Basically I am a fish out of water here. Worked late last night. Lost an hour with the clock. Slept in. Woke up at 745 in a panic. Text Chris Buchta and said I'll be there. Theresa dropped me out front and when I got to Convention Hall at 0855 and they were already letting guys in. I was behind the 8-ball. Quickly the plugs were flying off the tables. I don't know much and whatever I do know it's from the Facebook groups I belong to. I enjoy following the winter "drama" about plug makers, plugs, and the flippers- guys who buy plugs and then flip them online. Glad I am a fly fisherman when it comes to that stuff.
I know some of the plug makers and their handles from the Asbury Park Fishing Club and they had lines formed and cash flowing by the time I got there. Luna, Cyclone, Sunset, and there's more that I learned about on-line, Black Talon, and I think RB, or RV, or TB......I still can't keep up.
I feel for the guys that have plugs to sell but their tables get blocked by guys waiting for other, maybe more collectable plugs? They all look fish catchy to me, but I guess there is a difference. It seems like there are more new local makers trying to break into the hobby or the business. It must be like tying your own flies, I know it does make you feel better when you fool a nice bass on something you crafted yourself.
It was nice to see some familiar faces at the show. Since moving from Ocean to Red Bank and the nursing job and school I haven't been as active in the APFC as I once was. It does seem like whenever I am into fish that Chris Butcha is always either in front of or behind me. Phil Sciortino from The Tackle Box is someone I've known for 30+ years, having hung with him in high school. And there's Joe Ercolino, the leader of the Asbury Park Fishing Club and all around sweetheart of a man. I still remember asking to join the club maybe 6 years ago and getting the feeling that he thought I was a plant from some green-bass-hugger conservation group. Each year in January when he was ask if there was new business I would raise my hand and ask if we could run a catch-and-release only tournament. The answer was always "no", but I am glad that the tournament mentality across the area has become more C&R, thanks to guys like Chris and Joe, and many others.
Even though I'm a fly fisherman I wanted to win the shadow box of plugs. What a great prize and a good cause as the money goes to a local charity. I waited at 2pm for my phone to ring.......it didn't. I bet this will fetch upwards of $1,000 in a few years if someone wants to part with it.
But my favorite part of the day happened on my way out. I saw Shell E. Caris. Legend. Period. I see him on Facebook and this week he starting posting that he was downsizing his collection and
but when I saw Shell reach into a secret wooden box I knew I was going to see something special. I got a picture, still not knowing what I was seeing. When I asked how much would it go for.....Shell just should his head and said....."A lot". I started in increments, "100, 200, 300 500.....600?" He just smiled. I knew then it was something more valuable and worth more in meaning and memory than something on Facebook or Ebay. Maybe these hardcore surf guys have a soft spot like us fly fisherman