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Federation Of Fly Fishers Southern Council Fly Fishing Fair


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John Berry

The Southern Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers is holding its Fly Fishing Fair this week. The event will be held on October 4, 5 and 6. The activities on Thursday will take place at various locations in the area and most of the activities on Friday and Saturday will take place at the Fairgrounds from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

What is a Fly Fishing Fair? All of the old timers like me still refer to it as Conclave, which has always been an annual major gathering of the members of the Federation of Fly Fishers in the Southern Council. It regularly draws over a thousand fly fishers from Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The idea is to open it up a bit to anyone that is interested in learning more about fly fishing. Toward this end the entry fees have been reduced. You can get a single day pass for just $5.00 or a family day pass for $10.00. Fees for admission for both days is $10.00 for an individual or $15.00 for a family. That is inexpensive entertainment for the family. Disabled veterans are free.

For me, the big draw has always been the fly tiers. There are around one hundred fly tiers that will be tying on Friday and Saturday. Some of these tiers are true artists. I could sit and watch for hours. However once again I will be tying on Friday and Saturday myself as will my brother, Dan. My wife, Lori, isn’t as interested in the fly tying. She is usually outside at the casting pools either trying out the various new rods or helping new anglers learn to cast.

A big attraction for many of the attendees are the commercial exhibits. There are several rod manufacturers with everything from hand crafted bamboo rods to the latest Sage graphite. There will be loads of fly tying materials, Dave and Emily Whitlock will have a booth featuring Dave’s artwork and books. Local artist and guide Duane Hada will also have one featuring his outdoor art. A new exhibitor is Cabela's. There are several local guides will be there. I will have a booth across from Sage. Stop by and let me tie you a fly.

The featured speaker will be Dave and Emily Whitlock who will speak about fly fishing the Texas Hill Country at 6:00 PM on Friday evening in the main conference hall of the Ramada Inn. On Thursday night T. L. Lauerman, Sales Manager at Wapsi will speak on the introduction of the Bear Creek Bonneville Cutthroat Trout in the Norfork River at 7:00 PM in the main conference Hall at the Ramada Inn.

There are currently 58 seminars scheduled for the Fly Fishing Fair. Several are to be held offsite on Thursday. Duane Hada will have a class on Plein Air painting. There are several fishing seminars to be held on the water that day. One that comes to mind is my wife, Lori Sloas’s class Seven Simple Steps to Help You Catch Fish. There is a fee for these and the other classes held that day .On Friday and Saturday there will be classes held at the Fairground that cover a variety of fishing and other related subjects. I will teach one on Nymph Fishing on Saturday at 4:00 PM and Lori has one at 9:00 AM on Friday and Saturday. There are also several classes for the non fisher including a great Dutch Oven Cooking Class led by Dennis Slane.

There is a welcome dinner on Friday night at the Ramada Inn sponsored by my old fishing club, The Mid South Fly Fishers of Memphis Tennessee. There is a free pizza dinner along with an auction at the Ramada Inn on Friday at 6:00 PM and an awards banquet at the same place at 6:00 PM. Don’t forget the Youth Conclave or the casting games.

As you can see there is something for everyone. I hope to see you there.

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