Fly fishing fair opens in Alameda

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The biggest fly fishing extravaganza on the West Coast begins today, Friday, February 21, at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. The Fly Fishing Show runs through Sunday and is worth the hour and 15 minute drive from Sonoma.

My favorite thing to do there is walk around the main lodge and chat with the people representing their fishing lodges. This is the opportunity to meet people from as far away as Chile, Argentina, Labrador, sometimes even Europe. Some run lodges so far away that the only way to get in is by taking a small bush plane.

Most of them will have streaming videos of their whereabouts and fishing, along with plenty of brochures and other materials. They will offer you to try their lodge, and I promise you will be tempted.

The show offers more than 15 seminars, demonstrations or audio / visual presentations every hour, as well as wall-to-wall exhibitions of the latest fly rods, reels, lines, boots, waders, clothing, boats, works of art and flies during the mid-winter race.

Over $ 50,000 in Fly Fishing Show door prizes are up for grabs, highlighted by a trip worth $ 11,000 to an atoll outside the Seychelles; an $ 11,000 trip for two to El Faro Lodge in Cuba; a $ 8,600 week for two at Blue Horizon Lodge in Belize for bonefish, license and tarpon; a $ 6,160 vacation for two to Pesca Maya in Yucatan, Mexico; a $ 5,300 Atlantic salmon trip to the Restigouche River Lodge, Canada; a $ 5,050 trip for two to Belize River Lodge, Belize; a $ 4,400 Brazilian Amazon Adventure at Vilanova Lodge; and a $ 3,500 trip to the Colombian jungle with Ecuador Fly Fishing Tours for peacock bass and payara. Local and regional door prizes will also be awarded.

There is always at least one new gadget that I don’t already have that I’m tempted to buy. And you can try the latest rods and reels until your arm hurts if you want.

Visitors to the show can attend continuous fly tying demonstrations, hands-on seminars and presentations ranging from Mongolia to Cuba, northern British Columbia to Lees Ferry, Arizona.

Seminars include Fly Fishing for the Delta Bass, Eastern Sierra on the Fly, Introduction to Saltwater Fly Fishing, Flatwater Fly Fishing and Backwater Fly Fishing Western.

Casting demonstrations are scheduled by Gary Borger, Brian O’Keefe, Jeff Currier and Wendy Gunn among others. Featured fly levels include Ed Engle, Dan Blanton, Denny Rickards, Borger, Phil Rowley, and Rob Anderson.

The Northern California premiere of the 2020 Fly Fishing Film Festival is Friday at 6:30 a.m. Tickets are $ 10 in advance or $ 15 at the door.

There are opportunities at the show for Uniformed Scouts to earn credits towards a fly fishing merit badge.

Admission to the Fly Fishing Show is $ 15 for one day, $ 25 for two days, and $ 35 for three days. Children under 5 are free, as are scouts under 16 in uniform. Children under 12 are $ 5. Active military personnel with ID cost $ 10.

For a full list of films, courses, seminars, door prizes, demonstrations and the Scout Fly Fishing Merit Badge program, visit www.flyfishingshow.com or call (814) 443-3638 .

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