Much like the department itself, Green Top’s initial involvement with the Virginia Fly Fishing Festival was greeted with skepticism. Gabe and I left the store Friday morning with half of the department jammed into an SUV. Mimicking the fly fishing department, we stuffed it all into an 8×8 booth, a space far too small. It is amazing what one can do with a couple sheets of pegboard and a bundle of zip ties.
Friday was a long day. Like most shows Green Top does, we were the first people there. We took the entire setup time to strategically pack our space. Setup ended and rather than enjoying the pig roast and some beers with our fellow fly fishing retailers, we stuck to our tendencies and went fishing.
With only a few hours of daylight left, we opted for a stream I have fished for years. This year is nothing spectacular on said stream. It is wild and unpredictable, much like the brook trout that inhabit it. Several years ago, bad spawns had made for the average fish to be in the 9-10 inch range. We had several fish over 12 inches in a creek ten feet wide. While not as glamorous as 40 pound stripers or 20 inch smallmouth, this excites anyone who is, or has been, a brook trout fanatic.
Gabe and I spent the waning hours of the day catching respectable brook trout as they rose to a myriad of insects- March Browns, Sulphurs, and various stoneflies. The stream was not as we remember it from the recent glory days but that did little to stifle our excitement as we caught little fish from a creek one would think devoid of life.
Once the fishing was done, it was back to work. We planned our next moves and arose early the next morning to finish setting up. The booth was finished in typical Green Top fashion, functional and not overly professional. The show went on as a great success for us. Our customers really pulled through for us, as they do in the shop. We were able to meet many great new people and help introduce a few into the sport. As with our little section in the store, our success was in the knowledge we shared and the knowledge we obtained, something that can not be monetarily gauged.