EXCITEMENT IS starting to build for this weekend’s FFF Southern Council Fly Fishing Fair, with fly fishers starting to congregate in campgrounds, and cabins across the area.
Some of these ritual annual gatherings of friends have been held over a decade, in some cases more than 2 decades, and its as much as part of the event as the formal proceedings at the Fairgrounds. Sure the name changed from the Conclave to the Fair, and now it’s a Friday, Saturday and Sunday affair, which is a better schedule for those with working commitments.
Friday night’s Welcome Dinner sounds like a fine affair with FREE Burgers and Brats, soft drinks, tea and water will be provided. Beer will be a bottomless cup in a cool IFFFSOC cup that you can buy for $5.00. You keep the cup. There will be a Casting Game for prizes and live music Scott Chism and the Better Half from Hattiesburg Mississippi.
Saturday and Sunday are the major public days, Friday has the premium classes, but there are free classes all weekend, including 3 from our crew. We will of course be histing a booth at the Show featuring a bunch of new season products we have lined up to display.
Our Cotter store of course will feature our full range of products and our annual Fly Fishing Fair sale: WE have been unpacking boxes of discounted tying materials, tools, tippet indicators and more yesterday.
There is now a couple of changes from the original program: our boy Ben Levin missed the notice about the date change this year and double booked himself Sunday, so I took one for the team and swapped class times. Chad Johnson also graciously agreed to shift his Do It Yourself Redfish class to 9am, so he can take part in one of the major Saturday night auction prizes.
I expect bidding to be very high for a day on the water with author and presenter Jason Randall and Chad on the river Sunday. Two seats will be auctioned off. The Fair organisers were extremely appreciate of Chad stepping in at the last moment and this really is one of the headlining auction items.
So to recap Ben’s Ozark Smallmouth class is now primetime Saturday at 12 pm. Chad Johnson is also offering his extremely popular Do It Yourself Redfish class at 9am Sunday while I’ll running my trout behaviour class “Find ‘Em & Feed ‘Em at midday
Our good friend and guide Davy Wotton is teaching his awesome onwater Mastering the Wet Fly class on Friday but this is now closed as it is full.
We are also stoked to see one of the headline presenters this year is Michael Schmidt from Angler’s Choice Flies in Ohio _ Mike achieved notoriety with his custom streamers, many of which have passed their way through our fly bins, but he has a bunch to offer in production tying techniques for every tyer. Plus Jason Randall , who ran some awesome classes with us last year is also back at Conclave with some cool classes
Streamer addicts will also enjoy our mate Brian Wise’s take on fishing Schmidt style streamers on Sunday.
Smallmouth Across the Ozarks – Ben Levin – This 50 minute presentation will include details on when, where, and how to catch smallmouth bass on flyrod across the Ozarks, with particular emphasis on Crooked Creek and the Buffalo. It will also cover food and flies, special techniques, and conservation. Seminar Rm. – Saturday 12 pm – 12:50pm – No attendance limit – FREE
Sat. 9am – 9:50am ‘Catch your Trophy: Get in the Mind of Large Trout.’ – Jason Randall -Matching your fishing strategy to the feeding strategy of large trout to catch bigger fish. Once you understand hypertrophic fish, their default diet and default feeding strategies, they become more predictable. Based on the second book, ‘Feeding Time; A Fly Fisher’s Guide to What, Where and When Trout Eat.’ Sat. 9am – 9:50am Seminar Rm. No attendance limit. FREE
Sat. 10am – 10:50am Production Tying Techniques for Everybody – Mike Schmidt – Will highlight different setups, ideas, and techniques from production work that anyone can use to produce more consistent flies at home and faster. Sat. 10am – 10:50am – Seminar Rm. No attendance limit. – FREE
Sat. 11am -11:50am ‘Old School Wet Flies.’ Jason Randall Covers the often lost art of the many ways to fish with wet flies and soft hackles. How, when, where and why to fish with this effective technique. Covers patterns, rigging and fishing techniques. Do a tying demo of the fly patterns discussed. No attendance limits. Program will be on Sat. 11am – 11:50am, Seminar Rm. FREE
Sat. 1pm – 1:50pm Trout Hunting With Meat – Michael Schmidt A brief history of streamers and how they have progressed, and then goes though gear, reading water, fly selection and action…basically is a good primer course to dial in streamer fishing. Will be offered on Saturday, Oct.4th 1pm – 1:50pm – Seminar Rm. – No attendance limit. – FREE
Sat. 2pm – 2:50pm ‘Seasonal Angling Strategies: Fishing the Winter River.’ Jason Randall Understanding the winter river and how it affects trout and their prey. Based on seasonal changes in the river, the composition and density of prey organisms in the drift, you can identify the limiting factors and predict where trout are found and what they should be eating. Seminar Rm. Sat. 2pm – 2:50pm No attendance limit. – FREE
Sat. 3pm – 3:50pm Production Tying Techniques for Everybody – Michael Schmidt – Will highlight different setups, ideas, and techniques from production work that anyone can use to produce more consistent flies at home and faster. Sat. 3pm – 5pm – Seminar Rm. No attendance limit. – FREE
Sat. 4pm – 5pm ‘Seasonal Angling Strategies: Fishing the Summer River.’ Jason Randall Understanding the thermal behavior of rivers and how it affects trout and the prey they feed upon during warm weather. Predict where trout hide and how their feeding behavior is affected when the water temperature rises. Also covers how to handle fish caught from warm water to improve survivability after release. Seminar Rm. Sat. 4pm – 5pm No attendance limit. – FREE
Do it yourself Red Fishing -Chad Johnson — This presentation will cover things such as:
- Safely Navigating through the Marsh
- Where Red Fish live
- Tips & Techniques to catch Red Fish
- Fly Selection
Building C1. – Sunday 9am – 9:50am – No attendance limit – FREE
Sunday 10am – 10:50am Fishing Mike Schmidt’s Streamers on Local Waters – Brian Wise – Streamer fanatic Brian Wise looks at when, where and how to get Schmidt’s streamer patterns to produce on local waters. Sunday 10am – 10:50am – Seminar Rm. – No attendance limit – FREESeminar Rm. – Sunday 12pm – 12:50pm – No attendance limits – FREE
Sun 12pm – 12:50pm Find’em and Feed’em – Trout Behavior – Steve Dally – Locating feeding fish is the essence of every type of fishing. Our preferred quarry, trout may live in a myriad of different environments, but they follow the same set of rules no matter where you are fishing. This program looks at common factors in how, why, when and where of trout feeding behavior, with particular reference to the White River system tailwaters. Seminar Rm. – Sunday 12pm – 12:50pm – No attendance limits – FREE