Fly Industry Schmooze in New Orleans

The International Fly Tackle Dealer Show — which for so many years was in September in Denver, Colorado — is making waves in New Orleans Aug. 18-20. The fly industry-only show is a chance for manufacturers to show retailers their product lines for the upcoming 2012 season.

Show organizer Randi Swisher expects more than 150 exhibiting companies in New Orleans, with overall attendance of 2,500-3,000 individuals representing more than 200 retail shops and media outlets. The three-day show also includes the "Pond Hog Hero Cast" competition and the Iron Fly competition in which the industry's best tiers have 15 minutes to complete a fly for judging based on quality, originality, and use of a secret ingredient. (Last year Aurora Colorado fly shop-owner and Fly Fisherman columnist Charlie Craven won the event.)

Several major tackle manufacturers are expected to introduce major product innovations at the 2011 New Orleans show, and the new rods, lines, and reels usually show up on store shelves three or four months later. The IFTD show suffered from lagging attendance in Denver in recent years, and is the most important source of revenue for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA).

"We had several goals for next year's show, and realized that doing more of the same was simply not an option. We wanted a different location, a venue that made sense for our members and our organization, and somewhere people could have fun," said AFFTA Chairman Jim Klug. "When you add in the opportunity to support the Gulf Coast's recreational fishing community and those in our industry based in that region, it was a no brainer."

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