The Fly Fishing Show in NJ and Boot Foot Waders

The Fly Fishing Show in NJ and Boot Foot Waders

Knee Deep Fly Fishing, fly fishing guide, maryland, delaware, sussex county
Knee Deep Fly Fishing … Micah Dammeyer

Don’t panic. If you missed “The Big Show” in Somerset New Jersey, you can catch the same crew up in Lancaster PA March 4th and 5th. I sat it out last year (I had dues to pay at home) but  got to be a part of the zoo again this year. I was there tying a few flies and telling all my best fishing lies.

Aside from visiting with me, and watching me eat cheese while telling bad one-liners, all of our fly fishing heroes were there. Living legends like Lefty Kreh and Bob Clouser were present.  The saltwater crowd will recognize new school fly innovators like Bob Popovics and Enrico Puglisi. There were isles of lodges and outfitters to help plan your next adventure. If you’re in the market for new toys the shows are the best place to go cast every rod out there and spin all the new reels. Even the fly tying companies are there with materials and vises and threads and crazy hackles and synthetics you’ve never seen before. In a nutshell, it’s the best place on earth.

boot-foot waders
Boot-foot waders from Simms

So what did I see? I’m spoiled and I’ve seen a lot of fly gear in my travels. I got to shake a few rods I’ve been eyeing in the catalogs and I finally got a pack of “predator “ hooks from Partridge. The coolest thing I saw in the “new to me” category was the new boot-foot wader from Simms. When I say they were cool, I mean they were like the “first time you saw a Humvee driving on the beach” cool. When you see them you’ll stop and pause for a second and think “Who needs that?”

You need them. I need them. I need my wife to understand that I need them.

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As a surf fisherman boot-foot waders are still where it’s at. You can always spot the new guys by their hip boats (cough…Rich King) or stocking-foot waders with boots full of sand that are better left to the trout stream. The problem is that most companies add boot-foots to their product line as an afterthought; like they slapped rubber boots on their low price range waders. Frankly, there just aren’t many options to choose from. Not these. The uppers are solid (based on the “guide” model waders and should handle all the naps I take waiting for the bait to come through. The boots were made for the waders and not just some rubber boots off the shelf. They have a thick layer of insulation in the feet (good for me because I get to go steelhead fishing a few times a year). I could go on and on but they have a web-site that will do a better job than I will. I’ll add that, yes, you can put studs in them!

fly fishing show, new jersey,
Fly Fishing “The Big Show” in Somerset New Jersey

I caught up with the guys from Rio and I’m excited to get a hold of their new line “the Big Nasty”. I’m told that “If you cast big flies….it’s awesome.” Big flies get me excited.  I’ll get on that waiting list ASAP. I imagine the Delaware “pickerel” cult will be all over that one too. We talked about lines for the surf and about switch lines. I’m excited to get some better casts out of my two handers this summer with less effort and some new line.

So you missed it. It’s OK. Lancaster is coming and worth the drive. The crowds are lighter and there are just as many how-to seminars, casting demos, new products/rods to try out and a whole list of fly tiers showing off their tips and tricks. I recommend checking it out. Be sure to bring your shopping list, and then get ahold of the schedule and plan to sit down for a few talks. If you have drifted away from your fly rod (fly fishing will always take you back) it’s inspiring to see so many like-minded folks sharing their knowledge.

Bob Popovics, fly tying, fly fishing, new jersey fly fishing show
Bob Popovics at work

In the end I got to see all the familiar faces of folks I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with or taught in a fishing/tying class. It’s incredibly humbling to have someone come up to your tying table and say “I have been looking for you!” and proceed to tell you how they spent the summer catching fish on a fly you taught them how to tie or how they’ve gotten their kids out there fishing with them. My uninitiated brother made run with our father for the first time and I’ve received a flood of late-night photos of flies in the vise. That itself has been inspiring.

Micah Dammeyer

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