Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Young Guns

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.


Feather Chucker said...

Would you say this show is more genuine? Not geared towards marketing and making people buy stuff?

Mike Sepelak said...

Just smaller, Kevin, than the national fly show. Fewer of the bigger vendors and lots of the local guides and shops. Not as many presentations and presenters. Still plenty to buy but a more casual vibe as most of the attendees were from around those parts and knew each other well. If you went for just the show you might have been disappointed, but, like most things, it's the people around it that make the experience.

I enjoyed it immensely.

Pile Cast said...

It was great seeing you my friend. Wish we could have spent some time on the water. Next time you're in Indiana I should have the boat and then it's on!

Mike Sepelak said...

That's a date, Dave. Lookin' forward to it, big time.

Anonymous said...

good stuff mike great to meet yah

(intern) alan

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks, Alan. It was a pleasure. Keep Dave and Steve inline for us. We know that interns do ALL the hard work.

Unknown said...

Very cool. Like you I think the new breed is taking the sport to levels and pushing boundaries in ways previously unseen....all very positive for generating continued interest and expanding coverage of our great sport.

Love it and hope to meet those cats some day!

Feather and Fin

Mike Sepelak said...

Pushing boundaries describes it quite nicely, Spencer. I shake my head sometimes, but then I've had a lot of heads shaken in my direction over the years. What the hell. That's what youth is for.

Thanks for stopping by!

Mark Coleman said...

The future of any sport or pastime lies in the next generation's ability to make its own mark. These guys (hate to call them kids since I don't feel that much older) are doing just that, and I love what I'm seeing, even the video. Especially the video.

Mike Sepelak said...

Well said, Mark. And I'm warming to the video. Old dogs, new..., well, you know.