Every February, my dad, some friends, and I make our way up from Cape Cod to a fly shop in Taunton, MA for their annual fly fishing show. This show isn’t part of “The Fly Fishing Show”, it is put on by a single fly shop, the Bears Den, and most of the vendors there are local. The uniqueness of this shop doesn’t end there; for a start, it’s located in an industrial park, it is so big that it has an indoor casting area, and there is no large fishing attraction right near the shop. Yet, that is why it is so special. Here are some photos from the 2020 Bears den fly fishing show, from the most unique fly shop in North America (that I’ve seen at least).
I asked legendary fly fisherman and tier Bob Clouser why and how he came up with his influential fly pattern. “Catching smallmouth bass on it. That was my home territory fish. The Susquehanna River had tons of smallmouth bass in it and we never had a fly that would catch them consistently. I just worked on a couple fly patterns and just fell in good luck with it. Bucktail has the best action in the water when it’s wet. Also the lead eyes, when we got to let eyes they were a lot better than putting led wire or bead chain on the hook. What all the eyes created was a fly never stopped moving when you retrieve it. And that’s the effectiveness of the fly.”
The rows of fly tiers specializing in every nook and cranny of tying are my favorite part of the show. And of course, seeing old friends and making new ones.
I had a chance to talk with New England Patriots center David Andrews about the show. He said he was just getting into fly fishing and had only gone a few times, but really liked it. When I asked him how he liked Bears Den and the show, he said “This is a lot different with there being the show. Fly-fishing to me is just a little; there’s so much information I just don’t even know about, so it’s cool to come out and see all the stuff and meet a lot of different people.”
Val Kropiwnicki is known for his works of art that combine fine steelwork and precision fly tying. He said, “The Bears Den show is cool because it’s a single shop, they bring in a lot of different vendors but for me as a fly tier what they have inside in terms of materials, that’s what makes it cool.”
Mike Rice of Mud Dog Saltwater Flies whipping up some of the best, most durable flies for any saltwater action from New England to the beyond.
And to finish it off, a rare shot of Pat Cohen without Deer hair.
The Fly Fishing Show 2021: Dates, Locations and Opening Hours