Monday, March 20, 2017

Gearing up at the Great Waters Expo

The Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo was held this weekend.  It's a regional fly fishing show that manages to bring in the folks from Far Bank (Sage, Rio, and Redington), Patagonia, Fishpond, as well as the local/regional fly shop and guide services.  Mrs. Fading Angler and I abandoned the surly teenagers (aka The Offspring®) and visited the show late Saturday morning.

(A quick word of advice to the show's organizers for next year:  I almost didn't get to pay and admission fee.  The parking situation was so frustrating that we just about gave up and went home.  Mrs. Fading Angler suggests you consider going back to the National Sports Center in Blaine or another facility with ample parking available in the immediate vacinity.)

Mrs. FA was looking for discounted fly tying supplies, and I wanted to visit four specific vendors.
 The first one I encountered was Quik-Cast.  You may or may not recall that we saw their products at the Flyfishing Show in Denver.  This time, I purchased the XD rod/reel case and an LT kit.
These product allow you to break down and store your fully rigged rod without tangles that otherwise happen when I've tried doing this.  The rod sections slip into pockets are each end, and then velcro hook-and-loop strips are used to secure the line, like so:
I'll write more about these in the future, but I bought them to solve two problems: 1) Breaking down a rod when moving between fishing spots in a small vehicle, and 2) Storing rigged rods overnight when camping (rather than leaving the assembled rod outside underneath the RV, hoping that the honest people stay honest.)  When I was fishing over in western Wisconsin a couple of weekends ago, I was really wishing I'd had these.   You can check out this YouTube Video if you're curious about how to use the case.

The other item I've been wanting to purchase is the Dragonfly Rod Holder from O'Pros.  Here's mine:

Really simple: attach it to your wading belt/waistband, and now you have somewhere to tuck your rod, leaving both arms and hands completely free.

I've been trying to cobble together a "hands-free" system for re-rigging on the water.  I'm hoping this little gem will do the trick.  I talked to David Jacobson, one of the three founding brothers, in the booth for a few minutes.  He also showed me a small flybox they're working on that slips right over the top of the holder, essentially covering the velcro hook-and-loop patch.  More about the Dragonfly after some time with it in action.

A couple of years ago, we stumbled across Limit Creek Fishing Rod Co. in the hardware store of the small town of Spring Valley, MN.  Their lineup of "Driftless Dream" fly rods started as an 8' long 4 weight, an 8'6" long 5 weight, and a 9' long 6 weight.  I was surprised to see that the 5 weight rod finished in the Top 10 of Yellowstone Angler's Five-Weight Shootout last year, placing 7th out of 30 rods accepted for the battle!  Other models have been added to the lineup, including the 9' long 5 weight that the Yellowstone Angler folks were wishing for.  I've wanted to try casting the 4 short weight since we initially saw it.  I intended to do so at the show, but we ran out of time and I didn't get back to that booth.  I might just have to save up a few pennies for later in the summer, because these rods are priced at a very reasonable $189.  I'm looking for a shorter 4 weight for those little Driftless creeks covered in a tree canopy.

Finally, I was surprised to see that the owners of a Washington State guide and hospitality service made the long trek to Minnesota.  Jack and Jennifer Mitchell own and operate The Evening Hatch, "10 Great Rivers, 3 Cool Lodges, 1 Little Fly Shop."  Mrs. FA and I stopped into the "Little Fly Shop" in Ellensburg, WA when we went on a sightseeing trip a couple of years ago to the Yakima River.  (It's tiny, but cool!)  I also recently discovered that KynsLee Scott, a guide who has spent her career in Missoula, Montana, recently went to work for the Evening Hatch.  I wanted to find out how they stole her from Blackfoot River Outfitters convinced her to leave Missoula.  The answer was simple: Steelhead.  (There may also be something with a significant-other working for them, too, but who knows...)  I had tried to book KynsLee for my trip to Rock Creek last summer, but she was busy.  And now she's in Washington.  So we chatted with Mr. Mitchell for a while, and he may have convinced the pair of us to try "summer run steelhead" sometime on the Klickitat River.  I've got steelhead fishing on my bucket list, but Mrs. FA isn't too keen on spending multiple days in the cold and rainy Olympic Peninsula for a chance to hook into one, maybe two, fish.  She prefers to catch fish when shorts and sandals are the required wardrobe.

Those were the highlights.  Mrs. FA picked up some essentials for the tying supplies box.  Sadly, I didn't find any vendors or suitable displays of vises for sale.  That adventure continues...


  1. Chris, enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing the new goodies. I will have to check further into them. They each seem to fit a good niche. I have a small car so that rod setup in particular is interesting.

    1. Mel - Quik-Cast is a Denver company, so I bet you'll be able to support them pretty easily. :)

  2. The parking was a mess. I noticed a lot of innovative items at the show, and it's nice to see first hand what is going on in the world of fly fishing. I don't actually see a fly shop to often so it's a nice departure from the regular routine.

    1. My theme this year: simplify and spend more time with a fly on the water.

      Good to come in from the wild every now then, for as little time as possible. If you aren't going to be down at TrapFest this weekend, maybe we can find a day to meet up sometime in early or mid April on a weekend.

  3. Chris, Very small world it is, indeed. Great to meet you and your wife at the show. We had a fun time and will return in 18'. Thanks for the shout out in your blog and hope that you can join us in 2017 at The Steelhead Ranch on the Klickitat, for some summer run steel. Love your site, very cool. Also, thanks for the referral on the MO. Best to you and yours,