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We’re finally ready to put up our feet and take a break from traveling! But we couldn’t call the spring trade show season a wrap without attending the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival. This show combines free local wine tastings, microbrews, and live music with casting demonstrations, seminars, and product vendors in a unique, beginner-friendly fly fishing experience. For this week’s blog, we’re going to check out the highlights from the show and hope that you will join us near year!
This show brought together some of the most well-respected names in fly fishing in a new, larger facility to accommodate the show’s quickly growing attendance. We were thrilled to have Frank Bryant and Bob Clouser under the same roof helping to represent Chota Outdoor Gear. We had a healthy stock of our best-selling wading boots, Hippies, South Fork Waders, and new products on sale as show specials.
Trade shows are a great chance to catch up with old friends, many of whom have worked the same trade show circuits as us for many years. We checked in with our friends at Temple Fork Outfitters, including our buddy Steve Monahan who represents both Chota and Temple Fork Outfitters.
Seminars and casting demonstrations were one of the most popular crowd pleasers at the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival, thanks to a generously large casting pond and world-class instructors. Lefty Kreh drew eager crowds of attendees during his casting demonstrations, and for good reason. He’s a world-class fly fishing instructor, a major pioneer of saltwater fly fishing and saltwater fly patterns, and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
Kayak fishing has also surged in popularity over the past few years thanks to a wider diversity of kayaks and gear tailored for fishing. Fly fishers are quickly jumping on the kayak bandwagon to fish lakes for trout, bass, bluegill, and other species. In certain scenarios, kayaks have a great advantage over larger motorboats because they are less expensive, require less maintenance, and can easily slip into shallow or tight spaces that boats can’t reach. To that end, the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival introduced an expanded area specifically for kayak demonstrations. In the picture below, the speaker is sitting in a Hobie MirageDrive kayak, which is powered by foot pedals to leave the user’s hands free for casting, and some models even allow an angler to stand while casting. However, plenty of other kayak companies also make fishing kayaks that use the traditional paddles, so fly anglers can easily find the right kayak that suits their paddling preferences, where they plan to fish, and their budgets.
Remember last year when we featured Flies By Two Brothers in a special Q&A blog? Click this link to read our story from last year. Palmer and Mason Kasprowicz started their fly tying business to start saving money for college, and we met them as newly minted entrepreneurs at last year’s Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival. At only 12 and 14, they already know that they want to study engineering, and most parents with college-age children can attest to the quickly growing cost of tuition, books, and other expenses. Well, the brothers are another year older and wiser than when we interviewed them last year, and they met a major business milestone by selling their thousandth fly at this year’s show. Congratulations! We wish them all the best with their business and look forward to catching up with them next year.
That wraps up our winter and spring trade show circuit for the year! It’s no coincidence that the trade shows wrap up just in time for peak spring and summer fly fishing, so if you need us, we’ll be on the water.
Comment Questions: Did you come out to any of the trade shows that we attended this year? If so, which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google+!
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