Marlborough Show Happy Recap

Whew! Three days of intensive fly fishing meet-and-greet, instruction, tying, speaking (plus a little buying) and I’m wiped out. But it’s a good kind of spent, like after a monster Block Island All-Nighter. I’ll try to tell the story of my busy weekend through these photos. Don’t forget, the Edison Show is this weekend! It goes without saying that I’m stoked for that, too.

Friday morning I ate my power fishing breakfast, then loaded up the truck and headed for the show. This was my first gig of the weekend, and it was very well-attended. No time to loll about, as I was the featured fly tier on the main show floor at 1pm. And then a seminar at 4:30, Beyond Cast & Strip: Presentation Flies for Striped Bass. I was appreciative of the good number of people who hung around so late on a Friday to hear the talk, and I think we all had a lot of fun.
This is friend Ed Engle being Featured Fly Tier. Ed is a wonderful tier and his books are swell, too — you can find several of them on my shelves, and I reference them often. Ed was demoing small nymphs. Mine was Presentation Flies For Striped Bass. It was my third time being FFT, and it was the largest crowd I’ve tied for yet. I’d like to give a shout out to all my audiences for being so engaging and asking plenty of excellent questions. I also attended talks by Ed, John Shaner, Jason Randall, and Landon Mayer. If you’re not going to demos and seminars and other talks, you’re really missing out on some wonderful opportunities to learn from some of the industry’s best.
You should be spending a good amount of time walking the floor and chatting with fly tiers like Lisa Weiner. It’s a great opportunity to learn a new technique, get exposed to fly patterns you might not know about, and just meet some genuinely nice, talented people (like Lisa).
No rest for the weary. Here’s a Magic Fly’s (Pale Watery Wingless Variant) -eye view of my Saturday class, Tying and Fishing Wet Flies. Later in the day, I did a Destination Theater talk, Modern Wet Fly Strategies, that drew a near-standing room crowd. If you were there, thanks for coming! I did a second class, Presentation Flies for Striped Bass, on Sunday morning, and finished up with the debut of a new smallmouth presentation, Hot Bronze.
And of course, the Fly Fishing Show means vendors. Here’s friend Joe Cordeiro’s Flat-Wing booth. I scored a nice grey saddle from Joe, and a few more high quality bucktails from Brad Buzzi. Everyone I spoke to seemed to agree that this show had a really good energy. After two challenging years, welcome back, Marlborough!

Landon Mayer at FRAA this Wednesday, Jan 22, 7pm.

I’ll be giving you the story on the Marlborough Fly Fishing Show soon, but right now let’s talk about Landon Mayer, author of The Hunt for Giant Trout (book review here.)

From the UpCountry website: “Landon Mayer, maybe the top sight fishing trophy trout guide in the country, is doing a FREE presentation on catching trophy trout. It’s open to the public and will take place at the upcoming FRAA 7pm meeting this month on Wednesday, Jan 22nd at the Farmington Senior Center in Unionville (321 New Britain Ave, Unionville, CT 06085). His latest/4th book is “The Hunt for Giant Trout”, and there will be copies of it for sale at the meeting and you can get them autographed. All are welcome to attend, and what you will learn is 100% relevant to the Farmington River as Landon spends most of his time fishing pressured tailwater fisheries in Colorado targetting above average trout. He has also ventured out East to fish Great Lakes tributaries for giant fall Lake Run Browns & Steelhead, and he has fished central PA for trout too.  There will be plenty of opportunity for Q&A with Landon at this event.”

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Book Review: “The Hunt for Giant Trout” by Landon Mayer

Well now — who doesn’t want to catch a giant trout? My first encounter with such a creature came in the early 1970s on CT’s Salmon River: twenty-three and one-half inches of malevolent brown beast. Its perfectly formed paddle fins and striking colors indicated that this was a holdover of at least several seasons. I just happened to be the kid who stuck it.

Yes, I’m addicted. Not quite as big as that Salmon River fish, but within trophy range. Farmington River, September 2018.

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Catching a giant trout changes you, and once you decide to pursue them you realize that big fish really are different — one of the many instructive points author Landon Mayer makes in his new book, The Hunt For Giant Trout — 25 Best Places in the United States to Catch a Trophy.

The Hunt For Giant Trout is divided into two sections: Strategies & Techniques, and The Fisheries. Strategies & Techniques is loaded with information on giant trout behavior and how-to (from reading water to fighting tactics). As a seasoned angler, I often judge fly fishing books from the perspective of: tell me stuff I don’t already know. There’s plenty of that in the first section, and I’m always delighted to discover how much I still have to learn.

The Fisheries takes you on a tour of 25 locations where you can fulfill your quest. I like that Mayer involves locals (some big names in there!) in each writeup; who knows the water better than someone who fishes it a hundred days a year? Included are favorite patterns and recipes, from bulky articulated streamers to midge nymphs. (As a fly tying nerd I’m always curious about what other people are tying and throwing.)

Mayer’s style is conversational and easy to read. Everyone learns differently, and there’s a ton of visual reference, from photos to diagrams. Even if there weren’t pictures of Landon holding giant trout, you’d still come away with the notion that this guy knows what he’s talking about. Minor quibbles? Only three of the twenty-five fisheries are within driving distance of New England; the list skews heavily western U.S. Still, there’s more than enough quality information here for me heartily recommend The Hunt For Giant Trout. Now I’ve got to go back and read it again. Summer’s coming, and that two-footer is lurking under a logjam, waiting for the opportunity to strike.

One of the coolest parts of doing presentations at places like the Fly Fishing Show is that you get to meet people who have caught way more big trout than you. Like Landon. He’s also one of the nice guys in our sport. So get this book and read it. The Hunt for Giant Trout by Landon Mayer, Stackpole Books, ISBN 978-0-8117-3719-7.

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