Missoula Fly Fishing Report – Last Week Excellent Fly Fishing, This Week More Questions

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Lunch on a Clark Fork River Side Channel

We entered last week with many questions.  We answered them early and often with dry fly eats on Skwalas not March Browns like I thought the cold weather would usher in. March Browns have been coming off in droves at the our fly fishing Lodge on the Clark Fork River, but for some reason the Bitterroot River hasn’t been awesome on Mayflies this year. Don’t know why, because Skwalas have lasted forever.  So we ground them up in the mornings on solid to excellent dry/dropper fishing and then cut back to single dries for the afternoon.  Thursday was excellent dry fly fishing and almost no one was on the water. Cloudy and cool always rules to get them looking up. A couple boats played the streamer game on the Clark Fork River and it was solid, but no dry fly fishing there.

Friday – Sunday we had excellent flows and temps but it was the first real run of Sunny weather and the dry fly bite suffered.  We had been in clouds for almost 6 weeks and the high sun funked out the top bite. To be more granular this was the first weekend that the Ospreys showed up in huge numbers and by what I have seen they had a great weekend fishing.  That old predator is back in the system and caught some of our trout off guard.  Maybe that spooked our trout a little too? Or maybe that is a crazy thought? Or Maybe not?  We still got fish to eat on top but not like we had been getting – it went from 40 eats on top a day to 15 eats.  So over the weekend the anglers that fished more underneath got more.

The long runs of cloudy weather are a blessing and curse.  All trout prefer to eat in the clouds.  The hatches are bigger and the Ospreys can’t see as well to hunt because they are not backlight by a high sun.  This isn’t to say we don’t catch alot of fish in the sun because we do, but cloudy days put the whole system at ease. When the curtains are jerked back after over a month of sedate feeding conditions the first sunny day can get weird. The more cloudy days leading up to it compounds the possibility for weird fishing.

Can’t control the weather, so you just fish it.

This week’s forecast -

I think we are going to go out today on increased flows with almost an 80 degree high and a 44 degree night. Although we are looking cooler for the week the entrance of cold snowmelt is going to be very problematic on the Bitterroot River, Lower Clark Fork River, and Blackfoot.  Maybe the Upper Clark is going to hold together, but that has not been a place for anyone but the most skilled anglers all this Spring.  Then again Maybe it holds in there for one more week in Missoula on all our water?  Each morning at the USGS website has been dramatic as we try to wring some more dry fly eats out of the Missoula water.

I am pretty sure we will be playing it safe on the Missouri at least until the weekend.  It is fishing quite well and doesn’t have all the water drama factors that are flexing their muscle on the Missoula freestone streams.

Oh darn it, I am going to have to stick big Missouri rainbows all week. The wind forecast on the Missouri River is excellent too.  How will I make through?

Onto the Mo for a bit. Probably?

Missoula Fly Fishing Report – From the Lens of Babes


A Daughter’s View of Rock Creek

I took my 9 year old daugher Mackenzie on Rock Creek this Saturday.  I picked up some new timelapse gear and was hoping to get some footage of the storms that were boiling through the tight walls of the Rock Creek drainage.  During the shoot my daughter was incessant about using my camera for her own shots.  The weather was wet, the footing was slick, and I was hustling through a technical shoot with lots of light factors.  The working fishing guide in me could just see her slipping on the trail with 4k camera + 2k lens and crunching delicate gear while I lost time as the great weather moment was squandered.  Then the Dad in me took over and figured the only way to learn how to take a great photo is to shoot and follow your instincts regardless of age. So I begrudgingly turned over my gear with wince and curt speech on being careful with Dad’s work gear. Just before she trudged off on the rain soaked trail I relaxed, smiled and told her to shoot with her heart.  She grinned like only a 9 year old daughter can and said “Dad that’s what I always use.”   As she dropped out of sight I focused on tearing down tripod and rails in the rain and accepted my gear’s fate was out of my hands but carrying the right intent.

We finally met up 30 minutes later hustling to the truck.  She told she had got some perfect shots, but as the snow piled in I didn’t check the camera until the next evening.  I was going through my photos that turned out to be at best borderline acceptable I came across the one from above.  It stopped me the most because I have shot this turn in the river a great deal and never figured out how to get the Rock wall composed well enough to keep the river as the leading line.  Yet, my 9 year old nailed it whiled adding the foreground of a perfect pine try all the while keeping the canyon depth evident with the storm boiling over the background.  Excellent photo by anyone especially a 9 year old.  We put the photo up on Facebook page and it got over a 100 likes. Dad’s previous best was 50.  Great day on the river and not a fly was casted.

Fishing Report

The Missouri is in the bag.  Nymphing is automatic for numbers and size if you know what you are doing. Yes, there are fish to be had on big dries. The next two days call for nasty weather, so we are hesitant until Thursday to make the drive this week.

Bitterroot and Clark Fork is on the edge.  We have been catching them, but the dry fly fishing has been tough.  We should get another drop tonight and then perfect March Brown weather for three days.  If the bugs show it could be exceptional on top.  If they don’t we are going to be grinding it out on droppers. I am fairly sure that the cool weather is going to bring in the Mayflies, but we are going to have to fish it to know for sure.  This Spring has had many different turns in the hatches, I am hoping we hit it right.  Sometimes you just have to go to the water and figure it out on the fly.

So we are going fishing this week. It will be functional fishing with all techniques and water in the quiver.

Missoula Fishing Report – Drive On Anglers


It is beautiful in Missoula today. Too beautiful in my book.

We have been pounding out fish on dries as lately as the Skwala hatch exploded on the Bitterroot and Clark Fork.  However a forecast of unseasonably warm weather over the next few days is most likely going to unleash some low snow pack and push us out on elevated flows for a bit.  It is odd to have a bump come through this early, but the March 4th storm we had laid down so much low precipitation that it has been touchy on warm nights all Spring.  40 degrees on Tuesday night is going to jar some white stuff loose.

The question this week is not whether we will catch them – It is where?  We have only been using the Missouri sporadically because the Missoula dry bite has been so good, but it is looking like we will be using that tailwater’s insurance policy of stable flows soon. 7000 fish per mile that like to eat bead heads isn’t all that bad.

I may get the last epic days in Missoula as our water temps peak ahead of the icewater bump.  Those are the best days just before we go out. Our fish gorge as they feel it coming and know they have to stock up.

I am personally on the water tomorrow through Thursday and I will see some water I haven’t in a while.  Actually I am excited about it.  I don’t mind the pretty drive to Craig and seeing some of our old friends from that river.  It is Lent so I won’t be having a cocktail, but an O’Douls and guides I don’t see every day at Isaac’s is cool too.

Thank you to everyone that watched our last Video “Cancelled”, we had a blast shooting it with Patch and Evan.  We are filming again in Late April and will try some new filming techniques again. Photography and filming has added so many great layers to fly fishing for me.  I hope our guests enjoy our work.

Drive on, find water, say Set!, and watch them run.  The life of a fishing guide in Montana.

There is an old time outfitter that calls hardcore anglers the same name – “F.R.E.D”  Fish Rivers Every Day.

As in “Water is coming up FRED, drive on, and keep it drag free in the clean water.  See you on the water FRED.”

Bitteroot River Fly Fishing Report – Migration is On and Getting On Top

Skwala on the Move

The move happening now on the bug front. The skwala nymphal migration is in full swing on the Bitterroot. Finally we are starting to get some bigger food items in the system, but so far dries have been solid one day and then sporadic the next.  Todays mid fifty degree weather is going to ramp it up some more, but still they are only eating it in the right spots, rather than everywhere when the peak happens.  Tomorrow? Hopefully? This week? Maybe?  Next Week? Maybe.  We are catching them pretty good right now using all techniques but it has been extremely spotty with some obvious water not producing and other off buckets giving up more than they should. My confidence is going up daily and Friday last week was an excellent day on dries, but yesterday was sputtering. Why? Don’t know, I guess it is just fishing.  We are sticking to our spots and being methodical right now with work and effort on the oars being the currency of success.

I did check the shallows on the  lower Clark Fork yesterday.  There are the first signs of the Hatch is trickling in with a random nymph here and there.  The shocker for me was the massive numbers of March Browns and Blue Wing Olives.  I haven’t seen that many macro invertebrates in the shallows on the Lower Clark since before the dam came out in 6 years ago. I am very excited about the Mayfly fishing that will be coming soon and going by the caddis population cased on the rocks it should be an awesome July.  Rebirth on this river keeps astounding me.

In coming weeks it is going to be more important to fish “Off” water, or as Snangler calls it “Not the Bitteroot with Hack Guides like You Joe.”

There is quite a bit more to the Spring Skwala game than just the mid Bitterroot and getting the hatch fresh on quieter stretches will yield a  dumber trout to eat a fly.

I am personally out on the water quite a bit over the next three weeks and I like my odds as our water warms and snow looses its grip.

Bitterroot Fly Fishing Report – High, Clean, Some Dries, and Many Juans

Brownies on the Prowl over the Weekend

Fishing wasn’t an epic struggle lately, but it hasn’t been easy cruising catch them everywhere either. It is somewhere in the middle, if you work hard with good drifts and the right dropper rigs then you catch good numbers and the occasional stud.  The hot fly lately has been the dreaded San Juan in garish shades.  On Saturday one of our boats sold their soul and played the Juan – Juan (aka The Devil’s Rig)  under the indicator and definitely caught the most fish, but later these anglers had to shower with bleach to remove the stains from their fishing souls.  Actually they didn’t care at all because catching a bunch of fish is quite fun,.

 Today there are a few dry fly eats to be had in exactly the right places.  I was pulling adult ovipositing Skwalas off the water on Saturday afternoon, but was not rewarded with trout eating our make believe Skwala flies.   Its getting there.  Maybe by this coming weekend the first runs that get the bug will give up some steady topwater feeds, but I wouldn’t expect the wholesale river wide hatch when everybody is catching them right away.

Its hire a guide fishing right now, and we are working our fishing fannies off to put together 20 fish days.

Looking Like I feel in the Spring

Part of the stall in the Hatch that we should have had for two weeks already was the snow, the other part is 700 cfs at Darby.   At 42 degree water we need more soft edges where it makes caloric sense for trout to come to a dry insect. Not going to happen is a fast moving sheet or wavetrain run.  At 300 cfs there are more soft spots that are built for the early trickle of bugs to get ambushed by trout.  I will take more bugs or less water – either one.  Until then dry/dropper through what I do have.

The Missouri is a no-brainer right now if you want to make the drive to push the bobber with small pink flashy nymphs.  Caleb was over there yesterday with guests and the report was “We stopped counting big fish doubles, then froze in snow squalls, and rowed out in white caps.  Great, Cold, Day.”

I am headed out today.  The Root is on the drop.  I plan on chucking the dry/dropper game in the soft water and hope for more on top then underneath.

Skwala season has some new moving parts in 2014, so my fishing log book re-opens for new data, new techniques, and hopefully more thug brownies on the hook.


Missoula Fly Fishing Report – The Guide Season Begins

And So it Begins Spring 2014

We fished the Missouri yesterday –  30 fish to hand and 2 over twenty inches. There wasn’t a single trout that we didn’t have to work our butts off for to get.  Hard, technical, cold water nymphing that when you found it in exactly the right spot, weight, fly and drift you could get them. No Risers.

I remembered yesterday that I can still guide, laugh, and listen, but somehow everybody at the boat ramp got younger.  My boat gained a bunch of weight sitting in the shed all winter, because she used to row a lot easier.

Bitterroot is on the drop today with it going under a 1000 cfs.  50 degree days and 29 degree nights so the trajectory is right for the hatch to come together.

Come on Skwalas!

You can keep your drama. I will take a bent rods, clicking camera shutters, and high fives instead.

Ain’t Trout Great.

Missoula Fishing Report – First Dramatic Scene


Hustling on the Wing

If it was easy rich kids would do it –  Another one of my father’s prods to work harder comes to mind this morning as I look at the upper Bitterroot flows and a week full of anglers coming into fish the Skwala hatch that should have already been in the mid river for two weeks, but is currently squashed due to all time high low elevation snow for March getting pummeled with warm rain causing the Bitterroot to blow up.

So you either smoke a bowl of back medicine like Dudeman guide and cruise through crappy fishing blaming that part of the system you can’t control or you assume that the answer is out there, even though difficult, and make a plan based on log book data. Then bust up your hands, head, and back chasing it.  No doubt this week is going to be a  pro vet grinder on weather and water temps, but with extraordinary conditions comes extraordinary opportunities.  All deep river knowledge is gained on the edge of conditions.

Any puff ball throwing oar hack can be super guide when its 1500 cfs on the drop in Darby in late June with Golden Stones littering the water. Yes, even soft rich kids catch them with baby belly white rowing hands and a cozy trust fund to get them through the rest of the season when the water whipsaw threatens.

Can you catch them great today? Today in the too windy?  Today in the too cold water? Today in the dirty water?  Today in the too bright?   You got trout guts, son? You know, today the day that  two surgeons from New Jersey booked out of their busy life schedule and hired you take them fishing. That is question that each guest asks regardless of conditions.  Manufacture trout, not excuses.  Welcome to guiding youngsters, it isn’t a lifestyle job where all the pressure of the world falls off you and the mountains, pretty rivers, and trees act as soul balm for actually having to work hard and produce.  Sorry bud, the relaxation is for the guys in the knee locks because they are paying you for it. Time to earn your river cred  this week.

That was the rant, here is the gameplan for the week.

Bitterroot – She is headed out today.  We may have it by the weekend, maybe.  With this water temp my opinion is we need the Darby gauge at 800 cfs or less.  You need enough soft water to be able to force feed them.  Can you catch them at the higher flows on the drop, yes but the Spring is about 30 fish days, not 8 fish days so we will need to be careful when we head back in.  The first few boats fishing it correctly could do some heavy damage by the weekend. Maybe, could be, for sure, not sure, and compulsively watching USGS flows like a 15 year old daydreaming in Algebra class taught by a hot first year teacher in a red skirt.

Clark Fork – Gone.

Blackfoot – Sneaky, so Sneaky, sooo Sneaky. Extremely low water temps and a snowmobile shuttle.  I don’t think I have the chin for it, but Snangler keeps calling me a river chicken for not putting it up for option.  He is scared of it too but he enjoys pounding his chest at my expense.  I have slid boats over snow banks this time of year to unbelievable pods up on capnias, but with this flow regime Snangler can pound all he wants on my deaf ears.

Rock Creek – Wade maybe. Maybe.  I need boat options for the week, so that is out on logistics.

Missouri – Here is the answer you are looking for. Yes there will be driving, but it has been fishing well.  The moving parts of the equation are :

            1. 35 degree water temps, so you will have to morph out of the summer program and work different water speeds.  Exact location, depth, and hooksets will be the difference between 3 fish and 30.  They are eating it, but it won’t be stupid fish attaching to bad drifts.  30 big ones to the boat is pretty damn good if we can it we can get it done.

             2. Tributary color.  As you head down river it will get colored.  The crowds that will be chasing the Missouri will cower at the dam, reasoning it is better to stand in line and be safe.  How much dirt can you tolerate will give you extreme solitude in the low river, just hope you won’t be lonely for trout.

            3. Lodging – Not much is open yet in Craig.  Isaac’s is closed, so you will be eating at Oasis or the Frenchman.  Cafe food and drinks, hard core Montana style.  There are options but it won’t be a June trip when Craig is firing on all the amenity cylinders.

So the Missouri is relatively safe with some skill, the Bitterroot is on the bubble, and the first trips of the year are going to test our mettle with A Classic Journey’s reputation on the line.  I guess its just another day of outfitting in Montana.

If it was easy rich kids would do it.

Bitterroot River Fly Fishing Report – The Thaw is on so Forget about the Holes

The Olympic Peninsula

Before we return to the descent in the Black Holes, I need to start out with our first relevant fishing report of the season.

We officially started the thaw on the Bitterroot today.  No, there isn’t even the lonely random Skwala out and about yet.  Yes, he was supposed have trickled into the system the last few days of February, but this year’s spring has been delayed by heavy snow that has lasted into March.   Thankfully, the snow has stopped and we have begun replacing worn out shovels with upcoming heavy fly rod use.

If you fished today it would be on the upper Missouri.  No weeds with plenty of fish to eat little flashy pink nymphs. Provided your hands didn’t get too cold the day would be very productive.  Patch is driving the Bitterroot today to see where we are at and I am thinking we will float on Wed. or Thursday.  It is going to be the cold water game at first, but provided the weather holds we should have the mid river bugs in by next week sometime – I am guessing.  To be honest I don’t really know.  We have never seen this much snow this late.  The optimist in me says –  If the bugs follow their general time table it could happen in one massive wave quickly. For the last seven seasons the early March guests had exceptional fishing during the first stage of the stonefly emergence.  We see that with salmonflies and goldens all the time; when a hatch stalls because of temps,  then it bursts as if pent up.  The pessimist on my left shoulder says we are going to have to be patient for next week’s dry fly fishing opportunities.  If that is the case then the early 2014 season is going to have a bit more Missouri in it as we wait for our freestone rivers to warm.  Either way the weather is turning and the Missoula valleys are filling with the cacophony of  boats getting prepped, fly boxes stuffed, rowing hands warming, and trout creeping into the spring feed lanes.

14 years into my guide career and it still feels l am getting ready for my first float trip. I do love this environmental chess match we call trout fishing in Missoula, MT. Bring on the 2014 season!

Olympic Steelhead Stab

Trade Show Darkness Conclusion-

There was only one way in or out of our trade show booth.  Even though I was pinned in the corner I still had the firewall of first time at a trade show Caleb to work with.  I figured once he engaged with the sinister Dark Hole my phone would ring off the hook and I would quickly, politely excuse myself from the booth.

The exhibitor killer started with the classic opening line – “Montana? I drove through in the 70′s. I never understood what was so great about it then.  Just seemed like a long drive through a bunch of mountains.”

Caleb falling right in smiles and says with sincerity – “Did you fish while you were there?  Our trout populations are vastly higher than the 70s.”

EKDH (Exhibitor Killer Dark Hole) smiles like a rattler lining up a mouse – ” I didn’t fish that time and certainly not with flies if I would have.  I have never liked the long polers.  No sir, give me some light tackle with #3 Black/Yellow Meps and I will fish circles around the ‘Artist Angler’. But please tell me about what has changed in the history of Montana fisheries beginning in the 1970s and how it applies to the tenets of Montana’s modern Fish and Game Management.”

Caleb took the shot well, dropped his head for a moment that was long enough for EKDH to ask ” Are you Okay?” to which Caleb responded – “Sorry, I think I just had a stomach cramp come out of nowhere.  I suddenly don’t feel well.  Here let me introduce you to the outfitter Joe Cummings.  He is extremely well versed on all the historical data and its interpretation going forward well into the future of Montana Fisheries.”

Caleb learned faster than I had anticipated.

As I shook the hand of my adversary I realized I needed to find my phone quickly. Caleb frantically exited the booth hunched over in pain, yet as he reached the end of the aisle of exhibitors to turn out of sight he miraculously recovered his stature and managed a smirking wink over his shoulder.

So there I was stuck on the edge of a Dark Hole on a Sunday afternoon at a Trade Show running as low on talk juice as the EKDH  had in surplus.  I politely began a brief anecdote about the river flow regime in the mid Bitterroot and how cooperation with the State of Montana gave a minimum level that caused our trout population to skyrocket in the early eighties.  Suddenly out of nowhere my phone began to vibrate violently in my pocket and I had to excuse myself to take the call.

EKDH said calmly –  ”Go ahead and take it, I will wait. We haven’t even got through the eighties fish per mile data and the whirling disease dilemma.”

I was physically shaken at his immunity to phone call power.  The Hole force was strong with this one.  As I chatted with my dead phone I dragged on my end of boring one sided imaginary conversations trying to outlast EKDH. But at every break in my false discussions that he was obvioulsly eaves dropping on for his re entry in our conversation he would smile and patiently finger through our brochure remaining cemented at the booth.  After twenty minutes of manufactured dialogue with a silent smart phone I gave up and headed back in.

Just before we started up again I saw Caleb coming wheeling around a corner with a hot dog and Coke smiling talking to another exhibitor.  In the knick of time for him but not for me, he gazes down the row of trade show booths and sees that the Hole has survived the phone deception. Caleb quickly buckles over in pain without spilling a drop of soda, mustard, ketchup, or relish and bails hunched over in the other direction.  The exhibitors in my row who like me had not much going on a Sunday afternoon are now fully enthralled in the drama unfolding.  The guy from Alaska who had knocked over booth dodging EKDH exclaims “Damn, no he didn’t!”

So I settled back into the an old time trade show Dark Hole.  I had no way out and decided to see if I could turn it into a sale. What the heck, its Sunday afternoon at trade show that was closing in 51 minutes.  The earlier whirling disease comment gave me pause to think maybe there was something more to this EKDH than just a time suck. As our conversations about Montana’s fisheries history brutally wore on my suspicions of his education became valid.  Someone had imparted to the EKDH excerpts of fairly advanced knowledge.  The way it was coming out I would have sworn he had been guided before.  I started to think maybe I could turn this into a hard fought sale.  My mood improved as hope of a sale sunk in.

I bluntly changed the subject and asked – “You sound like you have been guided before. Who do you fish with?”

EKHD – “Oh, I take a few trips each year with guide in Missoula.  He knew I was going to the show and asked me to stop by late Sunday afternoon and say hello.  It was weird, he said whatever you do, don’t cut your conversation short with Joe, make it a minimum of 45 minutes. Joe gets so bored on Sunday’s at trade shows that it will help him pass the time. I laughed when he gave me a time limit, because Lord knows I do love to talk.”

It only took a second for me to guess the identity of the guide who would take float trips that centered on Meps spinners and so kindly helped me with my trade show.

So I laughed beaten, bruised, and wanting the last 45 minutes of my life back – “Let me guess you fish with Snangler.”

EKHD was shocked – “Wow, how did you know that?  You know him?”

I hunched over and said – “Only too well sir do I know that confounding fellow. Now if you will please excuse me I have some vicious stomach cramps to attend to.”


Here Comes the Season – Off the Road and Dodging Holes


Sunshine and Smiles on the Olympic this Week

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  We have been flying, driving, fishing and trade showing coast to coast over the last three weeks.  Its Monday morning today and I am officially back in the Montana Fishing saddle for the season that is knocking at the door.

The Past Part 1 – Trade Show

The Seattle Show enjoyed a strong attendance. Saturday morning on the trade show floor kept all three of us humming handing out brochures and sales pitches.  Its great at a show when you look up expecting it to be 11 a.m. and it is the late afternoon.  It was Caleb’s first show and after he got the hang of it he sold well……almost too well.


In Between Holes

If you have done any kind of high frequency selling you know what it means to qualify a prospective client. You would like to know if the angler you just met has the means and inclination to book your trip, because the last thing you want to do is politely converse with a 58 year old in dirty jeans that is running on about a brook trout he caught when he was five years old on a “fish pole” and how he doesn’t understand why these “silly fly guys” waste their time with the “floating string thing” while a another angler is tapping his foot at your booth waiting to get a word in edgewise so he can book a week of fishing for a group of six.

We call the trade show trollers that have no intention of booking a trip Black Holes. Because they search like lit up blood hounds for opportunities to share their vociferous opinions that if recorded would dominate Charles Dickens in a wordsmithing contest.  When you are young you dive head first into these Holes chasing the desire to make a sale.  The talented Holes know how to present this false hope as well as we reach cast a Blue Wing Olive to a far off sipper. The new exhibitors are the pods of cutthroats that will sip it on the drag.

Caleb fell into a few Holes early in the Show.  I would have saved him, but to truly appreciate how deep, dark, and soul crushing a Hole is you have to bang around in one politely discussing whatever the Hole wants. You should live through never being able to change the subject into anything other than what effects the Hole directly or thinks he knows absolutely everything about.  Certainly you need to get a heavy dose of how the World is totally crazy with a few conspiracy theories mixed in that connect Dick Cheney’s fly fishing to the downward spiral of of the anadromous runs in the Northwest.  In one particularly deep Hole I saw beads of sweat pour off Caleb’s head as he took waves of droning crazy over his bow.  Finally the Hole had finished feeding on Caleb’s energy and like a bloated vampire moved onto the next booth.  Caleb was visibly shaken and it was time to have the talk about the trade show universe.

Everyone dodges social dead ends in their own way.  You definitely want to be polite when you exit an exchange, and you don’t want to be so brash that you misdiagnose a possible sale as a Black Hole.  Realize you are there to service the customer that is paying you, therefore his is the priority.   So you treat every body that comes in your booth as a possible lead. Develop a script of qualifying questions that engage and hopefully target what your customer is looking for.  That takes time, effort, listening, and if you are a sincere sales person, which is what we are, then you believe in the product and consider it a benefit to them to purchase it.  Heck, we are selling fly fishing trips not used cars here, pretty easy to have a clear conscience for me when I take a deposit.  No doubt salesmanship is craft that has alot of math, voodoo, and social art.  I still miss both ways thinking a new trip is in the bag, or has no way of getting booked.  However, the true Black Holes you can see coming like a dreary guillotine on cracked wooden wheels.  Before that rusty blade falls on your selling energy you need to dodge and dip to the next customer.  I prefer to be clean with it – “Excuse me sir, we can return to your story involving you, a large fish, a tax return that won’t arrive, and how Trout Unlimited’s dictatorship needs to be toppled.  I need to answer the fellow behind you that is holding my brochure, a checkbook, and a date planner.”  If that does work I keep my phone in my top pocket and for some reason it vibrates on its own near Black Holes with calls that I just have to take.  To be honest I crutch off the phone trick, because it is cryptonite for the darkest ones.



On Sunday afternoon it started to slow down, which is prime Hole trolling conditions at a trade show.  They know the exhibitors are willing to take more of a chance on a prospective client while not have a pesky paying client to interrupt their diatribes.  I watched as subtle Hole come up the exhibitor row checking each booth for willing ears.  Mainly he was dodged, but a couple new guys got cut up before they quickly had to take coincidental emergency calls.  One of the Lodge guys from Alaska was searching so frantically behind is booth for his phone that he knocked over his pop up display in terror.  On Sunday trade show talk juice tanks are running low, so conservation of exhibitor sanity is craved to make it through to break down.

Finally the guillotine wheels up to our booth with the evil smile of a veteran exhibitor slayer.

To be continued – Part 2 Trade Show Holes