Having attended many shows in the past few years I have come
to an understanding of what the key to a "Good One" is. It
is all about people and how they are associated in some way
or another with Fly Fishing. Whether they are fly tiers,
fishermen, rod makers or just interested sportsman, it is
I really enjoyed this recent "Show." It was not only a show
for me but a time and place to put faces with names and really
establish new friends and renew old friendships. I think
everyone who attended left with a very good feeling. We
all made many new friends. Below is me in my booth with Bob
Nunley (caneman) on the left.
Before the Sowbug many of the FAOL people planned on a get
together. I offered to use my booth and provide a sort of "Central"
with Log-in for any and all FAOL people to establish communications
with each other. Listed below are their names and handles (if known
by me) There may have been some who did not get into the book, and
I apologize if I did not catch you.
I know there were more FAOL members attending but things were
constantly happening and just not time enough to see and do
Larry Wallace (Tuber)
Jim Moore (Flyfisher73)
Richard Ross (hopper)
Kim Boal (damselfly) (Thanks for my semi annual hug)
Steve Crosby (biot midge)
Gene Holland (why do I not have gene's handle??)
Ed Kessey (K'mudge)
Bruce Whittle (Bruce W)
Bob Nunley (caneman)
Dennis Conrad (Denny)
As for a report on the fishing. Let's just say the weather was
not conducive to fishing at all. Both the White and the Northfork
were constantly "running water," hydropower ya know. There was way
too much water and I don't know of anyone who went out and actually
caught fish. You know I always say it is not about catchin, but
it's the fishin. We all know what "catchin" is, but the "fishin'" is
spending time with friends, tying, swapping lies or tales.
I was very fortunate to add a face to one of my long time customers.
I enjoyed sharing my lodging with Martin Westbeek. Martin is from
the Netherlands and is one of the "World class tiers." I am sure
he will provide us with a fly of the week, has been confirmed by
LF. Watch for it as I know it will be a good one. I had private
lessons, setting on the motel floor in the middle of the night,
learning "new things" on the vise. By the way his vise is one of
those very nice jobs, Law). I will never be the same again; they
are more than you have heard.
Martin brought a cased set of flys (eleven) and gave to me
for my collection !!! What can I say, they are all fantastic.
Left to right: Left to Rt, Martin Westbeek, Skip Shorb, Jeff Hines,Tony Spezio, Denny, Jim Hatfield.
I always spend a lot of time at Tony and Dot Spezio's home.
These are some of the finest friends one could ever want.
Others who spent lots of time at the Spezio home were the
I must thank the Ladies as they kept the entire gang well fed at
all times. Each one of them is a "Real Master" in the fixin' food
department. All also give good hugs to old guys such as myself.
Jeff Hines, TX soft hackle Master
Skip and Mary Shorb from AR (master at making equipment, cane, flurled leader machines, etc) and tier.
Jim and Fonda Hatfield from LA. Flurled leader manuf and fly tier
We had a great time and each one of us made our own flurled leaders
on Skip's new machine. He made us do it ourselves, only providing
corrections and encouragement from behind the operator. What fun!
Thanks Skip. You have to see the automatic features this machine
Several tying vises were in operation at all times and everyone
was sharing and learning. Jeff tied a beautiful Quill Gordon Wet
for me while I watched. Yep, this one will go into my collection,
as will the two he handed me as he got out of his car. A pair of
Poly Rosborough soft hackle dress flys. What works of art.
Martin showed us all how to do the Wally Wing. (I had private
instruction on this one). Watch for that on FAOL in the near
So many different rods were cast that it would be impossible to
name them all, mostly excellent cane.
There was a constant flow of fly fishing people in and out of
the Spezio home. Almost all are FAOL people; some do not use
the Chat Room but browse the site often. I have encouraged
each of them to join us there.
There was a lot of casting and fighting the wind. Even though
we did not have to release any fish, many very large ones were
caught. (Lots of good stories!)
I am not sure of the numbers on fly tiers that tied at the Sowbug.
I understand that there were over 100 this year. The tying started
early each morning and vises were not put away until late afternoon.
Hats off to the North Arkansas FlyFishers for all of the work
they put into the Sowbug and for having all of us to their show.
I would like to thank each and every one that made this week
of my life, one of the more memorable ones. Thank you all.