Niche fishing enthusiasts will gather in the Summit City on Feb. 12 for the Fort Wayne Fly Fishing / Fly Tying Show.

Three Rivers Fly Fishers will present the show from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Classic Cafe Exhibition Hall, 4832 Hillegas Road. Tyers and vendors from around the Midwest are expected for a day of instruction and fun.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 12-17, and free to age 11 and under.

3RFF President Steve "Curly" Hodson of Wabash said about 35 to 40 vendors will be on hand to sell fishing gear and about 50 fly tyers from six states will participate. "The fly tyers just come and talk," said Hodson, who coordinates that aspect of the show and who will be among that 50. "They love tying, and people come and watch them tie. They always donate some of the flies that they tie. I put them in a big box and we put them in our club auction. We have a tremendous program."

Hodson demonstrated his skills recently at the All American Outdoor Expo in Fort Wayne, where he paired intricate feather and thread patterns with tiny fish hooks.

"There are different skins that you can tie with, but partridge is probably the most used, probably the most expensive, too," he said.

He harvested the tiniest bit of feather for a Curly's soft fly. He creates a lot of the sought-after ties, sells some for about $2.25, and donates a good many to the charities his club supports. His club and others combined last year to donate 34,500 flies to groups in Arkansas and Pennsylvania that teach fly fishing to orphaned youths. This year the donations will benefit Casting for Recovery — healing outdoor retreats for women with breast cancer — in Indiana and Michigan.

Other activities include a silent auction and raffles and a Kids Korner for ages 8-80. The lineup of speakers is: Mike Exl, "Seasons of Sugar Creek"; Todd Schotts, "Fishing the Flats for Smallmouth"; and Kevin Feenstra, "Steelhead."

Jerry Drake will bring a custom, 8-foot, bamboo rod he created. Drake, of Jerry's Custom Tackle, Fort Wayne, also repairs and restores rods.

Hodson's 3RFF business card reads "Fellowship. Education. Conservation." He has been involved in those pursuits as long as he remembers. "I started fly fishing when I was 5 years old. I'm 70 now," he said. He said the club is about 27 years old, and he has been a member for 22 years, and an officer since his first meeting. "They needed a volunteer for secretary and they volunteered me," he said.

He said fly fishing has taken him to many places, including Colorado and Wyoming. "At one time there were groups of us would go to North Carolina, Tennessee, Kansas, Pennsylvania on fishing trips," he said. The club still puts on outings on the rivers and lakes in a tri-state area, and claims members from that same territory.

"I've got about 20 rods and I've got about 30 reels," he said. "The first rod I ever bought I was 12 years old and I bought a fiberglass rod — it was a 6 weight — and a reel and double-taper fly line and it cost me $35, and I fished with that for years until I joined the club and then I started to buy more expensive, but I caught just as many fish on that $35 combo."

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