Our buddy and Team Norvise member Braden Miller attended ICAST a few weeks ago in Orlando, Florida. We kept seeing posts on Facebook and the pictures He and his mom Casey were texting us. I asked him to write a Blog post for Norvise about his experience. He just sent it to me today, so here id "ICAST / IFTD through the eyse of a 12 year old" By Braden Miller.
Hi, my name is Braden Miller and I was lucky to attend my very first ICAST/IFTD in Orlando, Florida this July with Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO). In this post I want to talk about my three days at the show, my Facebook live interviews with TFO, what booths I visited and some of the famous fisherman and youtubers I meet.
My mom and I arrived in Orlando Tuesday, July 10th and we stayed at the Hilton Orlando with everyone from TFO. There were many people/companies that stayed here too. As soon we walked in the doors the first people we ran into in the lobby was Mr. Duke Davis and Mr. David Folkerts with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (for those of you who are not familiar with PHWFF, they are a non-profit organization that has volunteers and partners that work with veterans to teach them classes in fly tying, rod building, casting and they have fishing trips/tournaments, with over 200 programs throughout the country). You can check out all the exciting things PHWFF has going on by visiting their site at http://projecthealingwaters.org/ Tuesday was a very relaxed day, we checked in, mom unpacked, while I tied a Blake Chocklett feather game changer with a spawn fly head, and then we spent the rest of the day at the pool.
The show started on Wednesday morning. I had to be in the TFO booth at 8am for a booth walk through and I got my official TFO badge with my ICAST name badge (so cool). Mr. Nickolas Conklin explained my job at the booth was to keep the new 10/18-9/19 catalogs stocked all around and to make sure the movie was constantly playing on the tv. I was also supposed to help Ms. Casey Kummell start and stop the video recordings during the TFO live Facebook interviews. The doors opened for everyone else at 9am and people were quickly everywhere. At 10am, Ms. Casey was interviewing Blane Chocklett about the ESOX rod and I was also brought into the interview towards the end. We talked about my planned trip to go visit Blane at the beginning of August to tie some flies together and then go smallmouth fishing. If you saw the post on the TFO Facebook page, you can tell I was just a little nervous. (to see the Facebook live video click here) After my interview I walked around and checked out some other booths. My first stop was the Seigler Reels to visit my friend Mr. Cory Routh. He is the owner of Routhless Outdoor Adventures and also a TFO brand ambassador. My next stop was to the TFO fly fishing booth that was located over by the casting pond and people were able to try out several different rods. Here I found the chairman of TFO, Mr. Rick Pope, and Mr. Jake Jordan and Ms. Wanda Taylor from our advisory staff. Before heading back to the main TFO booth, I made a quick stop over to see my friends at the Project Healing Waters booth. Mr. Davis and Mr. Folkerts were there. They surprised me with a new PHWFF t-shirt, a fishing shirt, a couple of their new rubber band bracelets and a new PHWFF buff (that I have used several times since the show). Back at the TFO booth we did more live interviews with Mr. Gary Dubiel, Mr. Rob Fordyce. I was very excited to meet Mr. Fordyce, asked me to tie some flies that night and bring them back on Thursday to show him. During the show today I saw Mr. Larry Dahlberg, who has his own show called Larry Dahlberg’s Hunt for Big Fish and Mr. Beau Beasley who runs the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival. One of my favorite booths I visited was the Fair Flies booth ( www.fairflies.com ), because I was able to do some tying for the first time all day. My parents first brought me back their 5D dubbing brushes back from the Fly Tying Show in Albany, OR in March and I have loved using them. These brushes are amazing and easy to work with. Best part of Fair Flies is they use the Norvise Automatic Bobbin! The show winds down every day with some booths having happy hour and music playing, of course I did not participate in happy hour. After the show ended we went back to our hotel room for a few minutes before we went down stairs to meet everyone in the restaurant for the happy hours with the TFO conventional rod distributors… again no happy hour for me, only Dr. Pepper. As we headed back to the elevator I was telling my mom that I had really wanted to see/meet Mr. Bill Dance, of course she told me she got to see him! Just as we entered the lobby there he was! My mom asked if he minded taking a picture with me and Mrs. Michelle Dubiel and just like I was able to mark one famous person off my list.
Thursday was another busy day with several Facebook live interviews with TFO ambassadors Joey Nania and Jim Miller, TFO Advisory member and Bassmaster Classic Winner, Cliff Pace, Flipp Pallot who told some Lefty Kreh stories and talked about the BVK rod series, Mr. Jake Jordan, TFO Advisory member (his entire interview was great. I was honored Mr. Jordan spoke about mentoring me too and how we are going to be doing some fishing together in the future. In June he and Blane Chocklett, advised me on what type of flies to tie for Spade Fish (which I caught last month fly fishing with my family and Captain Jake Hiles, out of Virginia Beach, VA and believe it or not he has never caught one). He gave me advice and tips for catching marlin on a fly rod. Mr. Jordan is also going to send me everything I will need for my offshore marlin fishing trip in August with my family and Captain Jake Hiles. He is a great guy and full of information. I really enjoyed our talks throughout the days. Our last interview of the day was with TFO advisor, Mr. Ed Jaworowski. On Thursday Renezetti held the Iron Fly Competition. I entered it along with 19 others and was the youngest tier by far. We were given a bag of material and had 15 minutes to tie something for the judges. I was lucky to be able to borrow an automatic bobbin from Fair Flies to use during the competition. My fly did not come in the top five, but it was great to be able to enter it for the first time and I think I surprised some people with my fly. After the first judging round was over I was able to go over and speak to Mr. Mike Shultz, who I haven’t seen since the Edison, NJ show. So today I took some time to seek out some famous fisherman and youtubers that I knew were attending the show. I got my picture with Eric Kerber from Hook Shots, Skeet Reese, pro bass angler, Cliff Pace (who asked me to tie him some flies and bring them down Friday), Jon B, Fluke Master, Lake Fork Guy, all youtubers and Mike Iaconelli, pro bass angler. Thursday night was the Costa after party and I was not old enough to go and got left behind at the hotel. I spent my night tying Cliff Pace’s flies, watching Netflix and eating junk. It was a very productive night.
Friday was the closing day of the show. Before we headed over, we had to do the dreaded repacking to be ready to head to the airport. At the TFO booth we did a Facebook live with Ms. Wanda Taylor, a TFO advisory staff member. Friday is the day when booths start selling some of the merchandise the brought with them to lighten their return home load. My first booth I went to buy something was Sight Line Provision, I purchased three leather bracelets, a trout, a bass and I was lucky to be able to buy the only Blane Chocklett Feather Game Changer bracelet for sale that day. When I went to say good bye and congratulations to Mr. Routh at the Seigler booth (Seigler won best in show for their new reel and Mr. Routh won at the Drake film festival for a conservation film he did with some from Flymen Fish Company), they gave me a really nice Seigler reel belt buckle, I bought some tying material from a company that is based outside the United States, I bought some hooks I had never seen from a Japanese company and they gave me a really large, life like swim bait and I visited the Chasebaits booth from Australia. The owner asked if I fished and I said mostly fly fish, but I still use a conventional rod from time to time but my 3 brothers mostly fish them. He gave me several new baits of his that aren’t even on the market yet. These baits are pretty cool and move very life like. My brother and tried one out at our beach house pond really quickly and we both caught very large, largemouth bass. Then around 12pm I was surprised By Ms. Casey minutes before going live on Facebook, that I would be doing a casting competition with Mr. Fordyce. I was super nervous, but very excited. After I finished that Nickolas Conklin came over and did some casting with me. Nick won the Best of Show for the two handed spey rod with the new Temple Fork Outfitters Axiom II Switch rod. He also won with this rod at the European Fishing Tackle Trade Exhibition in Amsterdam, for the Best New Product category for the 2018-2019 season. Nick gave me some great casing tips. I had just enough time to go back to the TFO booths and say good bye and thank everyone, especially Mr. Rick Pope and Mr. Frank Paul King for having me at ICAST with the TFO family. This is an experience I will never forget, and I am looking forward to hopefully attending IFTD in November 2019 in Denver, Colorado.
I for one had a ball reading this, "the eyes of a 12 year old" I think he captured that perfectly. We need more young men like Braden in the fly fishing industry. Braden, thank you for this great write up of your ICAST weekend. I appreciate the effort and I am proud to have you affiliated with the Norvise brand. Till next time...
Tight Lines - Tim