I ran into very few folks that I know so I was essentially just another face in the crowd, which is how I like it. I attended many seminars on trout fishing. Luckily, a few were about reading the water, which is not only a personal weakness - having not been on trout streams much - but also something that might translate into my home-water fishing. Everglade’s rivers have some similar aspects: they are just larger. The whole concept of fluvial hydraulics is a field that I am curious about, and some knowledge probably is beneficial in catching more fish. The folks that gave the seminars sure seemed to think so.
There were a lot of booths dedicated to fishing far-off places, but I passed on most of them: there was only so much time. I did, however, investigate the Caribbean destinations offering similar species to those I have fished all my life, and inquired if they may be interested in the assistance of an MCI. I can glimpse retirement just beyond the next low hill and would not mind having some options. To my surprise, they were quite receptive to the idea.
My greatest entertainment came from watching the casting ponds. There were some very good instructors: Gary Borger and Mac Brown to namedrop a few, and they gave great demonstrations. The almost hilarious thing was watching the ponds right after their talks. Despite almost begging folks to ease up and cast better, not harder, the next group of “experts in their own minds” would go out and compete by manhandling tailing loops as far as they could, which was usually far short of the relatively unimpressive length of the pond.
I am sorry if that sounds bad, but I am not trying to be mean. It is just a fact of life, I guess. Teaching flycasting, apparently, is a very difficult task. Despite lifelong experts explaining on multiple levels of technicalities, and then demonstrating effortless beautiful casts, the rapt observers either cannot or will not follow their lead. It almost looks like the observers think the instructors are much like magicians who are really not telling the secrets to their tricks!
At one point I spotted an unknown to me “educator” holding court, and a flyrod, next to one of the ponds. He had apparently just given a private demonstration to a small group of wide-eyed students. As I approached I overheard him mixing the terms “trailing” and “tailing”, but what I heard did not, to me, make sense. I then heard him illuminate that tailing loops were inherent to the rod blanks! He went on to explain that the only model that did not contain this error was a mid-priced Sage that is now discontinued. The reason new models are being released so rapidly these days is because the manufacturers are desperately trying to figure out what made that one model work! I kid you not. I could not make this stuff up.
Personally, I found a number of 10wt models that did not seem to tail. I narrowed my search down to the Scott Tidal. I am pretty sure that will be my rod for the upcoming tarpon season this spring.
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the drift. I had fun. Unfortunately, I learned that there will not be a flyfishing show in Florida this year. Maybe I’ll just have to fly out to Montana this July to attend the FFI expo in Bozeman. I will need to get my fix somehow.