The Somerset Fly Tying Symposium is held each year in November at the Doubletree Hotel/Conference Centre about an hour and three quarters out of New York in the United States of America.
Chuck Furimsky and his wife Janet are behind this show, as they are for most of the major shows that are held in the United States. I first met Chuck in Italy where we were both guest Judges at the Tuscany Fly Tying Open which was last held in the Arezzo Province in Tuscany in September 2007. It was during this event that we discussed the possibility of one day attending a few of the shows that are held across America.
My close friend, Enrico Puglisi, lives in New York and invited us to stay at his home for a few days prior to the show so that we could have a look around at some of the sights that this great city has to offer.
The air tickets were booked and Alaine had spent many hours on the Internet checking out the sights of New York. For us it was the first time to the East Coast of America and the allure of visiting the Big Apple was an intriguing and exciting prospect. Over the years I have had the opportunity to visit and fish numerous areas of the Western States of America; especially participating in the Jackson Hole One Event in Wyoming but that’s another story.
After almost some 22 hours flying time, Alaine and I arrived at the JFK Airport in New York and there at the gate was the smiling face of Enrico waiting to pick us up. What hit us straight away was the traffic; six-lane freeways, turnpikes and double storey bridges is quite daunting for a couple of country hicks who live in a town with no traffic lights, only three roundabouts and no peak hour traffic at all.
Well like all good things in life, if you are a little patient the opportunity to fulfil an ambition often comes around. I put the suggestion to Chuck and with his acceptance I was allotted a chair do some demonstration tying at the Symposium. From a simple suggestion it is amazing how things can develop. Firstly my wife Alaine indicated that she would like to come, which to me was a very pleasing thought and as it panned out, I was asked to give a couple of talks during the show.
Left: Chuck Furimsky & his Son, Ben.
The leafy suburbs of Queens and its wild life are very welcoming especially during Fall when the autumn colours are in full blossom.
Most would know of Enrico’s reputation as a salt water fly tyer/fisherman, of which he is one of the world’s leading exponents. But only few would know that he is also a fully qualified Italian chef. Can you imagine Eggplant Parmigiana followed by a pasta dish that featured the most amazing secret sauce? Well that was one of many such meals that spoilt us over the period that we stayed with Enrico and his family.
Walking around New York is again amazing with 12 million people living in the three boroughs surrounding the Big Apple and with so many working in the city; it in itself is an awesome experience. I mean to say, 12 million is half the population of Australia.
Right: Macy’s on Fifth Avenue; no sign of recession here. I suppose there is some truth in that old adage, 10% un-employment means that 90% of the workforce is still earning money.
The day before the symposium started we headed up state to Somerset, checked into the Doubletree Hotel and caught up with a few more friends; you know the stuff, a few beers, lots of fishy talk and a lot of laughs.
What a table that was; some of the world’s great fly tiers representing England, Italy Spain, Holland, America and Australia; simply sharing some time out. Steve Thornton took this picture, unfortunately a few had left prior to this picture being taken.