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Can Fly Shop Owners Find Fulfillment in Denver?

By Joseph Cornwall

When you step into your local bait and tackle shop, fly shop or sporting goods outlet itís hard to imagine how unbelievably big the angling industry really is. . A bit of research uncovers the fact that there are some 80 million Americans who will take to the water this year. Naturally, fly fishing is a small percentage of this enormous total. And rabid, die-hard, fish-every-chance-you-get-weather-be-damned fly rod lunatics are a smaller percentage still. Still, with the decimal point several places to the left, it seems almost incomprehensible that enough fly fishing professionals, writers, media and merchants exists to fill a convention center. But fill one they did. From August 24th through August 26th, 2006 the most fanatical of the truly obsessed converged on Denver, Colorado for the annual Fly Fishing Retailer World Trade Show. 228 exhibitors covered several acres of floor space, demonstrating the newest, shiniest and hottest products in the industry. For the first time ever I was one of that crowd. In a stroke of pure genius Iíd managed to put on my best salesmanís cap and convince my wife that attending the FFR Trade Show would be a great vacation idea!

Look for more great products and photos in Part Two!


The Mile High City

The haze of a 93 degree summer day lay over the valley like a blanket as we made our way to the show.

I'll meet you at the big blue bear

This whimisical statue stands guard on the 14th Street entrance to the Colorado Convention Center, site of the 2006 Fly Fishing Retailer trade show.

Great Storage Ideas from New Phase

Modular Carousel Craft Organizer holds Twelve Shuttle Cups(included). $9.99 MSRP - Quad Stow-N-Go. $34.99 MSRP - Crystal Shuttle-Cup $3.99 MSRP for a package of six. Available on-line or at craft shops and fly tying supply houses. www.tidycrafts.com

The biggest toy in the store!

My wife Dee stands next to the Baja-tested ExOfficio off-road truck. This is the ultimate "get you anywhere" fly fishing tool!

REC had beautiful new hardware for the custom builder

These grips are for spey rods. It's a jewelery level of quality

Micke Landstrom was tying in the Lagartun exhibit

Micke Landstrom was tying beautiful tube flies in the Lagartun booth using the new Micro-Flatbraid. Lagartun Ltd. also showed a line of tube-fly hooks in single, double and treble configurations.

Landstrom's Tube Flies

Flowing, delicate and perfectly proportioned. Micke ties primarily for sea trout and salmon but admits he occassionally tosses a fly at a pike.

Outcast's packable pontoon

Eighteen pounds with built-in shoulder straps and lot's of useful features. A great idea for those remote AEP ponds!

Water Skeeter - The Bass Guide Pontoon Boat

One of the River Guide series, this is one packed piece of gear. Featuring a leaning bar for stability while standing, the displayed boat included ample stowage, electric motor mounts, anchor boom and pulley system, drink holders, a battery compartment and more. This might be the perfect pontoon boat for the warm water fly fisher and is ideal for Midwestern ponds and rivers.

Cascade Crest Tools

So many new materials, so little time. I didn't bring a big enough bag!

The new SlipStrike by Cascade Crest is an "instant release" indicator - crappie fishers take note!

Cascade Crest Tools has been producing fly tying tools and materials since 1978. Theyíve we've supplied, and continue to supply, some of the biggest names in fly fishing. Chances are you're already fishing and tying with their products without knowing it.

New Whiting Hackle

Thick and full with pleny of hackle in the smallest sizes, the newest generation of genetic dry fly hackle was shown in the Umpqua Feather Merchants booth.

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