They’re coming … from Montana … the Pacific Northwest … Colorado … and Florida.
Six of the sport’s biggest names will be making their way to the Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center in Warren to share their fly fishing expertise with thousands of fly anglers at the 2015 edition of the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo March 14-15.
“Our cast of headliners brings a blend of familiar names and newcomers to our event,” said Expo Chairman Joe Sprys. “Bob Jacklin is a legend. Oscar Feliu, who now lives in Florida, is a Michigander at heart. He came here from Chile as a student and we consider him one of our own.
“The newcomers to this year’s Expo – Rick Hafele, Pat Dorsey and Charlie Craven – bring techniques and insights that will benefit every man, woman, boy or girl who casts a fly for trout, steelhead, salmon, bass or panfish. Andy Mill is one of the most accomplished saltwater fly anglers in the world and we know he has lots to offer to anglers who pursue tarpon, bonefish and permit.”
The 2015 Expo will have something for every fly angler, Sprys said. The show will feature dozens of free seminars about fly fishing techniques, fly tying and fly fishing destinations and bring together more than 100 exhibitors, including dozens of fly tiers, rod builders, artists, guides and outfitters and conservation organizations.
Hosted by the Michigan Fly Fishing Club, the 2015 Expo is scheduled for Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15. The Expo venue is located at 14500 E. 12 Mile Rd. in Warren. Admission is $10 per person; ages 16 and under are free. Two-day tickets are $15. Parking is free.
Bob Jacklin, West Yellowstone, MT: A fly fishing guide, outfitter and fly shop owner in the Yellowstone region for more than 40 years, Jacklin is acknowledged to be one of the sport’s best ambassadors. A world-class fly fisherman, fly tier, and fly casting instructor, he was inducted into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame in 2004. Bob holds a master’s certification as a fly casting instructor, and sits on the International Fly Fishing Federation (IFFF) Board of Governors for fly casting instruction. He has been tying flies commercially since 1963 and is a past recipient of the IFFF’s Buz Buszek award for his contributions to the art of fly tying.
“There are few people in the country with as much in-depth knowledge of fly fishing, fly casting, and fly tying as Bob Jacklin,” Sprys said. “It’s impossible to walk away from an encounter with Bob without some new insight.”
Rick Hafele, Gresham, OR: Hafele began fly fishing nearly 50 years ago, 40 of which have been focused on fishing for trout in streams and lakes throughout the West. His fishing life however began in north central Illinois, far from trout or trout streams, but close to farm ponds full of bass and bluegill.
His fly fishing education continued at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, and Oregon State in Corvallis, OR. He completed a master’s degree in aquatic entomology with a minor in fisheries biology. “If learning about aquatic insects while fishing the streams of Oregon wasn’t lucky enough, after finishing my degree I actually got a job in Oregon as an aquatic biologist focusing on water quality issues, first with a private consulting firm and then with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality,” Hafele said. “For over 30 years I’ve been able to watch and study fish and the insects they eat, both professionally and with a fly rod in my hand, throughout Oregon and many other states and provinces.”
He has authored a number of books, including “The Complete Book of Western Hatches” (with Dave Hughes), “Western Mayfly Hatches” (with Hughes), “An Angler’s Guide to Aquatic Insects and Their Imitations” (with Scott Roederer) and “Nymph-Fishing Rivers and Streams.”
Andy Mill, Aspen, CO & Boca Raton, FL: A lifelong and avid fly fisherman, Mill mastered the art of tarpon fishing and went on to become only the second angler to win five Gold Cup Tarpon tournaments and be a triple crown winner in tarpon fishing (Gold Cup, Hawley, and Golden Fly). He has won 11 tarpon tournaments, the most ever for one fly fisherman. He wrote the book “A Passion for Tarpon” where he shares his experiences on catching this challenging fish.
Mill became world-famous as an Olympic downhill skier known for his speed and daring. He competed in two Olympics, finishing sixth at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics (the highest finish for a male U.S. skier in 24 years) and two World Championships. He was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1994.
Following his skiing career, Mill created and produced the Sportsmen’s Journal television series for the Outdoor Life Network. A lifelong angler who grew up in the Colorado Rockies, Mill has spent the last two decades in furious pursuit of tarpon on the fly. He has applied his stamina and grace as an athlete, his intense ability to focus, and his exceptional instincts as a hunter to reach the pinnacle of this exciting sport. Not only has he won a record 11 tarpon tournaments, he is the only fly fisherman to ever win tournaments for tarpon, bonefish and permit. He divides his year between Aspen, Colorado and Boca Raton, Florida.
“The common thing about skiing and fly fishing,” he said, “is breaking the sport down and being able to put a number of pieces to the puzzle together. The more pieces that you have in your repertoire, the better you are going to be.”
Pat Dorsey, Evergreen, CO: Dorsey has been guiding for more than 20 years, spending roughly 200 days a year on the water. A partner in the Blue Quill Angler fly shop, he oversees and trains more than two dozen guides and helps to set the standard for integrity and professionalism in the Blue Quill Angler guide operation.
“Fly fishing is a problem-solving exercise, “ Dorsey said. “The more you know about the fish, their environment and the specific techniques required to catch them, the better angler you will become. There is no ‘luck’ involved in fly-fishing. It’s a set of learned skills and your ability to execute them that make you a great angler.”
Charlie Craven, Arvada, CO: Craven has been a commercial fly tier for more than 30 years, tying flies for almost every species of game fish — freshwater and saltwater — though he specializes in trout flies for the Rockies. He is a signature tier for Umpqua Feather Merchants, which produces 15 of his patterns. Craven is co-owner of Charlie’s Fly Box in Olde Town Arvada, CO, which was the winner of the 2009 Fly Fishing Retailer of the Year Award.
“Growing up in Colorado,” Craven said, “I have had the chance to work and fish with some of the most innovative tiers and anglers in the world. While I owe a lot of my success to them, I have also learned that I am always my own worst critic and find that I’m forever looking for a better way of doing things. I have learned that you can’t be satisfied with a fly that looks good in the box; it has to fish well, too. So many ‘new’ patterns these days are beautiful to look at but haven’t been water tested. A truly great pattern has to catch fish, be reasonably durable, and solve a problem.”
Oscar Feliu, The Villages, FL: A native of Chile, Feliu came to the United States in 1969. As a student in Michigan, he conducted aquatic studies in several of the state’s rivers. His innovative fly patterns became well known throughout the Great Lakes region and were the subject of several newspaper and magazine articles. These publications include The Lansing State Journal, the IFFF’s Flyfisher Magazine, Trout Canada, Fly Fishing Magazine, Scientific Anglers Quarterly, American Angler, Field & Stream, Fly-Fish America and Michigan Out Of
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