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2-17-05 - Sunset over a still-frozen Lake Como.

Just more sunset pics...

Just more sunset pics...

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 occasion.

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:


Rich Brown of Fatman's Fishing Guides mans our shared booth!

As promised, I was there with my custom rods.

I was surprised, although I shouldn't have been, to meet other custom rod builders at the show. Clyde Alho of The Rod Shop made the trip all the way from North Aurora, IL. If you're a builder, Clyde's new wrapping setup is definitely worth checking out!

Our Roommate for our two days in IA, David Roberts of Gray Drake Hackle Co, poses with a fine dyed saddle.

David happens to be the guy who mounts the Whiting Farm's Chickens!

What a STUNNING bird!

Ready with a friendly smile and whitty tales, John Breslin of Breslin's Donegal Holidays was on hand (and across the aisle from us) to invite attendees to take a dream trip to the Breslin B&B in Ireland.

The target of a Breslin excursion is wild Atlantic Salmon. John brought with a fine sampling of the flies used to target these majestic fish.

More of the salmon flies you'd be throwing in Ireland!

A real gem, Steve Pennington (and his wife, my regrets for not remembering her name), a custom bamboo rod builder (Pine River, Pennington Rods). Steve retired in the last couple months and is now dedicating himself to full time bamboo rod building. I'm not even going to begin to tell you of the deal he gave me for some of his older, gently used bamboo rods.

The guys from (Larry and Steve) were a blast to chat with. They definitely live up to their slogan of "Unique Fly Fishing Items".

Rich Brown and Bill Sherer discuss one of Bill's neatest flies - a fly rod buzzbait designed for Musky fishing.

A smattering of Bill's Musky Fly creations.

Bill Sherer of We Tie It has obviously had a good time at the vice over this weekend.

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!


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