TEXAS FLYFISHERS INVADE THE
HOUSTON FISHING SHOW
Whom ever it was that said, “never venture - never gain” was proved again to be so correct. I knew from the time I was a small boy at the side of my dad, that good comes to good people and hard work pays well if not now it will in the end! Well this past week down at the George R. Brown Convention Center hard work and good people both came together to represent the spirit and sport of fly fishing here in our great state of Texas. Day after day during this past week our booth in the convention hall was by far the busiest “non-selling” booth in this huge hall. At times you couldn’t see the other side of the aisle there were so many folks wanting to see what the fly tyers were doing or to listen to past fly fishing adventures from one of the booth workers or to watch video of big fish being brought to hand at the end of a well tied lightweight leader. The energy expressed by the booth workers was absorbed and given back by those seeking information about fly fishing.
We heard stories how “my Dad used to fly fish and just loved it, but he’s passed on now so where can I learn?” Or, “I did that back when I was a kid and loved it but since I moved here from Montana I really never thought you could do that here? Or, “but that fly fishing is for small fish, I want to catch BIG fish…really? Each of those and similar questions were met with “we’ll show you brother!” After a five minute discussion these doubters were thoroughly convinced that fly fishing is not only a viable method but just might be the premier method to catch fish. You could see their faces light up with anticipation…could I really to do that? The look on a seven year old boys face when he (with just five minutes instruction) was doing a perfect roll-cast 25’ down the aisle right on target using one of our TFF practice rods, his Dad beaming with pride that his boy just might be ready to join him on his next outing. This re-occurred day after day… young boys and girls getting their first experience with a fly rod that just might be their chosen sport in the years to come.
The TFF guys working the crowd!
During the five days of the show the workers of the Texas Fly Fishers booth spoke with literally hundreds of folks who showed interest in fly casting, tying, and fishing. We met a young man from Mississippi who really loved fly fishing back home and would really like to spend more time doing more but he’s slightly busy right now as a quarterback for Rice University! We met a young lady whose Grand Dad was a founding member of the IFGA and set world records with a fly rod that weren’t recognized by the IFGA for years because after all he used a fly rod! We had a well recognized “conventional” guide who wanted to listen to our stories on how to present a fly to a big trout sitting in a pot hole. All of the stories, each in their own way were fantastic and fulfilling. A resounding theme heard over and over by all of us was, “where have you guys been all these years?” our retort was we’ve been here for twenty-seven years and with your help we’ll be for twenty-seven more. WOW… I am telling you now - I had only one negative comment. That’s it, one in five days! That was awesome.
Tom selling another SoloSkiff while Les and Marcos tie up their specialties!
My favorite line to get someone to stop in and talk with me was… “hey you still got Dad’s fly rod sitting in the back closet at home?” I’d get this “how did you know” look on their face and they’d stop walking and say, “yeah, is it any good?” I’d say, “only if you would use it!” They would sit down and begin to re-account different adventures with their Dads or Grand Dads and all the fun they had fly fishing. Soon they fully understood the fun hasn’t gone away and that the Texas Fly Fishers could get them back on track to reliving those memories with their children in no time.
Looks like John C. is not the only one interested in what Shelby's tying.
I want to thank all the folks who unselfishly took time away from their busy personal lives to share time working in our booth bringing their TEXAS fly fishing spirit to so many people. You guys know who you are and probably feel like I…a little tired but completely rejuvenated by all the positive thoughts and Karma that fly fishing brings to its public. Dave Steffic did a terrific job with his group with Reel Recovery gathering wonderful donations for those who aren't as fortunate as some of us. Thanks Dave! Thanks also to Nancy Lapin the fly fishing gal with endless energy who brought the coffee for Sunday morning...what a life saver! Who forgot about Daylight Savings Time ...er NOT me!
Thanks to Captain Ben Paschal doing his wonderful seminar about fly fishing the Lower Laguna Madre and working our booth for three days. Also special thanks to Captain Scott Null for filling in for our only scheduled "NO SHOW". Captain Null's Sunday presentation about fly fishing Galveston Bay was very well attended. Super big thanks to John Carpenter who allowed us to present his new watercraft the SoloSkiff to the Texas fishing public. Wow, what a kayak killer...even kayak salesmen at the show came by to see what everybody was talking about then only to leave saying it was totally awesome! Tom Mitzlaff, the builder of the SoloSkiff came all the way from Jacksonville, Florida to answer questions about his newest watercraft. Believe you Me brother it was the HIT of the shallow water boats at the show this year.
"THE KAYAK KILLER"
But Now I want to say an extra
special thanks to one of our booth workers and I know that’s not the way he would like it either. He represents every thing that is good about fly fishing. He tirelessly tied flies, one after the other for five days, he re-accounted his thirty plus years of fly fishing experiences talking about tying special leaders, knots, flys, fishing in the Keys, Central America, California, the east coast, to tossing size 26 midge patterns in little spring creeks high in the mountains to tossing huge black backwater flies in the marsh canals in southern Lousiana. Folks he joined the Texas Fly Fishers way back in the eighties when fly fishing in here Texas was still a virgin sport with Chris Phillips at the helm. Thank you Les Lehman! Having you in our booth added huge credibility to our efforts. Seeing all the numerous people who made their way over to you just to shake your hand and say hi. We are very lucky to have you back in town for how ever long and we are much better for it too…Thank You Brother!
Les L., Jim D., and Jason E. having a great time at the show!
OK who wants to do this again?