2-19-05 & 2-20-05 - The Hawkeye Fly Fishing
Show in Altoona, IA
Yes, you better believe that it's another "Show
Report" - no fishing over this weekend! Rich Brown and I made
the 7+ hour drive over to Altoona, IA to partake in the 2005
Hawkeye Fly Fishing Show. I had higher hopes for this show than
the Chicago Fly Fishing Show and the Tinley Park Show.
I spent much of Thursday in preparation for the
show, packing stuff up and constructing my rod rack. I worked feverishly
to get my work done, but stopped briefly to walk out onto Lake Como
and take in a magnificent sunset.
Friday morning Josh Lenda stopped over to pick
up his new centerpin, no sooner than he had left than I was on my
way to FAT's house - time to hit the road. Our party ended up gaining
one individual - Chief would be tagging along on our journey. Along
the way we made a 40 minute detour through downtown Rockford (IL)
and also stopped again at a great Mexican Restaurant (Cancun). I
got to meet FAT's cousins - we had a blast even though Chief decided
to accidentally get us wet (we now call him "Chief Spill-A-Lot").
Finally we found our way (through shear luck, no
maps) to the Adventureland in Altoona. Thankfully the vendor room
was still open - Rich and I wasted no time in getting set up for
the show. If you've seen FAT's booth, you know it's not exactly
a 5 minute job to set up and take down...looking around the room
I thought perhaps we were a bit "overdressed" for this
In traditional FAT fashion, we met Dave from Gray
Drake Hackle Co. - he was still setting up when we arrived. Dave
was in need of a room and was probably having no luck - Rich had
called around and found nothing available in a 15 minute radius
- so what the heck, we can fit four in our suite! It was an early
night for all of us - we'd be waking at 6:00 AM!
Rise and Shine, come 6:00 AM I was jolted from
my cot and prodded to the shower. After a brief nap (maybe 20 minutes
while standing under running water) I finally conceded that I'd
have to be awake for the next 8 hours or so. Fresh waffles that
you make yourself(?!) really turned my morning around - talk about
service (Comfort Inn, gotta say they put out a nice morning spread).
Around 7:30 AM our crew finally meandered over
to the show. Folks were already coming through the doors, even though
the vendor room technically didn't open until 8:00.
The next 2 days are admittedly somewhat of a blur.
After my first full day in the Fat Booth, I slept for another 2
hours after a fantastic (as always) Casey's Pizza. Seriously, IA
means Caseys Pizza (get the pepperoni). You just won't believe that
gas station pizza could be this good, until you've HAD IT.
Sunday, yup, somewhat of a blur there too. Folks
started breaking down early, and miraculously we made it back to
WI without encountering the massive snow that folks had called about.
Heck, I think I got back to LC around 11:00 PM.
Overall, the show was a success in my opinion.
I got to meet Paul Rechterman and his lovely wife Anne. I also ran
into a few other folks I've emailed back and forth with. That alone
pretty much made the show for me. For all vendors, including myself,
sales seemed slow - we joked that this wasn't a fly fishing show
but a Vendor Show. On the flipside, having lulls in the attendee
traffic allowed me a LOT of time to talk with other folks and to
meet a lot of interesting people. In general, the one thing I knew
to expect (and IA did not let me down) is the general NICE attittude
folks have in IA. Maybe it's something in the corn?
So, since there's no real chronoligical order to
my finds, here are my best finds (in no particular order) at the
2005 Hawkeye Fly Show:
That pretty much wraps up this show. All I can
say is hold onto your hats, the show season is pretty much done
and it's time to get back to the fun stuff - FISHIN!