Something’s Fishy at the Fly Fishing Show

9 comments / Posted on / by


Photo by Rand Harcz

By Dave Grossman

Spring marks the unofficial end of fly fishing show season, and I for one am tired and smelly…but mostly tired.

If fly fishing shows are a microcosm of our little society, things have gotten a little worrisome. There’s been some concerning behavior on both sides of the table. And like addiction, the first step is admitting you have a problem. I’ve been attending fly fishing shows as both a paying attendee and vendor since I was knee-high to a convention center urinal, so I feel like I just might be the guy to lead us down the path of righteousness and to a much better fly fishing show experience the next time around. Consider me the moderator in this intervention.

Show Attendees

Don’t wander. If a vendor has his table set up at the front of the booth, they obviously would rather you not squeeze yourself by and wander around back there. Think of the vendor table as the bars at the zoo — they are there for your protection as well as the vendors’.

Save your swap meet bargaining skills for the parking lot. Not everything is negotiable. If you are in the vendor area of the show, most likely nothing is negotiable. Vendors at these shows often give price breaks for the show, but they still have cost in their inventory. They weren’t given those rods on the display, they bought them. In order to feed their families, they have to sell it for more than which they bought it. Simple economics.

Artists are sensitive. The above rule especially applies to artists or anyone who made something with their own hands. When they tell you a painting costs five, they obviously mean $500. It’s insulting when you pull a five dollar bill out of your wallet and then act flabbergasted that a painting could cost more than a fiver. (Actually happened, people.)

Leave your picture in your pocket. We all fish, we all at some time catch a fish, we all have a picture of that fish on our phone. Nobody wants to see that picture … nobody. Now if you have a picture of a French donkey dealing baccarat wearing a tuxedo, now that’s something I’d like to see.

Stickers aren’t always free. Ask first, grab second. This is the middle school child in all of us. We see stickers and our little animal brains go bonkers. We don’t care if we like the company on the sticker, or even if we like the people behind the sticker, we just want. Sometimes vendors put out stickers as freebies. In this case, grab one or two. Grabbing 25 makes you look like a greedy asshole. Nobody liked that kid at Halloween and the same still holds true. On the other side of the coin, some vendors sell the stickers on their table. To make money. So when you walk by and grab 10, that’s stealing–an even bigger asshole move. Stealing from the poor is not cool, man, and I guarantee if a dude is selling stickers as living, it’s not a good one.


Being pushy in the South is often counter-productive. This is mostly for those folks coming here from let’s say more Northern reaches. Your car salesman schtick, while entertaining, is a little too much for our Southern sensibilities, and quite frankly weirds us out a little. No need to tackle patrons in the aisle and start in on a presentation. Just talking works.

Ignoring the patrons to catch up with your buddy is just poor business…and a little rude. If someone is standing at your booth, engage them. That’s why you’re there. I feel stupid even writing this, it’s so simple.

Don’t start your drinking too early. This is more of a do as I say, not as I do type of thing. While I fully embrace the alcohol component of the new world fly fishing show, it is a little gauche to be hammering them down when the doors open on Sunday. Noon is a minimum here, lest we go all Lord of the Flies.

Save the drama for ya mama. While the drama of whatever fishery you hail from may be the perpetual topic of conversation amongst you and your buddies at the bar, none of the paying show attendees give a rat’s patootie. Talk about what you do, not what other people might or might not be doing.

We’re all full up on gutters, garage doors, and window replacements over here. If you find yourself at a fly fishing show hocking gutters, windows, bath tubs or any other such thing, leave. You are the butt of all our jokes. You stick out like a sore thumb and we in the fly fishing world are not the weak-minded prey you seek. I heard there was a golf show just down the street. Peddle your wares there.

Well at least we all now have a plan. So when I see you folks next winter under the bright fluorescent lights in a random convention center near the Applebees, I expect all of you to be on your best behavior.

David Grossman
Gink & Gasoline
Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

Follow Gink & Gasoline on Facebook:

9 thoughts on “Something’s Fishy at the Fly Fishing Show

  1. Good one, Dave. Despite my almost seven decades, I become a kid in a candy store at Fly Fishing Shows. When I was traveling around the country for work, I used to stop at fly fishing stores wherever I went. It was the concrete jungle/real world substitute for exploring a cave or walking onto a new stream. But for me hitting a weekend fly fishing show or shallow water exposition or Frank Sargeant Outdoor Expo was almost mind-blowing in its beauty. Walking in the expo hall or convention center is such a great feeling. Thank you for trying to eliminate some of the annoyances. But I expect the folks who you are targeting here are either tone deaf or not on the same wave length to be reading G &G every day.

  2. I would agree with everything except for the sticker deal. Yes, don’t be greedy take 1 or 2 but it is fully the vendors responsibility to mark them for sale or keep them out of arms reach. It’s a sticker and they should be free if laying loosely on the table. You just want people to ask about price to give the vendor an opportunity to sell something else, fuck that give me a sticker if I want a trip I will ask.

  3. People watching can be great fun on the show circuit.
    I’d love to see a compilation of rod-wiggling from the Sage or TFO booths with captions of comments like “this feels nice” or “ooh, sensitive.”
    Great article!

  4. Love this blog, and Louis and Kent deserve an award for their effort. Can’t say it enough. If I ever meet them on the river, I’m going to shake their hand and give them a cold beer. But the “how to behave” posts are just so insulting. Don’t offer 5 bucks for a $500 painting? Thanks for the tip! And “leave the picture in your pocket”? Come on man – talk about a stick in the mud. It seems like that comes with the territory, doesn’t it? Personally, I’ll never get tired of looking at fish porn. Sorry for the rant, I just have a general antipathy toward “industry insiders” lecturing us poor little amateurs.

  5. Looks like there’s gonna be a line in front of their booth of guys with fish porn on their phones at every show next winter ! Nice work boys. We reap what we sow. Keep up the great G and G content. And get ready for some serious fish porn!

  6. “We see stickers and our little animal brains go bonkers. We don’t care if we like the company on the sticker, or even if we like the people behind the sticker, we just want.”

    NO we don’t.

    I’m not the slightest bit interested in turning my belongings and/or vehicle into a free traveling billboard for your damn business. The same goes for clothing by the way. I will pass up anything emblazoned with logos for clothing that is logo-less every day of the week.

    People who walk around in clothing covered with company names and logos are mentally defective losers. When I see these clowns doing so, I get an difficult resist urge to load up a paint ball gun and properly hose them down because stupidity should be harshly punished.

    If you want me to do advertising for your company, write me a check for doing it.

  7. Fly fishing shows sound horrible. Just go fishing instead and avoid the crowds. NAAAATUREE!!!! Goooouuuulllleeettttt!!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...