By Tom Gadacz, President, Florida Council IFFF
Five hundred Florida fly anglers converged in mid-October to attend the IFFF Florida Council’s 2013 Fly Fishing Expo at The Plantation on Crystal River.
The venue was a 50-year-old, 232-acre resort on the King’s Bay spring system, the largest aquifer in Florida. It is home to record-breaking tarpon and hundreds of West Indian manatees.
Old-salts and new fly fishers participated in 41 programs and workshops — from fly casting and fly tying workshops, outdoor photography, building fishing first-aid kits, and developing casting teaching skills, to specialized programs like making the transition from fresh- to salt water fly fishing and a half-day program for kids only.
Some 24 fly tiers from all over the state demonstrated skill and displayed their creations, those for tarpon, redfish and sea trout and bonefish, but also for the state’s many freshwater species – bass, bluegill, and sunfish and the exotics.
The Expo program featured two of Florida’s most noted saltwater anglers — Chico Fernandez and Flip Pallot. Both first-rate raconteurs, they described their boyhood days of fly fishing from air mattresses to fly fishing with baseball star, Ted Williams. Phil Greenlee was our honored guest. He is president and CEO of the International Federation of Fly Fishers.
We had great support from our many vendors, the local media, and Bobbie Cox and members of the Tarpon Coast Fly Fishers.
Thanks first go to the members of the Florida Council planned a great event.
- Tom Logan coordinated the Expo and organized the fly tier demonstrations.
- David Lambert and Joe Mahler assembled programs and speakers and publicized the event.
- David Olson recruited and coordinated vendors from all areas of the fly fishing world.
- Roger Maler handled Expo marketing.
- And Tracy Maler and Karen Markey did a great job with the registration (with help from many members of the Tarpon Coast Fly Fishers.)
- Kirk and Wendy Burton and staff had great raffle and silent auction items.
- Pete Greenan handled the fly casting certification and testing.
- Gerald Bell, our treasurer, made sure all of our bills were paid and handled printing and signage.
- M.E. DePalma provided web-based support from the FL Council
- Oscar Feliu and Jack Neely put on a superb kids’ program.
Thanks also to Rhonda Sellers and Judy Snyder, who provided publicity support from the IFFF.
I wish to thank all the presidents of the Florida fly fishing clubs for their help and support. They helped publicized our event in their newsletter and web sites and we appreciate their help and support.
If you want to learn how to fly fish in Florida, do not miss our 2014 Florida Council Expo! Learn how to catch Florida fish on a fly and make some great fly fishing friends.