This was an inaugural event held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. I had stopped going to shows and fairs a number of years ago mostly due to ticket prices and geographical location. The ticket price for this show was just £15 so I thought it would be worth a punt. An early start but no accommodation costs made it a no brainer, I had to give up a day at Chessington though PMSL!
I had checked out the list of exhibitors’ online and was a little disappointed that some of the big hitters in the industry had decided not to put in an appearance. I have to say though on entering the venue the layout was just perfect. There was easy parking and I got the car right in the hall itself, joking aside there were a number of options for getting to the venue and those driving had the opportunity to pay for the parking on the Fair’s website. The Angel Underground station was only about three hundred yards away so access was good.
The hall had high ceilings making it seem very spacious a really good choice for having a show such as this. As I came in through the door I was very impressed with the huge screen that was set up with various rotating images. This area was to be used for talks and slideshows by the various destination fishing companies present. I had gotten to the venue as the doors opened as I was keen to catch the first presentation about Fishing in Iceland by Fish Partner. I found it very difficult to hear what the chap was saying due the noise from the activities on the upper levels, but the images of Iceland had me hook line and sinker! A trip there in the next few years is high on my priority list.
On the left-hand side as you entered the building was the refreshments area and in the morning, you could grab a bite to eat and at lunchtime there was a bar if you fancied wetting your whistle. Also in this area was the Bentley parked up next to a much more practical looking Land Rover. I have to say the Bentley made me chuckle when I think of the fly tying kit in the boot and the cream leather seats, you can just imagine climbing in with your waders and muddy wader boots to move up the beat a little….NOT!
I ventured up to the second floor where the bulk of the show was located, it looked great with a casting pool in the centre and the various stands arranged around in two tiers. I thought to move round in a clockwise direction so the first port of call was the fly tiers. It was still fairly early and most were chatting amongst themselves. I did come across Mickal Zapal from Poland. He is one of my favourite tier’s and I always look forward to seeing his work on Facebook. It was really great to meet him in person and he even tied me a lovely Sedge pattern which I will undoubtedly steal! As I moved up the various exhibitors I came across young Ben Beckworth working away at a nymph box, a very impressive young man and I am sure he will be one to watch in the future if he decides to go down the competition route. I really enjoy fly tying and it was great to see the work of others at close quarters.
In my element, I moved round the various stalls stopping to chat when something caught my eye. Without exception, all the exhibitors took time to chat to you and were very friendly and helpful. I can’t mention everyone but here are a few that gave up their time to chat to me throughout the day. In no particular order, Stephen Parkes (Atomsix), Maria Gonzalez (Mayfly Art), Cameron Craigs (Albury Estate Fisheries), Tom Hunt (Hunts Original), Wayne Mcgee (Alaska Trophy Adventures), Ben Bangham (Costa), Toby Merigan (Funky Fly Tying) and a special mention to Hywel Morgan who gave me some great pointers for Iceland.
Well let’s get down to it, would I go again? Absolutely I had a blast right up to the point where Dave Murray and I went to the pub to watch the rugby the day went down like Sanchez in the penalty box after that.
- Easy venue to reach
- Reasonably priced entry
- Well thought through layout
- Great selection of Fly Fishing content
- Price of food was outrageous £12.50 for a burger, coke and about six chips. OK it was wild boar but for that kind of dosh I would expect the breast meat from a Dodo!
- Having to leave early to watch the rugby, would have been a good idea to utilize the large screen. The bar would have done a bomb!
- Scotland getting humped by England, nuff said!
It really was a great success I can see this becoming one of the biggest show events of the calendar. For the first one they did a super job and I hope to return next year.