State of the state? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: State of the state?

03-19-2005, 05:19 PM
O.K..... O.K... Here's a question that should generate some thought provoking responses. Those of us in related fields of the fly fishing industry may have noticed that the popularity of fly fishing may have reached its peak. Don't know if this is true, but.

Now that most of the major winter fly shows are over for the season I share with you a few thoughts.

Aside for some bad weather, it seems that the general attendance has been down from Marlboro and the Wilmington Shows. Smaller tackle store related shows were well received largely by not charging admission. The Bear's Den showed the most improvement in attendance. That was packed.

The shows don't seem to generate the buzz they use too. Not much discussion any more.

Retailers, rod builders, lodges, and others have stayed away from some shows. You see more and more open spaces.

Other clues I've noticed too at shows is the lack of bags, materials, rods in hand as people move throughout the show.

Lastly, you have no problem anymore moving throughout the shows. Now you can have conversations in asles with friends and not bother the populas or effect the traffic flow.

Are my eyes and glasses flawed? Am I seeing theses events focused correctly?

03-19-2005, 06:01 PM I have never met you, I can't comment of the condition of your eyes or glasses :) , however, I'm willing to share my thoughts re the fly shows.
For me, they are very stale and have been for the last 3 years....same presenters, same seminars, same dealers. I for one, have 3flyshopswithin 20 miles of my house that I frequent when I need something, or even to buy something I don't need. There really are not any "deals" at the shows...not like boat shows.
Quite frankly, the only reason I went to the Wilmington Show, was to help out at the Forum booth, chat and spend an hour at "tyer's row" to pick up some techniques. As far as expertise....I can get more info chatting with the forum members atthe show, than attending any or all of the seminars......the content there is really too general....sort of like the intro to a topic.
Now if Juro, Striblue and Pete put on a seminar....I'd spend all day there and learn plenty. The success of the "lil" shows is that we have opportunity to share info that is better than any major show.
I don't think that flyfishing interest is going down.....I still am amazed regarding the # of freshwater FF's who can't believe that one can catch stripers from shore with a fly rod...locally...I get many comments like " you can catch fish in the ocean from shore, in shallow water"? They just don't know....they may be the future growth once educated that it is more than possible :smokin:

03-19-2005, 09:01 PM
Ray, I agree the shows are getrting stale, my main reason for going is to meet up with old friends. There are no real deals at the shows, the shops are allready selling at the bare minimum just to compete with the mega stores and then they have to pay outrageous fees for a booth! The smaller shows are much more intimate and informative. I don`t think FF has peaked but it`s not rising as fast as it was recently, after all how many gear heads are out there that have to buy the latest rods every year?

03-20-2005, 08:22 AM
A friend of mine has a five year rule. He goes to the shows once every five years. I think he's right. For me going to the shows is to see the guys durning the winter doldrums. It's the same old stuff. Also timing is critical. Marlboro being first gets most of the action the rest fall by the wayside because once you see a show that's it for the fly show routine. The reason the Bear's Den show works is because it's more personal. Everyone likes Scott and the crowd knows one another which is a formula for success. Just my observations. FishHawk

03-21-2005, 09:42 AM
I was saying the same to my brother the other day. The bigger shows, weather not withstanding, did seem a bit flat this year. It's always good to see the regulars from the forum though and shake of the seasonal malaise. It's kind of fun to see the new folks come along and where they settle in- whether they get hooked or fade away. I'm not sure the newcomers are slowing or gaining. There will always be new devotees some will get it bad others won't get it at all. I like the one who get all tricked out and in a season or two put their gear in Uncle Henry's Swap it Sell it Guide. :devil:

I do think that with all of the other distractions kids have today that more and more are just not as surrounded by the outdoors today. So with the XBox and loss of opportunity it would support some decline. Many dads can't easily walk a mile down the road to a bird cover or brookie pool with our kids. It was nothing when I was a kid to go out with a .22 or shot gun behind the house and squirrel or pheasant hunt. Access is declining, Here in souther Maine more and more land is being posted to hunting and fishing. I think back on the stories Nick Lyons told of slipping away on the train to fish in Connecticut and have to laugh. It's amazing to see the differences today in the places where I used to hunt and fish when lived there in the 70's. It's kind of doing the same here now in the rurals around Portland.

My son Ian, 15, is an active outdoorsman, he both hunts and fishes and as many know has a pretty sweet fly casting stroke. Last night my wife asked him if he got as excited for the new season as Drew and I do. He said he was ready and looking forward to it. I know he loves to be out but his reply lacked the eagerness with which I/ we head into a new season. Drew and I have hunted, fished, camped and fought together for as long as I can remember- golden shiners with a bent pin and heavy thread as little guys. From about the time we were 5 until we were about 12 every Easter meant a new Zebco 202 combo, snelled Eagle Claw hooks, split shot, and maybe a tackle box or worm tin. We'd dig wormsor catch night crawlers then disapear from daylight until supper and the folks never worried. No bike helmets, often with a hatchet, matches, butter, corn meal and cooking gear in an old boy scout backpack to prepare trout or horned pout in the field. I'm not so sure many kids, if they were in physical setting that supported it, could get permission from mom to do it. Even if they took the initiative- without a sporting parent- they aren't in a setting that they could actually do it. It's just isn't as innocent or a rural world anymore.

Things seem to me as if they have peaked. All the places I fish seem to have about the same number of people in funny rubber pants waving expensive sticks. I think the big shows aren't THE place to be as much now. They continue to raise the entrance fee and yet they don't seem to offer the buzz they used to. So much information out there that can be so easily accesed. Somtimes some new products show up at them and I ask my local shops to get for me. I try to buy something from a forum sponsor there. The small gatherings with the local shops is first then the big shows are worked around them so as to connect with you guys even if only briefly.