Sunday, March 28, 2010

The last four days was kind of like Christmas for me.

The last four days of the Great Waters Expo was kind of like Christmas for me.
To keep things from getting long winded on this post, I will just note my highlights from the week, so as to not bore ya too much.  So hang on and here we go!

A year ago, at the expo I was not really enjoying it as much as I could have.  With the weight of having been informed that my department was being off-shored and I was to be out of a job soon, having my DVD player stolen at the expo, and wrapping up all the mess that was involved in replacing the engine in my truck, I was having a serious bad streak that was beating me down.

With that in mind, we flash forward a year for the 2010 expo, I am in a different place.  A happier and more appreciative place.
  • Thursday night at the club, we had a great presentation by Jeff "Bear" Andrews from Michigan on fly fishing for Labrador Brookies.  The photos and the stories had me dreaming of going on such an adventure.  In support of Bear (and my want for a fresh lesson) I purchased one of his fly tying DVD's on tying trout flies.
  • Thanks to Andy Fiskness's hard work, we also got our hats and clothing back that night with the new club logo embroidered on them so that we would have them for the expo.
  • Greg Meyer gave me a nice display piece of driftwood that I can use to display my flies on when I do tying demonstrations.  It's very cool!
  • Mark Tibbetts brought his 105mm lens for me to use to see if I like the results in regards to my macro fly photography.  I can't wait to set up Critters Fly Studio and start snapping a few pictures to see what happens!
  • The Fly Tiers gang had supper at a nice Italian restaurant, called Biaggi's, that was way too good and way too filling and way nice atmosphere.  I HIGHLY recommend it as a must try for anyone needing a night out.
  • I scored three dry fly capes for the price of two.  I only intend on keeping one for myself, and donating the other two as raffle items for our club presentations.
  • Then, from the chicken pimp, I scored four nice sections of cock feathers, each different colors, for use as hackle that will be suitable for 18 - 24 flies, along with two hen necks.
  • My buddy Jeff Kennedy and artist, came up to me on Saturday morning as I was set up doing some fly tying demonstrations and asked for one of my flies, so I gave him one of my Spruce streamer flies and he headed back to his booth to paint it.  He painted up a very nice water color portrait of it then returned the fly to me along with the water color painting.  I was very shocked and VERY grateful for the gift.  I have purchased some prints of his work in the past along with his recent book, Drawing Flies 365, and to have an original painted by Jeff of a fly tied by me...well that's something I just can't describe in words.  Wow.
  • I found a nicely made 4wt Pennington bamboo fly rod that felt very good and is going to work very nicely on about half a dozen streams I know.  Not to mention that both Steve Pennington and his wife were extremely nice and wonderful to talk to and talked a little about his home waters in Northeastern Iowa.  The feel was right, the price was right, and now, I am in need to find the right reel for it since I bought it home.
  • Another bonus was that I had several opportunities to socialize a bit more with another tier, Bill Heckel, whose flies and personality I really admire.  A Really nice guy, with some illustrative and funny stories involving his friends Lefty Kreh and Dave Whitlock.  He also was nice enough to tutor me on a technique to improve a problem I was having with the wings of a fly I was struggling with, which worked instantly to improve the quality of the flies I that I was tying at the show. 

  • We started the day with breakfast at the french restaurant across the street.  I normally get their awesome eggs Benedict, but this year I chose to deviate from the tradition and ordered their French Crepes made with salmon and dill.  It was very good, but something that would have made a better dinner then a breakfast as it gave me strong salmon breath.  I'd do it again as there was no need for lunch after that.
  • I was able to take a breath from the show and go to two hour-long seminars.  One on fishing the Timber Coulee, a river I want to get to know more about since my last encounter where I had an epic battle of man vs. trout, and the trout won.  The other seminar was actually not a seminar but a open forum workshop for those looking for help with writing and publishing.  I found it very interesting and wished that we could have had an additional hour for the discussion to continue.
So that was my weekend in a nutshell.  I hope everyone that attended had a great time, it appeared that everyone from the club that was volunteering was having a good time.  I think this was the first year that I wished that the expo would have gone on for one more day.  Usually I am completly worn out, this time, I was energized by it all.   

So as promised, I won't get into all the other sub-stories to keep this post short. Time to kick off the socks and grab a beer.

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