I’ve now been to a few of these international fishing hootenannies. First, a few observations.
1. The IFTD side of ICAST is doing all of us, and themselves, a huge disservice by not employing attractive female spokeswomen in every booth. Nothing sexist here, but it might balance out the plaid, bearded, general unattractiveness we all bring to the table.
2. There is a lot more money in spin fishing. A LOT MORE. So much so, I am now considering a sister publication named, Southern Culture On The Crank Bait. A LOT MORE MONEY, I say.
3. This is the first year I can start seeing the torch being passed from the older distinguished gentleman of our sport to us. I’m not sure if that’s good for fly fishing in general (mostly because everyone I hang out with are still the same degenerate dirt bags I first fell in love with), but I’m starting to see that those distinguished older gentleman of our sport started off a tad more undistinguished then we give them credit for. A few of them would fit in swimmingly in any boat I’ve ever passed out in.
Now to the gear. I’m always impressed with the advancement in all gear for such a small industry. If fly fishing engineering departments weren’t so obsessed with chasing fish, we would have probably colonized Mars by now. Rods get lighter, stronger, and this year it seems like a little slower, which I for one am kind of happy about. Waders are tougher then they’ve ever been, and gear storage has reached the level of science fiction. I don’t think anyone is going to be disappointed when they go to their local fly shop this year.
A full list of the best of show winners can be found here. I did want to make a special note of the winners we are lucky enough to work with: Simms took home multiple awards in their men’s, women’s, and luggage lines. Hatch Outdoors won best accessory for their new nipper. And last but most awesome is that Flymen Fishing Company won best freshwater fly for our very own staffer Alan Broyhill’s Jack Knife. Well done, young man.
All in all, I do think IFTD is the best opportunity to see almost everyone in the fly fishing industry in one place. I even got to geek out on a few of my own childhood fishing heroes this year.