Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Nothing energizes me (and makes me feel very, very old at the same time) like spending a couple of days with the young guns of our sport. No creel carryin', Thoreau spoutin', Tilley wearin' fishermen, these. I'll bet not a one owns a proper vest. Soft hackle nymphs and #24 midges? Ha! Let's tie the biggest friggin' musky chickens that will stuff into these Regal Big Game jaws. And let's put it all on the web. Realtime. And while many of the old guard shake their heads and mumble dejectedly about the direction of fly fishing, I damn well love it.
Okay, maybe I'm still trying to get enthused about video, but that's a small quibble.
I was reminded of all this as I spent a couple of days in Asheville, hangin' around with the SCOF crew (that's Southern Culture on the Fly, for those of you who've been hiding under a rock) at the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Expo and subsequent Iron Fly.
I've wracked my brain, since my return, to distill a story from the experience(s), but it ain't happening. So, to save myself the headache, I'll just dump a few pictures on you and leave it at that.
And, with this crowd, it seems completely appropriate.
Except that there's no video.
I spent a lot of time wandering around the expo and I'm proud to say that I didn't buy a thing. It took great restraint, let me tell you. But I also didn't take many pictures. I suppose that if you've been to one show... The casting pools always fascinate me, though.
For a better (yeah, video) feel for the show, check out Southern Fly Photography's quick treatment, here. Nice work, Thomas. My favorite part is watching TFO's Kent Edmonds tuning a really young gun's stroke at the pool, starting about minute 1:45. It's always good to see Kent as he passes through.
My Hoosier homey, Pile Cast founder Dave Hosler, made the long trip from Indiana and along with the intern (both pictured at the top of this post) held court at the SCOF booth - the busiest, and most entertaining, table in the place.
They both tie a mean musky fly.
And speaking of mean flies, there's the ultimate young gun fly tying event, The Iron Fly. The boys from Pig Farm Ink somehow found their way from Fort Collins, CO, to bring their unique brand of fly fishing insanity to Asheville. I don't know where to begin.
So I won't.
Sadly, I needed to put it on the road before the competition got started in earnest. Next time...
Gotta give a nod to our hosts, the brains (and I use that term with great care and affection) behind SCOF - Dave Grossman, pictured above in a rare quiet moment, and Steve Seinberg who somehow evaded my camera throughout the trip but who can be understood completely by the artwork in the background and the workspace below.
In the end, these young guns are irreverent, raucous, and riding an edge and it's a joy to see. They have a passion for the sport and a energy that's impossible to resist. Say what you want, old guard, but they'll outfish you, outdrink you, then outwork you when it comes to protecting all of our waters. They're the future of our sport whether you like it or not.
And I'm good with that.
Special thanks to the boys, most especially Dave G, Steve, Dave H, Alan, and Chris, for letting the old man hang around. I had a blast.
But now, I think, I need a nap.