Last week the HFFA returned to the Quad Cities with visitors and exhibitors gathering for a weekend at Isle of Capris Hotel in Bettendorf. The gathering was smaller than previous years, but no less enjoyable. I unfortunately couldn’t make the Friday evening sessions, but did attend all day Saturday.
HFFA changed the speaking format slightly, going with two tracks with simultaneous presentation, which was an improvement over the single large room from last year. Each of the speakers were engaging, balancing the necessary dry information with interactive aspects, and well practiced. Topics ranged from tips on getting started, improving your cast, local destinations to explore, and techniques for fly tying. Having plenty of time under my belt, I decided to skip the beginner focused talks, but still popped in from time to time and found them to be both helpful and relevant. My only complaint was a few of the talks had names that were not clear of what to expect, but I still enjoyed the presentations.
Over in the exhibitor’s hall I found many familiar faces from last year’s show in Iowa City and the regional fly fishing scene. I took some time to catch up with staff from Iowa DNR, Driftless Angler, and Black Earth Angling Co, as well as meet some new (to me) folks from Root River Rod Co, Tightlines Fly Fishing Co, and Zoetic Custom Flies. I wish I’d had time to catch up with everyone, but with a shorter schedule, and excellent back-to-back talks, it felt like the day got away from me.
Despite the smaller turnout, it was a great event and I look forward to attending next year in Dubuque.
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