Winter really hasn’t taken a good grip on us yet, which surely means we’re going to pay for all this calm weather next month. In the meantime, it’s time to fill the calendar with events to remind us of all those fishing days on the other side of March.
The Narragansett Surfcasters will hold their annual Used Tackle Sale and Surf Day on February 4. Their shows are full of gear running the gamut from the classic but common old lures to very new lures and tackle still with the shine on them.
Lots of us already have lots of stuff but that’s not the point, is it? Walking the aisles, trying to figure out how we can justify another rod, reel or bag of lures affords real joy on a cold winter’s day.
Rod builder Howard Reed of Narrow River Rods will have a display of his fine craftsmanship. Many fishermen, maybe not enough, know the value and feel of a most perfect rod, how it casts, presents lures, bends, reacts and lasts over time. Howard knows his stuff; his super underestimated style belies his skills. He’s not a guy building rods as a hobby and for a few bucks, he has the history and touch needed to deliver precisely what a customer wants or to guide them toward guides or seats which might be better suited for them.
If the weather allows, Howard will be holding a casting demonstration with ODM surf rods after the show. Bring your favorite reel and plug to see how the rods cast. For those who have never had a rod built, it’s really something special to fish, knowing it’s sized and balanced perfectly just for your hands so this is a chance to get started and talk with him about a new rod. Early birds will get the best deals. The sale runs from 9:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m.in the Narragansett Community Center, 53 Rumford Road in Narragansett and if past years are any indication, the room will be full and busy.
Up in Taunton, The Bear’s Den Fly Fishing Company will host their Nineteenth Annual Fly Fishing Show on February 25 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This is a serious show of almost epic proportions. All the big a names and faces in the business have tables piled with new products, gear, clothing and accessories. The event has become large enough to require busses for transporting all the fishermen. You park and meet at the nearby Holiday Inn and catch a ride in when you’re ready.
The shop itself is beautiful and stocked with everything imaginable except sales pressure. The Bear’s Den is different. Some stores meet you at the door to help you reach for your wallet, this store meets you when you’re ready. I once watched the owner, Scott, talk a prospective customer out of a pair of high end waders because he asked the question, “Where are you going to use these?” Turns out the customer really needed a pair with better articulating knees, considering the river conditions he would be facing. The correct pair cost less and Scott knew what was right.
Bob Popovics will be there. Bob’s a big name in the industry on all the right pro teams, is a member of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and has co-authored the book, “Pep Fleyes”. Some Clever. He will also feature a 30 year video montage/film from his “from the vault”, with title credit to The Grateful Dead, of course.
A yet-to-be determined fly fishing movie will show from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Some unsolicited advice…take in the morning movie then head to the shop. Watching a gorgeous movie about fishing in a room full of fishermen who share the same case of winter jitters is the perfect way to prepare for a walk around a fly fishing show.
A real highlight of the day are the raffles. You purchase a handful of tickets, then place them in buckets in front of different lots of cool stuff, like rods, reels, sling packs, sunglasses and flies. Tickets are drawn a few days later so you need to pay attention to their website to see if you won anything or in my case, if any of the money you gave to your young son for tickets won him a 5 weight fly rod. That’s parenting. The day runs from 11a.m. to 6 p.m., both kinds of food, Mexican and American, will be available and you can punch in 34 Robert Boyden Rd, Taunton, MA 02780 for the shop’s address but make sure you park at the hotel.
Over on Aquidneck Island, Peter and the crew at The Saltwater Edge will be busy spreading the gospel of fly fishing to the northeast.
From The Fly Fishing Show in NJ on January 27 to the Extravaganza with the Connecticut Surfcasters Association on the 28 and a presentation on “Albies on the Fly: Tackle and Tactics” in NYC on February 9, his team is busy. For the best lesson you can ask for, go to their Introduction to Saltwater Fly Tying with Steve Cook on Saturday, February 11 from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. Peter will get you where you need to be with a new rod, tackle, fly tying parts and pieces or even with a few minutes in his parking lot showing you the art and pleasure of “tossing a cup of coffee then painting the house”. Seriously, it makes no sense but when he hands you a nine weight, it’ll make perfect sense. And as we wait for the snow you know we’re going to get, thinking about rods, flies and road trips is just what we need to help us keep our own grip.