A Visit to The Fly Fishing Show
Celebrating a Subculture
I enjoyed my visit to the Fly Fishing Show, in Edison, NJ. This annual expo will continue touring around the US, like a latter day Lollapalooza. Get ready Atlanta. Here’s looking at you, Denver. Pleasanton, CA, gird yourselves! I try to attend every year, driving out from New York with my friend Markley. We hit the Fly Fishing Show in the morning, then have lunch at an Indian restaurant in Edison (the city with the highest concentration of Indian residents on the East Coast, as it happens). It’s quite a day.
The show is wonderful, borderline absurd and, naturally, I love it. There’s something inherently funny about an expo. You could enjoy this even if you were an angling agnostic. I think of the amazing surveillance fair Gene Hackman attends in The Conversation. There’s an atmosphere of slightly unhinged obsession that goes hand in hand with any subculture. You realize these people care too much. Then you realize one of those people might be you.
The Fly Fishing Show puts things in perspective. You think you love a sport, well these people are downright over their heads in love with fishing. There are exhibitors from fishing lodges, conservation organizations, shop owners selling rods, reels, flies, antiques, books and, for some reason, hot sauce. For many of these people fishing is no mere hobby, fishing is their livelihood, and apparently hot sauce is too.