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Ronan's report

Sunday January 15th 2012

There's a thread underway at the moment on demo's at shows. Many of us have attended umpteen country shows, game fairs, fishing shows and what-not, as well as loads of instructor/geek gatherings. Not surprisingly we see lots of repetition.

There's a fairly limited pool of people out there good enough/brave enough to do demos and workshops, and also there's a limited amount you can get across in a short time and to a largish group of mixed experience. So yes, we are going to see the same stuff time and time again, and unless it's an instructors gathering we're not going to be constantly blown away with new insights, techniques, and presentations.

But that's OK.

Most people at country show and game fairs will only ever see a couple of fly casting demos in their lives. A lot of them won't be fly fishers, and most of the rest will not be highly skilled casters finely honed in Bill's five essentials and the Sexyloops definitions.

Most of them just want to see some nice fly casting while they munch on their bacon roll, Cornish pasty, or dodgy burger. They quite like being amazed at how easy the experts make it look; to see those gravity defying loops flying through the air. Looks fun.

Then they finish their bacon roll, Cornish pasty, or dodgy burger and wander off, smiling, towards the Country Crafts area to watch a heavily bearded hippy weave willow baskets, crochet lentils, or something equally engaging.

Not everyone though.

Someone in the audience will still be sat there after the demo has finished, a half-eaten pasty in their lap, a whistful expression on their face. It's like they've just had a blindfold taken off and are seeing the world for the first time. Who knew that fly casting was so cool? Such effortless grace and style. Maybe I could do that too. I want to do that!

And maybe they buttonhole the person demonstrating and ask him how to get started. Maybe they contact the FFF, AAPGAI, GAIA, or just do a web search for local instructors. If they already have kit they'll definitely be out in their local park seeing if they can get any better.

The thing is, that demo suddenly expanded their horizons, and inspired them to greater things. That demo wasn't particularly technical, it wasn't full of advanced techniques, but it was ultimately a spark that made fly fishing a deeper, richer, and even more satisfying thing to do.

And before they know it, they've taken a couple of instructor exams, they're logged in to Sexyloops, and bloody hell! they even write a front page now and again. How did that happen?

With belated thanks to Brian O'Keefe and his inspiring demo at the CLA Game Fair some years ago.


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