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The view in Mexico

Last week we had some techinical difficulties here and were not able to send out our blog.  Cathy had emailed us from Mexico with some great photos and I hated to waste them.  The Becks are home now, Opening Day here was a success, and we're busy scheduling guiding and casting.  I still wanted to get this blog out so I hope you won't mind that it's a few days late....  Enjoy!

 

We're sitting on the porch at Grand Slam Lodge in Mexico talking about thefishing we've had so far this week. Saltwater fishing is so different from trout fishing in so many ways. We can all remember some nasty wind on trout rivers,but nothing like nasty wind in saltwater. Another thing, the fish are always moving so your cast has to be quick and accurate, real quick. There is often no time for false casts...pick it up and get it back in there, especially for baby
tarpon and snook. Being able to see the fish is so important, otherwise you're guessing and the fly will almost always land in the wrong place. This past week we've had just about everything Mother Nature can throw at us, but that said, there have been some memorable fish caught and great stories to tell. Walt got his first and second permit and his first Grand Slam, Sara landed her first tarpon of the year (and fell off the boat, but that's another story). It's been fun to get out of the cold northeast weather for a few days and immerse ourselves in warm weather, sunshine, saltwater, tarpon, bonefish, snook and permit. Now we go home to the start of trout fishing in Pennsylvania.

 

Mexico collage

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APR
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Spring Guiding & Instruction

Spring Guiding & Instruction

The opening day of fishing season here in NEPA is next Saturday, April 16th and our office is busy scheduling guiding and casting instruction for those eager to get out on the water.  If you would like to be guided on our private waters this Spring, call us at 570-925-2392.  Our guides are excellent and love what they do.  We also offer Weekender Packages if you'd like individual instruction with Cathy followed with a day of guided fishing.  We're quite sure you'll be impressed with the stream and the fish.  Our managed water is strictly catch and release, fly fishing only and carefully regulated to ensure anglers of a quality experience on one of the coldest freestone trout streams in PA.  You can find more information about our packages and pricing here

guiding collage

 

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MAR
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I'm going broke and it's all Barry's Fault- a guest blog post...

I'm Going Broke and it's all Barry's Fault

We asked our friend Art Rorex to guest blog for us this week and as always, he came through.  Below is Barry's comment and then Art's story.  We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

Art is just Art.  You have to know him to appreciate him.  He certainly is one of the most enthusiastic & passionate fly fishermen I know.  We've traveled all over the world together, not just fishing in exotic places, but photographing in the wilds of Africa & Mongolia.  He's extremely disciplined in everything he does and I admire that about him.  Wherever we go with Art, I know we're going to have a good time.  I've always thought of Art as one of our best friends and as you know friends are people you can always count on and who will stand by you, and that's Art.  -Barry

Before I met Barry I was reasonably solvent, well rested and blissfully ignorant. I was satisfied with fishing my neighborhood stream, thought elbow to elbow steelhead fishing was great and enjoyed annual trips to Montana. I had a pocket film camera and an album of really bad fishing photos. Now, twelve years later, I travel to exotic locations, catch a variety of large fish, return home semi-exhausted, have a 25 pound digital camera bag and am familiar with some of the world's greatest fishing and travel destinations. I also have a severely depleted bank account.

This all started with a two week trip to New Zealand in 2004. The trip was great. Zane Grey once described New Zealand an 'an anglers El Dorado'. Ninety years later it still is. Wonderful hosts, beautiful scenery, expert guides and the most challenging trout fishing in the world. I have seen, lost and occasionally landed the biggest trout I've ever seen. I was am hooked.

art2Since that first trip I've been on several other fishing and photography trips with Barry and Cathy. On every trip the destination and the interim stops were every bit as interesting and enjoyable as the fishing itself. In Alaska the fishing is unique but the bears are incredible -- especially when they're 20 feet away. Argentina provides the solitude and excellent fishing I knew growing up in Montana (many, many, many ... years ago). It's also provided an evening next to the stage at the oldest and best Tango show in Buenos Aires. Brazil's Amazon is full of wonders -- jaguars, fresh water porpoise and 14 foot caymen along with peacock bass and a bazillion exotic birds. A walk through the rain forest is an added treat. The fishing camp in Mongolia reminds me of Montana's foothills -- but with 40" - 50" taimen instead of trout. After the fishing, a five day cross country drive through the 'outback' to the Eagle Festival was an exceptional experience. Trips to Iceland, Christmas Island and Spain were equally enjoyable. Although the fishing was great, the destinations themselves were just as exciting.

Not satisfied with bludgeoning my bank account with an ever expanding list of unbelievable fishing trips, Barry has also lured me into multiple photo safari trips to Africa. Leopards within twenty feet of our truck. Hundreds of elephants in a single day. 5,000 wildebeest crossing the Mara River. Lions roaring at sunset. The list goes on. Unbelievable experiences.

As I said, I'm going broke and it's all Barry's fault. Without him, my bank balance would be much higher ... but my memories much more boring. Now he's added Ireland to this year's schedule. God knows what he'll think of next.art1

All I can say is "Thanks Barry".

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MAR
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Some fishing tips from Cathy

Thoughts on Fishing

patagoniaThis is my view as I sit here alongside the road on a warm late summer afternoon in Patagonia. Miles and miles of open space. The only thing I hear is the light wind and an occasional bird. It's lovely. I fished the first half of the day, caught a bunch of rainbows from 8 to 16 inches and a couple of larger Browns. Barry, our guide Nico, and I had lunch, and now I am taking little time off to write this blog. As much as I love this wild place, I find myself looking forward to getting home to spring and the opening of our trout season.

I have had the opportunity in our line of work to fish with a lot great fishermen. All of these men are very good at what they do -- and over the years I have gotten some sound advice from them. This week I would like to share some of their thoughts.

1. Fish where the fish are. This came from the late Jack Gartside. What he is saying is don't waste your time in unproductive water. Learn to read the water and know where the fish should be holding and concentrate your fishing time in those areas.

 2. The line will go where the rod tip leads it. Lefty Kreh has told me this over and over. You may have read it in his books too. Lefty is saying that, if you have sufficient line speed, the fly will go wherever the rod tip is pointed at the end of the speed-up-and-stop (at the end) of the cast. So, point your rod tip where you want the fly to land.

3. If your leader won't turn over at the end of the cast, don't shoot line on the last false cast. I don't remember who told me this, but I think of it often when I am trying to turn over a cast with a big fly, especially into the wind. Get your line speed and distance with your first two or three false casts and present the cast to the water on the final false cast without shooting line. You'll be surprised at how well this works.

4. If your beetle (or any big foam bug) lands upside down, just strip it. Again, I don't remember who taught me this, but I was re-casting whenever my big beetle landed upside down. With one strip, it rights itself, and often gets the attention of the fish.

5. Very few fish are caught on poor casts. Again, Jack Gartside. I heard him say this in a casting demonstration. He is saying to make every cast count. Put it where it should be and fish it with confidence.

6. Get your extra power from the haul, not from the rod tip. Brian O'Keefe was helping me get ready for a Best-of-the-West competition many years ago and I kept tailing the loop on my final cast. I was "hitting" the rod tip much too hard, shocking it, and getting very frustrated. I share this advice with my double-haul students. It works every time.

7. If you can't see your dry fly, re-cast or change it. How many times do we stare into the water trying to find our fly? In the meantime, it is floating along unattended and if a fish does take it, we may never see it. Don't take the chance, change flies or positions to alter the glare, or whatever is necessary to keep your eye on the fly.

8. Adjust your strike indicator when the depth changes. This comes from Barry. He is always doing this. It's very easy to tell yourself that the indicator is okay where it is, but the fish don't see it that way. If the water gets deeper, we must slide the indicator further back on the leader to allow the fly to go deeper. Otherwise the fly will be above the fish as it drifts through the water and they won't take it. If the water gets shallow, the indicator needs to be adjusted again, further down on the leader, or the fly will snag on the bottom, or if a fish takes the fly we may be too late with the strike and will miss the fish.

9. Keep your fly lines clean. Something I've learned over the years. If your fly line is not clean, it won't shoot well, float well, or last long. If you notice your floating line is sinking or feels "sticky" on the rod, doesn't shoot well, clean it. Use a good cleaner from a reputable line or tackle company. If you're fishing a RIO line, use RIO's line cleaner. Clean it at home or in the grass before you go fishing. You'll be surprised at the difference a clean line will make.

10. Keep your fly in the water. Simple, yes? Not always. When the fishing is slow, it's easy to think about how tired you are and soon you decide that you'll just reel in and enjoy the boat ride down the river, or take a little nap by the side of the stream. Sure, there are times when the fishing is more productive than others, but you won't catch any fish with your fly in the hook keeper! Never Ever.

Want to see more tips from time to time? Let us know and we'll keep them coming. Thanks for reading our blog. Cathy

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FEB
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Mexico Fishing Opportunity & A Great Fishing Story

Campeche and Grand Slam, Mexico

0680 CAMPECHE 2015

 

We still have a couple rooms available on our Frontiers Campeche/Grand Slam departure. If you're dreaming of baby tarpon, permit, bonefish, and snook, this is for you.
4 Days of baby tarpon at Campeche and 4 days of everything at Grand Slam. Take a look at the trip and let us know. We'd love to have you. $5,550 per person,
based on double occupancy. 8 days fis1198 GRAND SLAM  2015hing. April 4-14. Shorter itineraries available-see itinerary here.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Story By Guest Blogger, Alex Blouin

A few weeks back we posted a northwest salmon fishing story from a young team member of Sage/Farbank, Alex Blouin. We invited Alex to share the adventures of him and his brother, Bryan, as they fished their way across country when Alex moved from New Hampshire to Washington state to accept an entry level job at Sage. It's encouraging to see such enthusiasm and motivation from a young x-college kid searching for his place in the world. We know you'll enjoy the story, it might make you wish you were in your 20s again and able to make these same decisions - we wish you much luck, Alex.    4458 BECK IMAGE 2014

 

In the spring of 2015, I sat in class trying to listen and pay attention to my professor, but my mind was elsewhere. My mind was in a world that consisted of seeing, learning, experiencing and enriching my life through the ways of a fly angler. I was dreaming of a life that would test me, get me out of my comfort zone and enlighten my spirit; thus certainly out of that lecture. After the professor spoke her last words of the class, I knew that those were the last I would hear from her as a student of Plymouth State University. I walked out of Boyd Hall with my head held high, took a deep breath of crisp New Hampshire air, and moved forward with confidence in my pursuit of greater self-enrichment through fly fishing.   

I spent every spare minute my next summer outside and fishing for Striped Bass with my twin brother, Bryan, as he had just commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, and this would be our last summer together embracing our youth. He was leaving for his training and duty station at the beginning of September, and I had accepted a position working in Warranty for Sage Fly Rods starting at the end of August. I was going to be driving from New Hampshire to Washington with all of my belongings, and to a couple of young, adventure-bound brothers, this meant only one thing; road trip.

On a previous cross country endeavor I had made a few months prior, I drove a friend, Milan, from New Hampshire to the South Fork of the Snake River where he was to work for that summer. We made many great connections along the way in such areas as the Wisconsin and Minnesota Driftless, the Platte River in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, and of course where Milan was working on the South Fork. My brother and I planned to follow a similar route, and gave ourselves two weeks to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific. We celebrated our birthday together at home, and two days later we were on the road.

Our first leg of the trip was a 23 hour haul to Milwaukee, WI, where a good friend of ours and Bryan's college roommate resided. We recharged the batteries for a day exploring different areas of Milwaukee, eating cheese curds, and making new friends. We left that night headed for the Minnesota Driftless, and camped at a state park right across the border from Lacrosse, WI.

The next day, we explored the small, tangled spring creeks of the Driftless, armed with 3 weights and a Tenkara rod. Bryan managed to get the day started on the right foot, landing a beautiful Brown that slammed his hopper right off the bank. With the creek being only a few feet wide at most points, and tall, thick brush all around, making a good cast isn't easy and getting a fish to eat isn't any easier. Starting the day off with a nice hopper eating Brown was certainly welcomed. We continued to push on upstream, landing many beautiful fish along the way, including Bryan's trophy; a gorgeous colored up male Brook Trout that took a nymph right underneath the undercut bank. With a full day of the Driftless under our belts, we left town and continued our journey west. Our next stop would be the North Platte (As far as fishing is concerned. We did stop in South Dakota to check out Rushmore and the Black Hills).

We arrived on the rim of Fremont Canyon well past dark, and set up camp under the light of a billion stars. The skies were as clear as I had ever seen, and we were able to catch the tail end of the Perseid Meteor shower as we sat and reminisced on our past, present and future. This was certainly an evening I'll never forget. We woke up in the morning to a crisp air, and the sun's rays that had barely broken over the peaks above. There was just enough light to see down to the river below, and were able to spot several large Rainbows feeding ever so gracefully in the surface film. We rigged up the rods, and slipped down the side of the canyon wall eager for a tight line. Bryan and I both set up perches on the rocks and tossed our dry flies to the rising fish. Bryan was the first to hook up, and landed a very nice 18 or so inch rainbow. We continued on for another hour or two, landing a few fish between us, then packed up our things and continued on to our next destination; the South Fork of the Snake River.

We arrived in Swan Valley, Idaho well past dark, and were greeted by a cheerful and enthusiastic Milan. After catching up over a few brews, we decided our next move would be to a local spring creek where we were to toss mice into the dark abyss. We trudged through the thick muck, and set up in a nice pool with lots of overhanging branches and cover. I was first up, and made a few casts straight across and skated the mouse underneath a large overhanging tree. Almost immediately a fish smashed the mouse, but missed the hook. We continued to work our way up, eventually switching to an upstream presentation, and connected with a number of large fish, but only one 16" cutthroat was landed. We called it a night and prepared for a float on the South Fork the next day. Upon hitting the water, we soon realized the quality fishery of the South Fork, and landed countless Cutthroat, Rainbows and Whitefish on nymphs and dry flies. This was where Bryan also landed his first Cutthroat; a native Snake River Fine Spotted! After a full days float, we all checked in for the night, and Bryan and I said our goodbyes the following morning and pushed on to Yellowstone National Park.

Upon arrival in Yellowstone, we met up with a good friend of mine, Cam, who was working in the park for the summer. We spent a few days in the park, but the most memorable day was certainly the last. We hiked in to a pond that held one of the last populations of Arctic Grayling in the Continental United States. None of us had much expectation as to what we would find, but we certainly didn't expect the quality of fishing we found. We landed beautiful Grayling and Cutthroat from 6-14" all day long on large dry flies. Towards the end of the day, Bryan ended up breaking the butt section of his 3 weight, and so rather than quit and head out, he laid the butt section and reel in the grass and started casting with just the tip sections. This turned out to be quite the unexpected discovery, as we are able to cast this broken rod just as efficiently without the butt section, and continued to land fish after fish. The sun started to go down, and we made the hike out, said our goodbyes once again, and continued on our westward journey towards Bainbridge Island.

Our original plan was to head up to Glacier National Park, but extreme forest fires prevented us from getting there. The rest of the ride from Montana to Washington, we barely saw blue sky as the smoke was so thick; sometimes visibility was down to less than a quarter mile. Rather than drive our last leg from Montana directly to our destination, we made a detour and met one of Bryans college buddies, Tom, a good friend of both of ours, at Mount Ranier National Park in Washington. We explored the surrounding area a bit, and took in the incredible sights of the large volcano; something we had never seen before. This was certainly an inspiring way to be welcomed to the great state of Washington.

I moved into my new residence a couple days before my first day of work at Sage, and was able to make a trip out to Olympic National Park with Bryan before he boarded his plane back to NH, and after that I was on my own.

I spent the next few months working in Sage's Warranty Department, fixing hundreds of broken rods, connecting with passionate anglers all around the globe, and of course exploring the waters of my new home on my days off. My sights were first set on encountering Salvelinus Confluentus, the Bull Trout, in their native habitat. It took a few trips and countless hours of research, but I was finally able to land my first "Bully" in the Northern reaches of North Cascades National Park. Once the spawning rituals of the Bull Trout were under way, I turned my sights towards one of the most majestic and revered creatures in all of angling; the native Steelhead.

My first escapade in search of these mystical creatures led me to Forks, WA to fish the Hoh and Bogachiel Rivers with new friend and co-worker, Brett. We spent most of our day driving around and exploring the water that was completely new to the both of us. The last place we stopped was on the Lower Bogachiel, and we found a great run to practice our spey casting and swinging techniques. Upon Brett's request, I had tied on an un-weighted traditional streamer I had created years ago for Landlocked Salmon and trout back in NH. The fly was missing one of its signature Jungle Cock eyes, and thus we dubbed it Ole One Eye. I worked through the run with Ole One Eye, casting, swinging and stepping my way down towards the bend. About halfway through the run, my line went tight and my first thought was that I had stuck bottom. After a short bit of trying to get un-snagged, I noticed my line slowly creeping upstream... I knew it couldn't be a fish, but sure enough I felt the tell-tale head shake, one stronger than I have ever felt. Before I knew it, my reel was singing as the fish made run after run trying shake the hook loose. After a long battle, Brett was finally able to get a solid grip on her tail. I immediately ran over, through my rod to the water, cradled the fish in my arms, and collapsed to my knees in awe of what I beheld. The immaculately beautiful Hen Chinook Salmon that sat in front of me was the largest fish I had ever landed on a fly. No measurements were made, but we presumed the fish was somewhere in the 20-30lb class range. This was an incredible experience and one that I will surely never forget. Nevertheless, the elusive Steelhead has still evaded me...

Since I have been with Sage, Redington and Rio here in Washington, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to learn from some of the greatest fly anglers in the business. My knowledge and understanding of the industry, sport, and my own self has grown at an exponential rate to a level I never dreamt was possible. My decision to leave the standard pathway of a collegiate career and pursue a life dedicated to my true passion has certainly been gratified. As a parting thought, I urge all of today's youth to push themselves, not to succeed in a world fabricated by others around them, but to forge their own path and ideals, think for themselves, and create a life which is unique to them, fueled by their passion, and one they can ultimately be proud of.

Tight Lines,
Alex Blouin

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FEB
16
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New Zealand Follow up And Sage BOLT Fly Rod

Barry and Cathy are on their way home from New Zealand as I write the blog for this week. They report another week of beautiful summer weather at Owen River Lodge. The rivers are fishing well and the group has enjoyed a wonderful New Zealand fishing experience. They have fished a number of rivers on the South Island in the Murchison area, saw lots of beautiful New Zealand countryside and loved Owen River Lodge. The food, guides, accommodations and personal attention were exceptional. Everyone agreed that fishing doesn't get more technical or more rewarding than New Zealand! They are all coming home tired and happy.   

nz2

 

Also, we found a few interesting articles in the Angling Trade E-News last month that we wanted to share:

Sage Bolt Rod Review

Kirk Deeter reviews the new Sage Bolt rod in Angling Trade E-News. If you like a fast rod, this might be for you.

And,

In the same issue is a short clip of rising trout - actually a very hungry rising trout! Click here to view the issue.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

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FEB
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The Becks are in New Zealand

Riverview Lodge, New Zealand

Cathy sent us some photos from Riverview Lodge in New Zealand where they have been for almost a week. The weather is warm, bright and sunny almost continuously and the fishing has been some of the best ever. Lots of big fish (7 pounds and up) caught on big dry flies — cicadas and beetles, along with some nymphs. The biggest so far? 10 pounds, 2 of them! Fresh strawberries from the garden and sight fishing to big browns. Does it get any better?

nz collage

Great RIO Product!

Picture this - the South Island of New Zealand, what we call the Everest of trout fishing, we're on the Hope River with our friend and guide, John Gemmell. We've just finished landing our third trout from one pool. The largest was 10.5 pounds, followed by an acrobatic 9 pound fish, and finally a smaller 7.5 fish. All were landed on the new RIO 4X BECK IMAGE 0662Powerflex Plus tippet material. This stuff is absolutely amazing. John said in all of his years of guiding he's never seen
anything this thin or this strong. We agree. If staying connected to the trout of a lifetime matters to you, you owe it to yourself to try RIO Powerflex Plus

 

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FEB
04
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Somerset Show Follow-Up

Somerset2016

Somerset Show

The Somerset Show was a great success with record attendance. It was a good weekend for traveling and a lot of Sage rods were tested on the pool. We talked fishing, travel, and tackle. The presentations were all well attended and everyone had a great weekend. We'd like to say thanks to everyone who stopped by the Sage, Redington, RIO, and Frontiers booths. When you can't be on the water, the next best thing is being with a lot of other fly fishermen sharing stories, talking about new products, new destinations, and great memories yet to be made! 

 

Also, we came across this little story on MidCurrent and want to share it with you. Lefty needs no introduction, nor does Joe Brooks. We might add that Lefty was here on Fishing Creek last fall with his friend Mark Lamos enjoying the unusually warm weather. Enjoy.

http://www.orvis.com/news/fly-fishing/museum-pieces-a-fly-fishing-icons-first-reel?adv=352841&cm_mmc=linkshare-_-je6NUbpObpQ-_-1-_-352841

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JAN
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Women's Fly Fishing Weekend in Benton, PA

BIGHORN 2015 637

We still have a few spots available at our upcoming Women's Weekend.  This would make a perfect Mother's Day gift! See below for details.

 

If you are interested in getting started in fly fishing or are looking to improve your skills in a relaxed and friendly environment, then this is the workshop for you. Join Barry and Cathy Beck in Benton, PA for a weekend of fly fishing instruction, new friends, superior accommodations and farm-to-table meals. Plus, you'll have the chance to swap travel stories with fellow anglers from Frontiers.

The weekend workshop will cover fly fishing fundamentals including fly and gear selection, casting, insect identification and on-water strategy. You will then apply your newly acquired skills at Barry and Cathy's home waters, Fishing Creek. This lovely freestone stream offers some incredible fly fishing opportunities and boasts a healthy population of big fish. You will be surprised by the number, size and condition of the fish. Local guides will also be available to provide individualized instruction while you're on the water.

What to Expect:

* World class instruction from two of the best anglers in the world, Barry and Cathy Beck

* Stunning lodge setting with breathtaking views at The Lodge at Raven Creek for instruction

* Farm-to-table meals prepared by local restaurateurs, Toby Diltz and Sarah Walzer, from The Blind Pig

* Superior overnight accommodations, local craft brews and evening entertainment at The Inn at Turkey Hill

Read through the full itinerary here. We look forward to seeing you there!

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JAN
26
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Visit us at The Fly Fishing Show this weekend

ffshow 1The biggest fly fishing show in the world is coming up this weekend in Somerset, NJ. We've been busy all week updating power point presentations for Barry. He's doing Dry Fly Strategies II on Friday and Tactics for Catching Big Trout on Saturday. Cathy's putting the finishing touches on her presentation at the Women's Showcase (not for women only) on understanding rod actions, fly reels, lines & leaders. Her fly lines are cleaned for the casting demonstrations at the pool and Barry's fly tying kit is packed. I think they are about ready to go.

This is the 24th year for the Somerset Show and it's been a huge success from the very first year. Hundreds of booths representing manufacturers, shops, destinations, publishers, and fly tyers lining the outer edges of the convention hall. The weather forecast sounds good for traveling so please stop by the Sage or Frontiers booth and say hi to Barry and Cathy. (They will be at the show on Friday & Saturday only, Sunday they leave for New Zealand).

http://flyfishingshow.com/somerset-nj/

The show is at the Garden State Exhibit Center and the hours are Friday 9 - 6, Saturday 8:30 - 6 and Sunday 9 - 4:30. Check the show web site for a complete list of presentations and directions to the show.

Hope to see you there!

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