Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Fly Fishing Show: Welcome to the Western Branch of TFM

I had the best time today at the Denver Fly Fishing Show! I'm only half joking when I say that Windknots feels like the Western branch of Cameron Mortenson's Fiberglass Manifesto. Many people know that Cameron and I are good friends and fiberglass flyrodders. I wear my TFM shirts proudly whenever I'm in the company of other fly fisherman and today was no exception. 

Looking good Cam!
On more than one occasion I've been called Cameron. It's good for a red face and a laugh and today was no exception. Of course, most could be forgiven because they haven't met Cam. This guy rockin' his TFM bluegill shirt should have known better. His name is Mike Broward and he is Cam's best friend. Not to worry Cam...I'm only joking, Mike finally got it right! Mike it was great seeing you today. I'll see you on the Poudre.

Seriously though, it was kind of nice to be recognized as me by one or two people. I spent most of my time there in the company of one of my best friends, Larry Snyder, better known as  As usual for me, I hit fly tiers row right off the bat. Sadly, I didn't get much further than that but saw some great tying and caught up with a few tiers that I admire.

Hopper of the really good guys.
 First up (because he's always close to the exit?) was Hopper Juan Ramirez. Juan is a great guy and a great tier and he remembered me from last year! If I didn't fish with his incredible hoppers, I'd still tie them just to look at.
That's a look of's so real looking.
Next up was Carl Pennington from cp's flyfishing and fly tying. Carl is one of my favorite Colorado tiers and as you can see, he enjoys a good laugh. I think he was harassing Juan.

One of the nicest folks you'll ever meet and an unbelievable tier is Al Ritt from Al Ritt Flies. As you can see from the photo, Al loves his work and loves to chat with the likes of me. Thanks Al for the fun time. Ask Al what he was laughing at when I snapped this photo.

Beauty and the Beast? Eric and Tracey Stroup

I really got my money's worth at Eric and Tracey's booth. You all know that Eric is an amazing fly tier, author and a really nice guy. Eric has a book out called River Pimp and it looks like it's going to be a great read. I also had the pleasure of meeting Tracey Stroup, who is a wellness consultant and seems to specialize in fixing up broken fly fisherman. Tracey was kind enough to work on my torn rotator cuff, which allowed me to spend the day enjoying the show. If you've got issues that come along with growing old and fly fishing, check out her web site Trained by Tracey (click on the link above). She is amazing. Thanks Tracey!

Ken Walrath
Ken's Custom flies (smallest flies I've ever seen.
Right next door to Eric was Ken Walrath from Ken's Custom Flies. Ken is an amazing tier and ties probably the smallest flies I've ever seen and each one is beautiful.  I would highly recommend checking out Ken's site or next time you're browsing Flyfishingcrazy, you can check out Ken's flies there. You really won't find a better deal on flies. It was good to meet you Ken.

My buddy Erin Block and Grant Taylor

It started to feel like a party when I ran into Erin Block and Grant Taylor. Of course everyone knows Erin for her great blog, Mysteries Internal and now her soon to be released book The View from Coal Creek. I fully expect to see Erin with a booth at the show next year. Grant Taylor is the amazing and talented photographer behind A deliberate Life, the video of the year in my opinion. Check out the trailer, you won't be disappointed.
John thought he was going to get by without me bugging way.
 When you've reached my age, you've probably gone through a barrel of "heroes," I know I have. But the one guy that just keeps teaching me and tickling my funnybone is John Gierach. John is my writing hero. I can't get enough of the Trout Bum. John is the most gracious "celebrity" I've ever met. When I told him that, he laughed at the word celebrity then said, I guess it must be so, it says so right he pointed to his shirt which read Fly Fishing Show Celebrity! Yes John, it's so. John said his next book would be out in 2014. I'm hoping it's sooner rather than later.

Nicest new guy I met at the show.
I had the pleasure of meeting Randy Babas. Randy was at the show representing the Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado) Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Randy and I are new friends on Facebook and is another one of those guys you meet and instantly like...and he's a big dude. Randy I'll be up to Colorado Springs to fish with you the next time I'm in town. 

Dave Whitlock
Last, but certainly not least is the Energizer Bunny himself, Dave Whitlock. Dave and Emily just keep going and going and I'm glad. Dave's artwork has always amazed me. I should have taken some photos of his's the closest I'll ever come to owning this man's art. Check out Dave's web site if you haven''s a feast for your eyes.

Well after about 5 hours of talking and visiting with new and old friends, it was time to call it a day. If you get a chance to visit a Fly Fishing Show near you, I highly recommend it.  Later...