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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


New Jersey Fly-fishing Show

In the depths of winter with air temperatures down to minus 15 degrees F two feet of snow on the ground, and no fly-fishing. What does the New England states fly fishers get up to? They get the chance to spend time with their fellow fly fishers at the Somerset New Jersey 3 Day Fly Fishing Show, With 200 exhibitors from rod builders to holiday destinations, 40 seminars covering salt and freshwater fly fishing by some of the biggest names in the business, 30 top fly dressers, 20 authors and some retail outlets. Its a magnet for all fly fishers with something for everyone.

Thomas and Thomas of Greenfield Massachusetts were in a prominent position at the show, being close to the casting pool, which enabled visitors to try out a Thomas and Thomas rods. The company had there full range of rods on display, including the new Horizon 11, Helix, Light Presentation Series and a new model this year the XL-4 series. One model growing in popularity in the USA are the double handed series of rods from a 10' 6 weight up to a 16' 11 weight, including a 12' 12 weight. These double handed rods known in the UK as Spey rods are finding popularity with anglers fly fishing the ocean. The new Horizon 11 series which are all 4 piece rods including the 11 and 12 weight models are proving very popular. I felt the original Horizon rods were as near perfect as a rod could be, but Tom Dorsey has improved the rod hence the name Horizon 11. The improvement was made possible through the use of technology known at Thomas and Thomas as BAFT (Bi-Angular) this technology was first used in the very popular Helix models. With air travel being made ever more difficult, its nice to see the company are now producing all there Horizon 11's in 4 piece. website On the T&T booth I also had the chance of talking with Captain Bill Hoblitzell of Outback fishing charters a saltwater fishing guide and coastal specialist in the Sandy Hook and estuary area.

Doug Cummins of Royal Wulff Products was busy throughout the showing demonstrating the companies range of fly lines and other products. In my opinion the Joan Wulff Signature line matched to a T&T Light Presentation rod make an excellent combination for dry fly work. This line is not the most costly in the range but I cannot fault it. If your planning a trip to fish in the warmer climes take a look at the Wulff Tropic lines. remember a fly line will only be good if its taken care of. When I return from a day on the water I thoroughly wash and polish my fly line or lines. the longer you leave this job the more your line will deteriorate Don't blame the manufacturer if your line doesn't last long if you don't look after it.

Gilmore Reels booth was staffed by brothers David and Roger Gilmore two top quality engineers, who demonstrated the various models and pointing out various highlights of these salt and freshwater models. When you pick up a Gilmore Reel you can feel The quality. I have been using a Gilmore model for stripers, bluefish, false albacore and pike. Take a look at there website

Going by the number of Korkers boots that were purchased during the show I reckon they must have been one of the best sellers. I have been using Korkers for all my fishing and they cannot be faulted. No longer do I have to carry two or three pairs of boots when I am away on an extended trip. In the past it was a pair of boots for wading with felt soles and studs another pair of felt soles and yet another pair of boots for walking rough terrain. Today its one pair of boots with separate pairs of soles. You can change soles a just a minute or two. For further details on Korkers Telephone 01892 863153 or E-mail

I enjoyed meeting and recording an interview with Sarah Gardiner for my BBC Radio Lancashire at The Waters Edge programme. Sarah and Brian Horsley her husband, are both are certified guides and captains. Sara is a girl who does know how to fish and sail a boat being one of the few lady captains on the east coast of the USA working out of North Carolina. Brian and Sarah are the regions only fly fishing specialists being well known for their knowledge as coastal Atlantic fishing guides. False albacore, Stripers, Bluefish, Red drum, Spanish mackerel, speckled and Grey trout Flounder and Cobia are the quarry they hint through the year. I often fish Long Island Sound with Dixon Merkt, and Rhode Island with Jim White where a 10 to 12lb Albacore is a big fish. When that same fish gets down south they are weighing in at 15 to 20lbs. Make sure your tackle is up to the test I recommend the Thomas and Thomas Horizon 11 in a 11 weight when your fishing off North Carolina. These tough fighters don't know when to give up. Brain and Sarah's website is If your planning a holiday in the area this year why not hook up to Brain and Sara for a day on the water. Don't worry if you haven't got the gear they will take care of everything.

I suppose one of the most interesting guys I met at the show was Captain Greg Arnold from Matairie near New Orleans Louisiana who hunts the Redfsh on the flats with fly fishing gear or light tackle spinning, preferring the former. Greg has taken Redfish and Black drum of over 50lbs. He fishes the Mississippi Delta, often casting at huge Redfish in two feet of water. BBC Radio Lancashire's At the Waters Edge programme will be featuring Greg in some At The Waters Edge specials later in the year, when Greg has promised the listener some hear stopping E-mail

Some of the other booths of interest were Patagonia clothing, Tibor Reels, Gamakatsu hooks, Gamma Technologies which includes Frog Hair. I was told by Ron Carr that Gamma Technologies will shortly have a new line on the UK market for coarse fishing and spinning. You will find a selection of pictures under fish of of the month

Martin James Fishing