Hi, my name is Matt and I like trade shows.

True — I have not ridden an entire seasonal circuit (or two or ten) in a booth as an exhibitor. I haven’t been tethered by the short leash in-between Thursday set-up and Sunday tear-down. Haven’t had weekend after weekend of the always-entertaining-but-never-a-good-idea Friday and/or Saturday night carousing (well, since college and the service anyhow). I haven’t clocked hundreds of hours humping boxes of display hardware and gear, or logged countless winter windshield or business-class airline miles away from the family criss-crossing the country. I’m a rookie. I’m not yet jaded.

But I have roamed 4 of them under the guise of being The Media: IFTD in NOLA, Somerset, Denver and Somerset again just this past weekend. According to some – that’s three too many already. However, I made the latest trip to Jersey under significantly different circumstances. I was still a blog writer, yes – and had a whole lot of fellow writers, photographers, artists, anglers and humorists on my agenda to meet (as I’ve done at the other shows), as well as manufacturers, fly shop owners, fly tiers and other industry folks. I was also representing our film project – A Deliberate Life – that’s touring with IF4 and this particular trade show. And lastly, I was there as a member of the Thomas & Thomas fly fishing cohort, being the guy that runs their digital and social marketing initiatives among other things — the first time my association with them had been made public outside of personal conversations with friends.

To me the shows stand for more than just a necessary evil — they represent the community that our industry is starting to become (or return to, as may be the case). They represent the best and brightest and the young and hungry – which are, in many cases, one in the same. Independent spirit, entrepreneurial thinking and working that much harder (and smarter) to reach goals. They represent the time, energy and creativity that we’re putting into the future of our sport — brands, large and small, being active and engaged with communities, consumers and each other on far more personal levels, which I can only see extending to an increased willingness to lead by example, a push toward more sustainable business practices, and stronger, proactive efforts with regard to environmental stewardship.

I know there’ll be a time when it’ll fall to me to hold down the booth. When I’ll be the one responsible for humping boxes and logging all those miles. When I’m no longer a rookie. I know it. But that doesn’t much bother me. I’ll always be down for handshakes and beers with old friends and new acquaintances and talking about who-caught-what and where, if not actually getting out together and catching who-knows-what-wherever. I’ll always be down for the time and energy it takes to make a difference. Because, shit — this is the path I chose to follow. And when it comes right down to it, these are the good people I want to run that path with.

No, I’m not yet jaded.

Thankfully, that doesn’t mean I’m going to wind up that way either.

The usual suspects - photo by Rob Yaskovic

Scott and Chris putting Vedavoo on the map

Pat Cohen's deer hair stump

The full line-up of new T&T sticks

I wish they got that big in the Adirondacks

The Whitlock's beautiful set-up

Sporting books. My kind of library.


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12 responses to “FUGGEDDABOUDIT

  1. ‘I’ll always be down for the time and energy it takes to make a difference. Because, shit — this is the path I chose to follow. And when it comes right down to it, these are the good people I want to run that path with.’

    Sounds like the path you are MOVED to run on. Living and sharing what you are passionate about , raising the collective JOY on this planet, breaking bread (drinking beer) with kindred soul friends ~ making enthusiastic connection all along the way, wholeheartedly.

    What could be better?

    • fishingpoet

      Thank you, Maddie, for the kind words – and your readership. You’re spot on with being moved to it. Heading out on my own almost two years ago now (!) took exactly that motivation.
      Be well!

  2. I, too, am a trade show junkie. The only real show I’ve not been able to attend in years past has been IFTD, something that will change now that it has merged with ICAST this year.

    • fishingpoet

      Yea, man! I know there’s a lot of folks on the fly side that are hopeful about that move. I think it’ll take off. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Well done young Jedi! As one of those who has “clocked hundreds of hours humping boxes of display hardware and gear” as well as being a willing participant in the “the always-entertaining-but-never-a-good-idea Friday and/or Saturday night carousing” some of it quite legendary I might add, your post is spot on! More importantly I love how you have captured the sense of the new community of fly fishing. Your are an excellent chronicler of the new face of fly fishing and for that you have my sincere thanks!

    • fishingpoet

      As one of the guys who introduced me to fly fishing in the first place, your comment means a ton to me. So, thank you – on both accounts.
      Be well!

  4. dp

    i was working the show so i didn’t get to cruise and mingle much, next year i’ll make it a point to say be hello and shake hands. maybe have a beer or two as well.

  5. dp

    i was in the tco booth. who knows what next year will bring but i’ll be at the show one way or another. i’m a big fan of your writing. don’t stop doin what you do.

    • fishingpoet

      I must’ve walked by that booth about a half-dozen times.
      Thanks for the good word, boss. I’m enjoying the hell out of what you’re creating over at your site as well.

  6. Having managed and set up trade shows for many moons in another industry, it gets old really quick. The only thing that keeps you going back are the people and building lifetime relationships.

    Great photos of both the new and old faces in the fly fishing industry. I was able to connect with many during the Marlborough show this year.

    You’ve chosen a good path, Matt. Hope we can cross our paths in the future.

    • fishingpoet

      Thanks, Dean. I very much appreciate the shout – and your perspective. I look forward to connecting at some point soon as well!

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