2022 International Fly Tying Symposium Redux: Too much fun

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending my first International Fly Tying Symposium. I’d always wanted to go, but my annual steelheading trip with Cam got in the way — until this year, when they moved the Symposium to a different weekend. So off to Somerset I went, vise and scissors and other implements of destruction in tow.

Getting there wasn’t without its challenges. That Friday night, we had a major rainstorm in the tri-state area. At one point my nav app said a four hour drive. Not fancying the idea of slogging through Manhattan at rush hour, I delayed. I didn’t get to my hotel room until shortly before midnight.

I’d been invited as a celebrity tier and presenter, so no pressure…no, really, it was all good, and it was wonderful to be wanted. I found my tying space first thing Saturday morning, sharing the table with Chester Rosocha. I’d never met Chester before, but I won the table-mate lottery as he was as nice and matey and friendly a soul as you could hope for. Tim Flagler and and Tim Cammisa were the next table down, but you can’t win them all…of course I’m joking. Tim and Tim are both swell guys, not to mention exceptional tiers, and we shared plenty of laughs over the course of two days.

Every show, I tell myself, “This time I’m going to take more photos and some videos of me and others in action to share on my website.” Then stuff gets in the way. And it doesn’t get done. But here are a few shots from the weekend.

So much to do and see, so little time! And this is just Saturday. Plus classes, plus the show floor (tiers and marketplace) — it all makes for a busy weekend. This was a new wet fly presentation, which drew an excellent crowd for its debut. In the afternoon, I conducted a wet fly tying class which also went very well. Six very enthusiastic students who made their instructor’s job easy. We covered the basics of soft hackles, wingless, and winged wets.
One of the best parts about big shows like this is the possibility that you’ll run across some new materials you didn’t know you needed. I saw these at Tim Flagler’s table and had to have some. Look closely at the packaging and you can see that someone has a potty mind (albeit in good fun). The USP of Tye Sticks is that they have a monofilament core that extends past the material butt end, making them a breeze to attach to a hook. You can find these online using the company name. (I have no affiliation with the brand.)
I also scored some nice bucktails from Brad Buzzi, and some 30-yard spools of Bill’s Bodi Braid. I’ve had enough of buying those cards with a measly 3 or 4 yards of material, so I stocked up on these three staple colors and left happy.
My Sunday seminar, Beyond Cast & Strip: Presentation Flies for Striped Bass, starting to fill up. This was another great group, and we stayed out past curfew for a long and engaging Q&A session. Another debut presentation. I want to thank everyone who took the time to come hear me speak, attended my class, or just say hello. You made my first IFTS highly enjoyable!
My crowning achievement of the weekend took place Saturday night at the banquet. (Did I mention that if you attended the banquet, you received a gift bag loaded with fly tying materials, tools, hooks, beads…all good quality, highly useful stuff. I’ll try to remember to take a photo of the bounty for a future post.) I sat at the table with the Italian contingent– this was, after all, the International Fly Tying Symposium — who spoke varying degrees of English ranging from a little to virtually none. They had brought along a couple bottles from the old country, and were eager to share. My kind of crowd! Then, a gentleman from the hotel materialized and tried to explain that we could not bring our own booze and open it in the dining room. Seizing the opportunity, I explained the situation, focusing mostly on the fact that this wine came special all the way from Italy, and our colleagues were most eager to share in the spirit of international goodwill, and that if you, Mr. Hotel Man, can figure out how to tell them in Italian — OK, so maybe I exaggerated a wee bit on their total lack of command of the English language — that they can’t have their wine, please do so. Next thing I know, he’s saying never mind, and he’ll be right back with some wine glasses for the table. Salute!

One comment on “2022 International Fly Tying Symposium Redux: Too much fun

  1. […] #6: Tying, Teaching, and Presenting at my First International Fly Tying Symposium. When Chuck Furimsky called me in late August to ask me if I’d be a featured player at the IFT, I was totally stoked. I’d always wanted to do the show, but my annual father-son steelhead trip with Cam got in the way. This year, it was a different weekend, and I immediately said yes. Being a featured presenter/teacher/tyer is a lot of work, but I had way more fun than I could have imagined. As expected, it was a very well-run show, with lots of talented people, and I made many new friends. If you took my class or saw me present or stopped by to say hello, thank you again! Read more. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s