Fly-Fishing: Craftsmanship, collectibles, tiers part of shows

From steelheading along the Great Lakes to the striped bass migration along the coast, there’s plent
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From steelheading along the Great Lakes to the striped bass migration along the coast, there’s plenty of good fly-fishing to do in November.

But there’s indoor fun to be had, too. Two of the region’s most popular fly-fishing gatherings take place this month.

The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum’s Art of the Angler show, with its emphasis on craftsmanship and collectibles, will take place Nov. 15-16 at the Ethan Allen Inn in Danbury, Conn.

Since the Catskill Center boasts the world’s only public bamboo rodmaking studio, complete with the machinery, forms and tools used by masters like Everett Garrison and Hoagy B. Carmichael, it’s to be expected the show will have much to offer lovers of cane rods.

David Burgel will give a seminar on how to make one of your own.

Other scheduled talks include “Learn to Fly Fish” by the Trout Unlimited Women’s Initiative; “Labrador and Waters of the Big Brookies” by Dave Brandt of Oneonta; Tony Ritter on “Upper Delaware Fishing,” and “The Fish and Fishing of New York’s Salmon River,” with information and advice that will come in handy for steelhead fishing this winter.

There will be a book exchange, old tackle appraisal, booths for fly-fishing retailers and outfitters, and fly-tying demos throughout the day by notables, including the Capital Region’s own Bob Mead, Jay “Fishy” Fullum and Bill Newcomb.

A week later, the International Fly Tying Symposium, the biggest event of its kind in the world, will be held at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, N.J. There, you can watch scores of fly-tiers, including many of the biggest names in the sport, at work at their vises, and see exactly how they make their flies.

Fullum and Newcomb will be on hand, as will Pat Cohen of Cobleskill, who’s built his niche of stacked deer hair flies for warm-water species into a business with loyal customers around the world.

There’s a fly-tying contest and casting competitions (fiberglass on Saturday, bamboo on Sunday) and presentations by Gary Borger, Bob Clouser, Tim England and Bob Popovics. I’ll be watching intently as Popovics shows how to make his Bucktail Deceiver, one of my favorite saltwater flies.

Seminars will include Fullum on creative tying, Borger on big streamers, Matt Grobert on dry flies and emergers and John Shaner, formerly of Hardy USA, now of Douglas Outdoors, on spiders and soft hackles.

Of course, there will be oodles of fly-tying materials for sale.

The theme of this year’s show is “Come On Over, Neighbor,” with fly-tiers from Canada invited to join the mostly American vise maestros.

Fly-tying is more than just a way to stock up for the coming season. It’s a great hobby in its own right, and the thing that gets most of us fly-fishers through the cabin fever of the winter months.

Both of this month’s shows will provide lots of inspiration, and maybe even some new ideas that will get us a few more fish when the 2015 season rolls around.

The Art of the Angler show runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 a day or $20 for both days. There’s a dinner and auction Saturday night. More info is at catskillflyfishing.org.

The International Fly Tying Symposium runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $15 Saturday, $12 Sunday or $20 for both days. Details are at internationalflytyingsymposium.com.

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