WRITING ON THE FLY
By GEORGE LISET
This weekend Coach B packed me and my son Reed into his Subaru and we headed down to the Fly Fishing Show in Marlborough, MA. The air was electric. The feeling was like three kids going to a candy store with no parental supervision, but with adult money. Yeah, it was pretty magical.
Fly fishing shows have something for everyone who fly fishes, and some cool stuff for those who don’t. The show offers some great movies of people fly fishing in places that the average person probably would never get to, but a person can dream. The show also had vendors of fly rods and reels, outfitters who offered guide services anywhere in the world and lodging to go along with it. There were master fly tyers demonstrating how to tie their special flies with lots of technical advice, with others selling the supplies to go along with tying flies.
When we arrived there I had to use the men’s room. I was so excited. Well, that and the big cup of coffee I had on the way down. But I was excited. My first stop was at the Maine Fly Company booth. The company makes some beautiful small batch fly rods topped off with a Ross reel. They featured a limited edition three weight rod that would be fun to use to fish for small stream Brookies. I almost broke out the wallet for that one, but I really wanted to wait until I visited their shop in Falmouth, Maine. I think all three of us were willing to go to the wallet for that one.
We next visited the J.H. Becker Rodworks booth. Jim Becker is out of Pawlet, Vt., and offers custom bamboo rods and repair and restoration. I mentioned to Jim that I had a couple of nice Orvis bamboo rods, but was almost afraid to use them because they seem so delicate. Jim who worked for the Orvis Fly rod company for 18 years laughed, and said that is a common misconception. Jim told me about a time when he fell down a steep bank while fishing. Jim said that he thought he had broken his arm. The bamboo rod in his hand made it down with hardly a scratch. Jim said a graphite rod would have shattered.
Then I tried to subtly ask him where he fished on the Battenkill River. Jim started to tell me, caught himself with a smile, then he said, “I’ll only tell you that it’s below town.”
My next stop was to see my friends at the Lopstick Lodge in Pittsburg, NH. Reed and I have been going there for years. Lopstick offers an array of services and is a certified Orvis dealer, which was a good thing when Reed blew out his wading boots one year in the river. We started staying at the lodge after we got drenched while camping at Lake Francis State Park. Although I enjoy the romantic idea of rustic camping, and still would camp, my back prefers the comforts of a lodge with a hot tub.
Coach B then ran into our mutual friends from Dover. Kevin McEneaney and Doc Middleton who along with other friends own the Lakewood Camps up on the Rapid River in Maine. The Rapid River was made famous by the book “We Took to the Woods” by author Louise Dickinson Rich. Coach B decided we needed to take a trip up. I told Coach I might have to buy another rod for that trip.
A trip to the fly fishing show would not be complete without a visit to see our friend and master fly tyer Scott Biron. We made plans to fish a small trout pond in the Wakefield, N.H., area. Scott gave us some advice on what flies to get and in what colors. Reed said his go-to buddy, Mikey, could hook us up with some flies. After we made another walk around we left with our wallets a little lighter, and soon to be much lighter.
A trip to the show would not be complete without a visit to Chick-fiL-A. I even brought a couple home for the bride. I’m thinking I’m good for Valentines.
George Liset of Dover is an award-winning outdoor writer and avid fly fisherman who shares insights of his time on the water exploring New Hampshire streams and rivers as well of those around New England. George is a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, and the University of New Hampshire. His column Writing on the Fly has been honored by the New England Press Association and the New Hampshire Press Association.