Mountain Home, Arkansas - March 13-15
SOWBUG ROUNDUP 2008
The Sowbug trip 2008 started a
little less smooth than one would wish for. But what's a trip
without glitches? Certainly not one of mine. Thanks to a blizzard in
Memphis, my connecting flight got cancelled and I had to spend the
night at the airport before I could continue to Springfield, where
my friends were waiting to pick me up. The travel time together with
little sleep triggered a seizure when we got to Flippin, the final
stop. So my first day in Flippin was spent in bed, sleeping that one
with Jim Hatfield, I stayed at Tony Spezio and his lovely wife Dot.
We spent a lot of time with Denny Conrad, Jeff Hines and John
Campbell, who stayed at Wildcat Shoals Resort, just a couple of
minutes away. They are all very nice guys with a whole lot of
humour. Jeff and John were new to me, but sure the kind of friends I
want to meet again.
The fishing part of the trip was
not the perfect part. The water in the White River, which is Tony's
back yard (literally), was very high... 10+ feet above normal. It
was scary just standing on the dock looking down at the speed of the
water under you. Together with fishing guide
Mike Clark we did try out Spring Creek. It was also affected by the
rain and the water was very discolored. I did catch a 4"
Shiner, but that was it. Though I guess it can count as a kind of
success. It was my first Shiner... and the ones who actually know
the water didn't catch anything. But the weather was nice, we were
together and fishing isn't really about sizes... it's about numbers.
Tying at the Sowbug Roundup is
FUN. First time I was invited I was very honored, but quite new to
public tying. Sitting with tiers like those around me made me really nervous and I could
relax enough to fully enjoy it. This time though, I had enough public
behind me to have realized that the visitors are there to watch
you tie and not to judge how well you do it. So instead of
studdering when chatting to the people, I could now even look them in
the eyes and smile when I talked to them. The visiting people don't
I had my tying schedule planned like last time. The first 4 hour session
was set aside to do some "vendor raiding" and buy a couple of Dennis
Conrand's JV Hen skins before he was out. I also wanted to walk around and watch the
other tiers. There are some really skilled ones attending the show, so
I didn't want to pass on the opportunity to actually see them
tying in real life. A few of the well known names this time were
Hans Weilenmann, Richard Ross and Jay "Fishy" Fullum. Walking around and watch the work of 100+
top notch tiers is an inspiration kick and you WILL see a lot of new things that you
"just have to try" when you get back home.
The afternoon session and the following two
days were spent behind my own vise, tying myself. A lot of people
were watching and it was clear that the parallel weave isn't the
most used technique on the planet. I tied woven antron
for two and a half days and had someone in the opposite chair almost
constantly. I just hope my demonstrating and explaining was
sufficient to make a few of them manage the weave at their own
One of my top moments of the show was when Tony came up and told me that
Fishy Fullum wanted one of my woven damsel nymphs and that I should
set one aside for him. That took my breath away. The signed hopper I
got in return is going to be treasured.
Together with Richard Ross
and Hans Weilenmann I headed for Springfield airport the following
Monday. In the car came the other top moment of the trip, when Hans
invited (or, in his words "recruited") me to tie at the Dutch
FlyFair 2008. Needless to say, an invitation like that was not to be
ignored. But that one will be another story. :o)
Summary of the trip: I met a lot of
old friends, I made a lot of new friends, I drank a lot of Root
Beer... and yeah, I tied some flies too.
Look at a few photos from the show...
Look at a few "off duty" photos...