Shirley and I arrived home about 9:30 last night from Troutfest. If, from where you live, you can get to Townsend TN in anything less than a week's drive...put it on your calendar now for next year. They call Townsend “The Peaceful Side of the Smokies” and indeed it is. Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the other entry points to the National Park are fine if you want to shop, ride go-carts and fight traffic. But if you want the mountain scenery and laid back attitude of the real southern Appalachians this is the place to be. And when you throw in a professionally run event for fly-fishers, it can’t be beat. The folks from the Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited put on a great weekend.
This year I have had the great pleasure of meeting the legends of fly fishing. I got to spend some quality time with Dave Whitlock while attending the Fly-Fishing Show in Atlanta. Bob Clouser’s booth was next to mine at the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival, and Joe Humphreys and his wife Gloria spent the good part of a memorable afternoon in our booth at the Project Healing Waters 2Fly event at Rose River Farm. These are all quality guys! Friendly, unassuming and willing to impart their wisdom and experiences to comparative novices like myself. The last “celebrity” on this year’s “hit-list” was Lefty Kreh, who I hoped to meet at Troutfest. I would have been sorely disappointed if Lefty was not of the same caliber. Well, Lefty did not disappoint. Another great guy, which only proves what we already knew: There aren’t a better group of people in the world than fly fishers – especially those at top!
And speaking of great people, situated next to our display at Troutfest was Dan Sharley and his wife Betsy. If you haven’t seen Dan’s incredible fish art until now (see the image to the left and the new link to the right) you will be seeing a lot of it in the future. Bold colors...great design... absolutely beautiful artwork...and a fantastic guy to boot. We really enjoyed sharing the big tent with Dan and Betsy.
And last - but certainly not least - thanks to all of you that stopped by our booth! The best thing about these shows (in addition to selling some art) is the chance to see some new faces and get to know some new friends. We look forward to seeing all of you at next years show...if not sooner.