I can't believe that it's almost been a whole year since the last CLA Game Fair, but yes, it's that time of year again - and it is without doubt one of my favourite weekends of the year. The CLA very kindly keep asking me back to do my fishing demonstrations each year (see here), and Nick Hart and I even tend to get really good audiences who actually sit there and don't rush off the moment I start rabbiting on to them through the PA system !! The whole three days is just a blast, and I can't wait for the 2010 Game Fair this coming weekend at Ragley Hall (check here for details). Very cool as well because it is a new venue for the Game Fair.
Now although it is called the "Game Fair", in fact the name of the event is slightly misleading. The 150,00 plus people who tend to visit this event over the course of the Friday. Saturday and Sunday know all about it, but I am continuously amazed at the number of saltwater anglers especially who I talk to who know nothing about the show. It is a massive event that covers all kinds of outdoor pursuits, and of course fishing is a big part of it. But it is not just about fly fishing. There are masses of tackle companies and shop sites that show and sell all kinds of gear, and to me it's a fantastic chance to actually get to play with some of the gear we read about but might never see. If you have any interest at all in our rural way of life, then you owe it yourself to try and get along to the show. And if you do, please come and find me and say hi - I will be around the Fisherman's Village for most of the three days. It's just a huge amount of fun.
The guys from Bass Lures.co.uk even started to come to the Game Fair a few years ago, and each year they attract more and more people to their buzzy and lively stand. They also have a demonstration tank where you can see all manner of different hard and soft lures being worked, and I also know that they guys working the stand love nothing more than meeting and talking with bass/lure nuts. It was last year on this stand that I first got my hands on lures like the IMA Sasuke and the IMA Komomo SF125, lures that now don't leave my "go to" box. I was never sure how a lure-specific stand would take off at the Game Fair, but it's amazing how the world of fishing is changing all the time. More and more fly guys come up to me at the show to ask about going lure fishing for bass.
Even if you don't travel for your fishing, make time to go and talk with the people on the Aardvark McLeod stand - they have shipped some great people over from various fishing destinations to come and help spread the word about the fishing. I have been lucky enough to have worked with most of them and I can't wait to catch up and learn more about fishing all over the world.
I was reading a really interesting blog post the other day on Jim Hendrick's excellent Wexford based bass fishing/guiding blog, check it out here - this kind of thing really makes you think about the positive impact that anglers can have on local economies when they go fishing. More fish = more anglers = more money into the local economy = good for everybody. There is no getting away from the fact that spending time with a professional local guide is one of the best ways of condensing a huge amount of learning into a short space of time.
I have to admit to missing this one first time around, but all credit to B.A.S.S. for sending out letters to all their members about it - check out all the info on Jim's ProBass Fisher blog right here. Please make sure to read through this and do what is asked. From acorns can grow some pretty big trees if they are given a decent chance. Apathy in fishing is just about the worst thing possible......