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Somerset in January: Reminders of Fish

I spent yesterday horsing around at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, New Jersey. It’s always a nice thrill to get to break out of the winter doldrums for a day and get to feel some good fishing vibes.

A trio of us headed down from NYC, about a 40 minute drive, to hang around with the Veteran Anglers of New York folks and spot some bargains, refill the gear bins and limber up our wallets. I made it out of there relatively unscathed, with a ton of hooks and the feathers and fur you see above (grouse, starling, hen grizzly, muskrat) and not a whole lot else. I picked up Jay Fullums new book, and had a few words with him.  I met Rob Snowhite, and can’t wait to check out his podcast. I listened to Lefty Kreh run through some hilarious anecdotes while he waited to start his casting demo. And talked to a fellow who can introduce me to the right outfitters, should I wind up in Argentina later this year. And I saw good old Al Haxton and Charlie Gregory from the Michigan Fly Fishing Club, which once again represented en masse at the show.

Mostly it’s a good reminder of how close-knit the fly fishing industry is. Everyone seems to know everyone else, and once you get beyond the mere punters you realize that it’s a business built on relationships, like any other.

Notably absent was Orvis, which was a little strange. Orvis’ frontman for community stuff, the venerable Tom Rosenbauer, was there, but the brand had no real presence. Rob and I chatted about this briefly, but I’m not sure entirely why this was. Perhaps because there were 5-6 fly shops there that stock Orvis products, and it doesn’t want to mess with its dealers? But certainly a corporate booth, with some new prototype rods, and some super sport-specific stuff would make sense. Same with Patagonia. One of the shops had a load of coats and clothing, but I saw no Patagonia waders. Being a leader means being at things like Somerset, which is why core users might gravitate to Simms or TFO and leave Orvis and Patagonia to dilettantes.

Up next Winter Dip Dapper Don
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