to be one of the offenders on that score.
We have made appointments in advance with folks we just
don't see any other time, though.
One of the interesting thoughts I had while at the show was
we are now in our ninth year, and believe it or not, we are
older than some of the companies at the show. Well, there
are always brand new entries, but it is somehow sad to see
how many companies were not at the show. Some just seem to
have disappeared, dropped out. I made a short list, and it
I can see the reasoning for some manufacturers not to be
at the show. One of our Canadian friends told us the cost
of shipping a booth down from Canada, plus bringing in the
sales reps and paying airfare, hotel and food costs can
easily run into $20,000 for the 3 day show. Booth space
isn't cheap either. That particular company wasn't 'at'
the show, and we didn't run into our friend over the show
time either. I suspect they did what more and more companies
are doing, renting a suite at a major hotel, contacting their
dealers in advance and showing the new products in the hotel.
An unusual one this year was LL Bean. They were not at the
show, but they did a luncheon at the Denver Athletic Club for
invited guests to show off their new products. We were not
invited, so I can't give you a report. Hans Weilenmann was
invited, but through a mix-up (mine) he didn't know where the
luncheon was. Sorry Hans.
We had a few meetings with people about something entirely
different. It was not to get anyone to advertise with us.
With our 9th year in progress I wondered if there wasn't,
isn't something more we could or should be doing for fly
fishing. This is serious stuff. Our intent has been to
provide the best honest information for the fly fisher.
BUT - is there something missing which could bring more
people to fly fishing? OR improve the quality of their
We didn't solve any problems at the show, but just maybe
we got some folks thinking about what might be possible.
One of those meetings was with Tom Helgeson, publisher
of the Midwest Fly Fishing magazine. Tom dreamed up and
created the Great Waters Exposition which will be held
again 2006, in Bloomington, MN. This is a fly fishing
show where nothing existed in the past. Classes for kids,
casting for women, fly tiers, conservation and vendors all
fit together to make a very successful impression on all
I'm not saying we want to do a fly-fishing
show, I just used that as an example of what one man did
because he felt there was a need.
I have no idea where our conversations will go, and for that
matter, your opinions are as valid as anyone elses. If you
have an idea we would certainly like to hear it.
Every time we attend one of these shows I'm struck with
how small an industry fly fishing really is. Everyone
pretty well knows everyone else. There are surely trade
secrets, but there is also a lot of inside 'baseball.'
For example, while reading a book on the history of rod
building a while back, I was amazed at how many rod builders
had worked for one company, switched to another, married
into that family and created something else. Or left that
company to form another. Maybe all business is like that,
or maybe it's more obvious in a small industry. At any rate,
some of the stories, which I can't repeat, are really something
One I can tell is a well-known rod designer had cast about
every rod at the show. (A couple didn't rate his time - or
mine either) He asked if I had cast a particular rod and
what I thought of it. We seemed to agree (that was nice)
and then he mentioned a another rod company, and said, "What
were they thinking?" The rods were really bad.
However, this is America - and along with the right to
succeed, everyone also has a right to fail.
(So you don't email me, it is an American company.)
We have had an opportunity to talk with the folks at
Sage since the show, in fact, Jim spent some time with
Ned Hobson to learn how to operate the Sage Casting
Analyzer this week, and the good news is the Analyzer
(nicknamed SCA) was a huge hit. It won't be available
in your local fly shops until next year, but when it is,
you just have to try it. I really am convinced this
is the neatest way for a fly fisher to improve his
casting and in turn his enjoyment of his total fishing
experience that I can't encourage you enough to do it.
Besides, it's free!
The show trip wasn't free 'tho, and I'm hoarding my change
for the next trip. ~ DLB
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