Go fish: Learn to tie flies with expert anglers

Chris Bergeron

 If John Keats loved fly fishing more than poetry, he might have written, "If winter comes, can tying pheasant feathers and rabbit fur to your hackles be far behind?"

And if you'd rather catch brook trout and bonefish than write sonnets, check out the 10th annual Fly Fishing Show this weekend at the Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough.

Starting tomorrow at 10 a.m., world-class anglers will share tips, tales and techniques that will help you land the big ones throughout a three-day festival of fly-fishing fun.

More than 100 exhibitors will show and sell the newest state-of-the-art tackle and incredible tour packages from Alaska's Lake Marie Lodge in Anchorage to Yellow Dog FF Adventures in Bozeman, Mont.

Local exhibitors from the Bay State include Ardilas Lodge, Upton; Fishing Solutions, Norfolk; Lake and Mountain Home, Concord; and the Natick Outdoor Store, Natick.

Celebrities who tie flies and authors, charter boat captains and female fishing pioneers like Sheila Hassan will be on hand to share their secrets, answer questions, discuss new gear and sign their books.

Visitors can enjoy continuous instructional fly-tying demos from the start to finish of each of the three shows. Learn to use nymphs, midges, streamers, bugs and more to make the fly that will attract bites from nearby Lake Cochituate to Patagonia, Chile.

The show runs Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Adults can buy a one-day pass for $15; a two-day pass for $25; and a three-day pass for $35. Children under 12 are $2.

Admission includes demonstrations of fly tying and casting, "tips, techniques and travel" from 40 experts, tackle and book appraisal and entrance to the authors' booths and exhibit hall.

Looking for that special edge? Sign up for classes with experts like guide and author Taylor Streit and Ed Engle, who has made a living and an art of fly fishing Colorado's rivers.

Streit will teach "Casting: The Short Game" Saturday, Jan. 19, from 8 to 10 a.m. Class size is limited to six, and 3-foot fly rods will be provided if there isn't sufficient room for your regular rods.

At the same time, Engle will teach the challenging art of "nymphing," the use of small subsurface insects to catch trout that feed underwater. Designed for beginners and seasoned fly fishers, the class is limited to 12 people.

The class tuition of $75 includes admission to the show for that day.

Advance registration is necessary. Call 800-420-7582.

Throughout the show, experts like Cathy Beck and Mark Sedotti will demonstrate the fine art of casting. West Coast legend Tim Rajeff, who has fished from Alaska to Russia's Kola Peninsular in the Arctic, will demonstrate "techniques for distance" and saltwater angler Alan Caolo will demonstrate "quick and short casts under good and bad conditions." For dates and times of demonstrations, consult your programs or visit

And if you've still got granddad's cane rod, old reels, tackle, flies, lures and books, Bob Selb, a well-known collector and dealer of classic gear and books, will offer free appraisals throughout the show.

The Best Western Royal Plaza is the show hotel. Special rates are available for show-goers. Call 508-460-0700 for reservations.

For additional information, visit or call 800-420-7582.