I would guess that it has to be either the largest or at least one of the largest fishing tackle trade shows in the world - ICAST, and on Sunday I am heading over to the US to attend it with some of the people from the French company Fiiish (ever heard of the Black Minnow?!!). I love going to the States, although having travelled through the tourist trap that Orlando is, I can't pretend that it's a place I would choose to go to again - what I am seriously looking forward to though is attending ICAST. The Fiiish guys want to have a look at the fishing tackle market over there, and they asked me if I would come along with them to help out with some of the English translation and communication stuff. As you know, working in fishing is all about money, and as such we are heading to Orlando on a big private jet decked out in the Fiiish colours. The lads are heading over from Brest to pick me up at Plymouth and then we will head across the Atlantic as our every need is attended to by a posse of beautiful air hostesses - snails, frogs' legs, fine wines, pain au chocolat, you name it, we're having it. On the long flight to Orlando we will talk about nothing else other than how the Black Minnow really isn't something truly special, how it really should not be so soft because it's one giant conspiracy theory and none of the Fiiish guys actually know anything about smashing heaps of big bass on their products. Oh, and check out the fascinating review of the Black Minnow on the continuously excellent bass fishing blog that is The Labrax Squad - look here.
Then again, perhaps not with regards to my travel plans. On Saturday evening I head up to my folks' house for the night, to be at Heathrow Terminal 4 for 5am on Saturday morning. Hop on a flight over to Paris, spend a few hours in the airport there, join up with the Fiiish people for a flight to Atlanta, do the US customs thing, and then connect on to Orlando on another flight. Cattle class all the way of course, indeed is there any other way to fly if you do this sort of stuff? I stand by my claim that the Kindle is one of the best inventions of the last decade. Flying is what it is, but reading good books makes it bearable, and I have just started Stephen King's latest, Mr. Mercedes.
Check out the list of exhibitors at ICAST here - wow!! Being a little bit of a fishing tackle tart, I can't wait to see this huge fishing tackle trade show. I love how the whole fishing thing is done in the US, and I really admire how they celebrate success and innovation. I would imagine that a big part of the show will revolve around the massive US freshwater bass fishing market, and considering that a lot of the soft plastic lures and techniques we are increasingly adopting for our saltwater bass fishing come via this world, how could I not want to immerse myself in it for a few days? It should be fascinating to see how the Fiiish products go down at a US trade show and I am there to help out as best I can. Henry the Brit going to the US with a bunch of French people - should be a blast. I love France, I love the French and their wonderful attitude to life, and I have a lot of the time for the Fiiish people. Whatever happens over there it's going to be one hell of an interesting few days, and I will do what I can to report on the ICAST show here on this blog.
If you get a minute, please check out this website here for the 9th Annual Drake Magazine Flyfishing Video Awards - my friend and ridiculously talented professional fly fishing guide/short film maker Jako Lukas from the South African outfitter FlyCastaway has won this thing before, and he needs votes for this year. Check out the trailer to Jako's new short fly fishing film called 320 above - and if this doesn't get your pulse racing and your heart aching for how awesome fishing can be then I would suggest you take up the life wasting activity that is computer games. Please take a minute and cast your vote for Jako Lucas and his Capt Jack films here. Thank you.
And finally, this DFR lure rod competition and the winning photograph - check it out above. Thanks for the entries and there were a few stand out photos there people. Well done. The winner Adrian Rogers did email me to say that he was perfectly happy with not being allowed to enter because he is a friend of Richard Cake of Dorset Fishing Rods and they fish together a fair bit, but I have to say that I have zero issues with this - a photo is a photo at the end of the day, and this competition was all about me wanting to see a standout photograph of bass fishing. And this photo does it for me. Why? Because it puts me right in the middle of that awesome looking ground and makes me want to be there. It inspires me hugely and I can't ask for any more than that. Well done Adrian, enjoy the rod and well done for taking such an evocative photograph of bass fishing. Below are a few more of your photographs that came very close. Well done all and have a good weekend. Next contact from me is via the USA.