Sunday, January 8, 2012

Catching up...

I'm in Denver this week for a combination of "day job" duties, that included dropping in on the International Sportsmen's Exposition and the Fly Fishing Show (why these two shows are in the same town on the same dates is beyond me, and I'm sure I'm not alone in scratching my head). The shows are always worth a visit, although I'm seriously considering taking up a collection for Chuck Furimsky to move the Fly Fishing Show out of the Merchandise Mart, where the food is borderline toxic and the lighting is, to be kind, oppressive. There has to be a better option than hosting the event in the dated old mausoleum in the sketchy north Denver 'burbs. Are gray lights real? If they are, I'm guessing the Merchandise Mart is the world's top consumer.

Kyle Perkins, left, and Sean Anderson
On Thursday of last week, I had the chance to sit down face-to-face with some of my fellow bloggers who live here on the Front Range. I got to meet Jen Kugler of Flyfishilicious and Kyle Perkins of the The Compleat Thought. And, I got to renew some old friendships with the likes of Sean Anderson (aka, Sanders) from Up the Poudre and my old Trout Unlimited crony Russ Schnitzer (schnitzerPHOTO). Also, my great friends from Tom Sadler from Middle River Dispatch and Kirk Deeter of Fly Talk dropped in, as did Andrew Bennett of Deneki Outdoors.

Seeing this group of angling bloggers in one Irish pub was honestly pretty impressive, and it reinforced my belief that fly fishers with an urge to communicate about our craft can change perceptions. This was no tweedy group of elitists that tipped back beer and whiskey on a Thursday night. This was a group of regular folks who have day jobs working for copier companies, coupon websites and conservation organizations. This is the future of fly fishing ... not the skeezy message boards where online longevity equals credibility in a digital world of porn photo exchanges among a bunch of unwashed fly fishing "experts" espousing advice and insults while wearing thread-bare boxer shorts and sitting in their mom's basement. I'm proud to be a part of it, and I'm proud of these bloggers for sharing their fly fishing perspective and welcoming input and questions from others.

Finally, despite the migraine I incurred at the Fly Fishing Show thanks to the Merchandise Mart's unfortunate lighting, I was able to touch base with Daniel Galhardo, founder of Tenkara USA, and Dennis Klein of Mystic Fly Rods. I'm a Tenkara convert, but I'm not quite ready to foresake my conventional gear altogether, so it was nice to meet up with these two folks. Galhardo's company is a "1% for the Planet" contributor to Trout Unlimited's Sportsmen's Conservation Project, and Dennis has contributed frequently to TU's causes--he helped with our Idaho CarpFest a couple years back, and is a believer is TU's mission to conserve, protect and restore coldwater fisheries all over the country.

I'm off to the last day of the ISE at the Colorado Convention Center. If you're in town and at the show, look me up. I'd love to shake your hand and talk fly fishing.


12 comments:

  1. I'm really sorry I missed out on meeting you and my fellow Colorado bloggers. I even took my mom's advice and wore my good boxers! It is a shame that the two shows are held at the same time. Having them during separate times would enable me to cross one more Winter weekend off the list of long Winter weekends. As an aside, the Merchandise Mart is a historic building. It's got to be at least 150 years old.

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  2. At least... it was brand new when I was a kid!

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  3. Couldn't agree with you more on the terrible food, lighting, and "ghetto" feel of the Denver Merchandise Mart. I really hope they change the venue next year.

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  4. Ahhhh...sounds like a good time for sure! Glad you got to meet some of the fine people that I had the pleasure to Frenzy with last Fall! Carry on and enjoy your trip!

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  5. Good to find out who is and who isn't going to be allowed to be the future of fly fishing. Better got some elitists together to keep everybody else out.

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  6. Sorry. My comment should have been more direct and clear. I don't understand the infatuation with "elitism" these days. What does it even mean in this post?

    Doesn't elitism at its root involve excluding certain groups in favor of others?

    Isn't it inconsistent to slam "tweedy elitists" in one sentence and then turn around and take a dig at online forums in the other?

    It seems to me conservation and fishing (fly fishing and otherwise) are too important to just trade one gate keeper for another.

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  7. Understood, and perhaps I wasn't clear (or perhaps I was, and I'm not practicing what I preach). The whole reason I appreciate these bloggers is because they don't tend to discriminate, they are open to discussion, to ideas... and they welcome everyone into their fold, including new anglers, new bloggers and the like.

    My issue with online forums is that you must first pass some random sniff test by the group before you're welcome in. Same holds true for the tweedy set. This group doesn't do that... No dues required to fish in their water. They don't hire a gatekeeper.

    Hope that helps... although I can see where I might come across a bit snooty. Not my intent, but then, I suppose when you prefer one group over another, it's a bit duplicitous, yes?

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  8. The show was short lived for me as I had my 5 year old son with me, but couldn't agree more about the food. My son chose the fruit bowl and we attempted to identify the reddish thing that I guessed was watermelon. He didn't want the yellow thingy. I also couldn't believe a brownie could be bad....but it was.

    All that aside, it was great to see so many tyers and like minded folks and companies under 1 roof. Even those FFF conclavers (tounge in cheek here) gave my son his best experience practicing his cast. Maybe if they don't move the show at least hold it on a different weekend.

    Cheers

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  9. Hope the ringing in your ears and the headache is long gone...

    great to see you last week. Nice to share a few laughs with some good friends. Look forward to next time.

    Cheers!

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  10. All better... great to see you, man... let's fish next time I get to town, and I'll keep you posted on that other thing... ;)

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  11. great post, keep up the great blogg

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