Great American Outdoor Show

Beweav

Beweav

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I went to the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg this evening with my family. I was really surprised to see such a poor representation for fly fishing. One vender who sold pretty nice flies and another that would discount fishing stuff, including some super cheap flies, rods and reels. But that’s it! No fly fishing seminars, no quality vendors. Do you all know why this would be? For the largest outdoor show in the world, you’d think there would be more Fly fishing stuff! I was a little disappointed.
 
I think because vendors attend fly fishing specific shows like Somerset and Lancaster. Closest I have found to fly fishing was Cumberland Valley TU chapter was selling flies one year.
 
There hasn't been hardly anything worthwhile from the whole fishing industry there in years. The show has changed alot, especially since the NRA took it over and not for the better in most cases
 
used to go to it in the 70's and there was never many fly stuff even then.
 
No fly fishing seminars, no quality vendors. Do you all know why this would be? For the largest outdoor show in the world, you’d think there would be more Fly fishing stuff! I was a little disappointed.
You have two very large fly fishing specific shows in the region. The Fly Fishing Show holds two events within driving distance of Philly, one in Lancaster and one in Edison, NJ These shows are at the top of the food chain. Major fly fishing companies are not gonna spend the time and money to do a third show, particularly when it is a general outdoors show. If they did, it may be the Philadelphia Fishing show or some other regional, fishing specific show. Also, all these shows are scheduled in the span of a month or two and larger companies with a national presence need to visit several regions in a short time span.

Also as lyco mentioned, it's an NRA even, which is fine, but that's just not the scene where you'll see a bunch of fly fishing stuff. None of the general outdoors shows will see niche interests represented well.
 
I went twice, once with my boy and once with my brother. The show is enjoyable, but yeah, fly fishing is an afterthought. There were a couple of booths that sold minor amounts of fly gear among their other fishing selections. And in talking with them, they are MUCH bigger into fly fishing than their booths would suggest. They say that the outdoor show is focused on a boating crowd. Fair bit of bass stuff, plus some pike/walleye lake scene, and some ocean fishing stuff. But very little trout in general.

Fishing is secondary to hunting there for sure. All that said, I came home with 2 dozen flies and a cheap fly reel.

The shooting sports and archery areas were well done and interesting. Outdoor lifestyle stuff was nice as well. All the outfitters don't do much for me. So much high fence crap makes you sick. And what decent trips there were are waaaayyyyyy out of my budget, it doesn't even work as a dream.
 
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The booth price at that show is pretty high (relative to the FF shows), and since the attendance is a mixed demographic, I don't think it would make a lot of sense for a FF-specific vendor to pay the booth fee.
 
I don't bother with that anymore. I went in the 70s until about 10 yrs ago. To each their own. I don't even like all the hub bub and expense at the bigger flyfishing shows. I enjoy smaller events like the one I attended last summer at Allenberry near Boiling Springs that was organized by TCO. Lot's of rods to to try out and interesting people, food and vendors in an outdoor setting right along Yellow Breeches. You could get your old waders patched for free (or a very small charge?) by a guy from Patagonia. (wish I had brought my several old pairs). I tried out one of the new line of Orvis rods and was impressed. A nice guy doing beautiful fish and outdoor related artwork set up in the building too. I hope they do it again.
There are many small outdoor shows held in firehalls etc. that you can find deals on gear and flies.
 
I don't go to fly fishing shows anymore because I don't need anything and nothing at them interests me enough to deal with the drive, admission fee and crowds.

However I went to the "Sportsman's Show" as it was called before the NRA took it over. Even then, the number of ANY fishing vendors was dwindling every year to the point of being not much beyond a few folks selling lures, the PFBC booth and LOTS of guys with dead salmon in coolers peddling guided trips.

Although there were plenty of places to buy beef jerky & BBQ sauce...

I never went expecting fly fishing stuff although there was a tiny amount in those days. I went to have fun and because there used to be a deal where you could park at Bass Pro Shops, board a free BPS sponsored bus to the Farm Show Complex and get a 20% off coupon to use at Bass Pro when you got back.

I also went because they sold beer. 🍺

Before going to the show we sometimes went down to Bob Clouser's shop (when it was open) and made a day of it by going out for dinner afterwards. Years ago I got some large size Niti-1 spoons from Pcola's Lures that are great for pickerel, a few nice fixed blade knives and Swiss Army knife parts from vendors in other areas of the Farm Show Complex so it was worth the trip and a fun day.

I stopped going because I believe the free bus thing went away which made attending more convenient. I also found a worthy substitute closer to home, the Philadelphia Fishing Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA.

Before you excited about the Philadelphia Fishing Show let me warn you that there will be NO fly fishing vendors, plenty of dead fish in coolers and places to buy beef jerky & BBQ sauce...

...however they also sell beer and if it's warm Valley Creek isn't far away. :)
 
I don't go to fly fishing shows anymore because I don't need anything and nothing at them interests me enough to deal with the drive, admission fee and crowds.

However I went to the "Sportsman's Show" as it was called before the NRA took it over. Even then, the number of ANY fishing vendors was dwindling every year to the point of being not much beyond a few folks selling lures, the PFBC booth and LOTS of guys with dead salmon in coolers peddling guided trips.

Although there were plenty of places to buy beef jerky & BBQ sauce...

I never went expecting fly fishing stuff although there was a tiny amount in those days. I went to have fun and because there used to be a deal where you could park at Bass Pro Shops, board a free BPS sponsored bus to the Farm Show Complex and get a 20% off coupon to use at Bass Pro when you got back.

I also went because they sold beer. 🍺

Before going to the show we sometimes went down to Bob Clouser's shop (when it was open) and made a day of it by going out for dinner afterwards. Years ago I got some large size Niti-1 spoons from Pcola's Lures that are great for pickerel, a few nice fixed blade knives and Swiss Army knife parts from vendors in other areas of the Farm Show Complex so it was worth the trip and a fun day.

I stopped going because I believe the free bus thing went away which made attending more convenient. I also found a worthy substitute closer to home, the Philadelphia Fishing Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA.

Before you excited about the Philadelphia Fishing Show let me warn you that there will be NO fly fishing vendors, plenty of dead fish in coolers and places to buy beef jerky & BBQ sauce...

...however they also sell beer and if it's warm Valley Creek isn't far away. :)

Ummh, beer! ;) I haven't gone to a show in 10 years either. Forty years ago the PA Outdoors show was something. We used to fish down da shore a lot back then and there were great deals on rods, reels, and tackle. We even booked a few charters at the show.

Even 30 years ago it was still interesting if you fished. Now, fuggettaboutit!

Regards,

Tim Murphy :)
 
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Ummh, beer! ;) I haven't gone to a show in 10 years either. Forty years ago the PA Outdoors show was something. We used to fish down da shore a lot back then and there were great deals on rods, reels, and tackle. We even booked a few charters at the show.

Even 30 years ago it was still interesting if you fished. Now, fuggettaboutit!

Regards,

Tim Murphy :)

The best part of those shows are the folks who make lures you can't get anywhere else and other fishing gadgets like the sweet long hook disgorger I bought that works GREAT on pickerel and these really cool live minnow carriers...

...but of course mentioning lures and minnow buckets here is sacrilege. ;)
 
Fishing is secondary to hunting there for sure. All that said, I came home with 2 dozen flies and a cheap fly reel.
We must have went to the same vendor 😂 I got 2 dozen as well!

I guess this all makes sense. Are you all saying that the conservation crowd and the NRA crowd don’t mix well?

It seems like a fantastic place to raise awareness for a beautiful sport that many at an event like that would be interested in. And from a conservation perspective, isn’t that the crowd you would want to care more about native fish and preserving the ecosystems that we are all benefiting from?
I guess I could see that a booth at a fly fishing show would have more short term value for a vendor. But from and educational or awareness perspective, it seems like a fantastic place!
 
I always enjoyed seeping the folks walking around dressed in full camo like they just got out of the woods. 🤦🤦
Hey man,

Your Sunday best ain't just for Sunday anymore here in Pee-Aye! ;)
 
The first floor used to be entirely dedicated to fishing. I’m talking boats, spinning gear, casting pool etc.

The first year that the NRA took over the show, they filled the first floor with pistols and AR platforms. The fishing section never returned.

There really was never a lot of fly fishing vendors in the first place. It’s too big of a circus for me to bother anymore.
 
That's sorta like the all the folks walking around in fancy fishing shirts and Tilly hats at the fly fishing shows... ;)
Ummmm, kinda like this😳😳😳
 

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