April 19th to 21st 2013:
We traveled to the Virginia Fly Fishing & Wine Festival for the two day festival hosted by the town of Waynesboro on the banks of the South River. We volunteered to assist with the set-up on Friday and were pleased to find that the massive main tent was indeed water and wind resistant as huge thunderstorms rolled through the valley. After the deluge, Saturday arrived sunny (a great relief); but, a little chilly with a brisk wind making the casting classes a bit challenging.
The main tent boasted 75 vendors including manufacturers and shops offering fly-fishing equipment, clothing, artwork & pottery and destination trips. Volunteers from national, as well as local Virginia, non-profit organizations shared their goals and objectives with the public as they walked through the venue. Project Healing Waters, Casting for Recovery, Trout Unlimited, International Federation of Fly Fishers and many other local organizations were well represented. The Virginia Wine growers provided the best of their vineyards for tasting and enjoyment.
The Festival banquet was held at the Waynesboro Country Club and Dan Davala, President of the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders and an IWFF Master Casting Instructor was named Virginia Angler of the Year. Dan is a fly fisherman “extraordinaire” who enables, encourages and teaches fly fishing to anyone that stands still long enough to hold a fly rod! Congratulations Dan!
The Virginia Fly Festival offered 45 free classes and seminars on fly-fishing, fly-casting and fly tying with several being taught on the water and “hands on”. The big names were all there including Lefty Kreh, Bob Clouser and Ed Jaworowski.
Di and I took the opportunity to look in on a few of the seminars being offered and had a few favorites.
- Walt Cary shared his technique for tying “popping bugs”! Walt has been creating sturdy, high quality “bugs” for over 50 years and seeing the many steps in his process made us realize that his is a labor of love! (And maybe it’s better to order them from Walt than try to make them ourselves!)
- Martin Bawden from Flymen Fishing Company taught a streamer fly tying class ”Innovative Approaches to Tying Streamers”, based on Flymen Fishing Company’s new and innovative Fish Skulls.
- Dan Davala and John Bilotta demonstrated various 2-handed casting styles including spey and switch on the South River. Dan and John are International Federation of Fly Fishers Master Certified Casting Instructors (MCI) and are the “go-to guys” to learn spey casting in the greater Washington area. Their contact info is: (Link)
- Kiki Galvin’s Women’s Casting Classes were full on both days leading us to believe that women are finally coming into their own in the sport of fly fishing.
Dianne and I worked the International Federation of Fly Fishing booth for a few hours on both days. She taught casting to anyone that showed an interest including a lovely young lady (12 years old) with a serious interest who received over an hour of free instruction with her proud dad standing by. I tended the fly tying table and introduced several people to the fun of making their own wooly buggers and green weenies.
Ken hung out with the folks from the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders (TPFR). These guys and gals have the Potomac River zeroed in and if you want to learn more about fishing the Potomac check out their site. TPFR has monthly events called “beer ties” which are held at a local pub. Judging by the name, beer is consumed, flies are tied, good food is devoured and fly fishing films are shown. Check out their events page for more information on where and when.