Bright morning light came through the windows of the hall, adding to the energy of the vendors setting up their tables, moving boxes of materials and gear, and chatting with one another. A nervous camaraderie builds between all the participants, they are happy to be there and simultaneously processing how they want their days to go and how their messages will be conveyed. People who arrived early and finished setting up their tables wander, mingle and assist the slightly more stressed late arrivers. There are old friends, familiar faces, and friendly smiles everywhere I look. 

It was a good day to be on the water yesterday, but also a great day to be at the Maryland Fly Fishing Show. Dozens of rod builders, collectible tackle dealers, fly fishing specialty companies, guides, fly shops, outfitters, fly tyers, artists, authors and fly fishing organizations set up displays and greeted the hundreds of visitors who attended. Although I have attended several shows in the past, this was my first show as a vendor. 

Brochure for the Maryland Fly Fishing Show
Brochure for the Maryland Fly Fishing Show

As a new author and first-time fly-fishing show vendor, I could feel anxiety rising and speeding up my heart rate. Thankfully, my wife was with me, and her presence and words calmed me. She also helped with the artistic elements of setting up the table and arranging the items to create a welcoming atmosphere. Ralph’s voice came over the speakers that the doors would be opening in ten minutes. How would I be able to talk comfortably about my book? A slight panic was kicking in. Earlier in the week, I made a presentation to Maryland Trout Unlimited membership about the inspiration and effort of my book. It was fun chatting with people after the presentation, but at the more formal show, I was more nervous. 

Author presenting at the Union Craft Brewing
Presentation to Maryland Trout Unlimited Members at Union Craft Brewing

The doors opened and I stayed glued to my seat. I wasn’t sure what to say or if people would even be interested in talking with me. Rich Batiuk of Free State Fly Fishers and Randy Dwyer from the Potomac Patuxent Chapter of Trout Unlimited were sitting at the table next to us, representing Maryland’s Fly Fishing Trail, a wonderful online resource and the first statewide resource that leads fly anglers to resources for fly fishing across Maryland. Watching how they each interacted with people passing by provided me some confidence to be more engaging. My wife also encouraged me to walk around and interact with the vendors, to observe their greetings and connect with them to help me learn and relax. 

Scott caught mid sentence at the Fly Fish Mend booth

In professional settings for my work, I am comfortable and capable of networking with ease, but in this setting, I had a dose of ‘imposter syndrome”. However, the more I opened and relaxed, the more I felt connected with people. Several different people spoke with me about novels they were writing or deciding if and how they wanted to publish. Others asked about my process for writing and what things benefitted me to complete the novel. Two folks involved in conservation work described their goals and efforts to restore forests, native plant communities, and improve water quality in their watersheds. 

One gentleman shared something with me yesterday that resonated powerfully. He told me that fly fishing had saved his life. Struggles with life were building destructive habits for him until he discovered fly fishing. At first, fly fishing was intriguing enough to motivate him to get outside more often, but as he fished more, he changed his life habits. Even in sharing a few sentences, his words lifted me and reminded me of the great benefits of fly fishing. In writing The Mend, I wanted to share with readers how fly fishing can heal deep wounds within us and improve our lives. Being at the Maryland Fly Fishing Show and connecting with other readers has helped to remind me truly powerful fly fishing can be, and it continues to connect me with others who have experienced similar benefits.  

The Mend by Scott Lowe
The Mend – By Scott Lowe

Whether it’s changing a destructive mindset, rekindling a childhood memory, connecting with nature during a difficult time in our lives, or building friendships with like-minded people, fly fishing can improve your mental fitness and outlook on life. Within the fly fishing community, I feel like I am building lifelong friendships.    

Keep Mending…

One Reply to “The Maryland Fly Fishing Show, New Introductions and Old Reminders”

  1. I am so proud you went outside your comfort zone to interact with folks who share interests with you!
    Were there any females interested in your information/book?
    Such a good experience! Always growing!

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