Looking forward to spring fishing? Who isn’t? Fortunately for those of us still stuck in winter, the Fourth Annual Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival is headed to Mesquite on February 27-28, 2021.
Unique to the Texas Fly & Brew is a focus on microbrewery beer. With their paid admission, festival attendees 21 years and older can sample a variety of locally handcrafted brews. Breweries selected from a waiting list to participate in this year’s event include Four Corners Brewing Co, Sweetwater Brewery, Hop & Sting, and Tupps. All of the participating breweries will have personnel on hand to explain what sets microbrewed beer apart, why and how certain ingredients yield different flavors, and how to brew and taste different types of beer.
In addition, the 2021 Texas Fly & Brew welcomes its first distillery: Treaty Oak Distilling from Dripping Springs. Treaty Oak will sponsor a “Bourbon & Bass Bugs” class, during which Treaty Oak’s Director of Science and Sustainability Jamie Biel will explain the what and how of bourbon. Tastings are included. Kristian Cole of Dallas-based Tailwater Fly Fishing Company will review numerous bass bug patterns, and Flymen Fishing Company will provide students with their own bugs to take home for “research” purposes.
New to the 2021 event is a series of advanced courses for experienced anglers. “Folks know that we reach out to complete novices—to those who have never picked up a fly rod in their lives,” says Fly & Brew Director Beau Beasley. “Our event draws scores of children, and we have about six times the national average for women’s participation, compared to other fishing events. This year, we’re stepping up our game to draw experienced anglers, too, with unique, highly specialized courses taught by regional and national experts.”
In cooperation with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing Program, professional guide Karlie Roland will offer the women-only “Becoming an Independent Angler,” an intensive course for female anglers eager to hone their techniques and reach their personal fishing goals.
Of course, festival-goers may attend numerous classes, meetups, and demos with a general admission ticket, including:
- “Becoming An Outdoor Grandparent,” in which kayak expert and fly fishing guide Jerry Hamon and his wife Patty enable older anglers to include their children and grandchildren in family fishing and other outdoor experiences. Hamon will also teach “A Man, A Fly Rod, and a Kayak.”
- “Women and the Future of Fly Fishing,” during which female anglers can connect with local fly anglers like Madison Scarborough of Tailwaters Fly Fishing Company and Kim Pennick of DIVA-Women Outdoors Worldwide.
- A gourmet cooking demo by Executive Chef Jon Bonnell of the Bonnell Restaurant Group on preparing and serving redfish, a Texas favorite.
- A “Beer 101” class by German-trained Master Brewer Peter Boettcher, which examines beer basics for beer lovers as well as those who are considering home brewing.
- One-on-one time with regional pro-staffers from Dallas-based Mariner-Sails, experts on all things kayak.
“This is our fourth year in Texas, and the Texas Fly & Brew has a Lone Star State flair— but our vendors and participants actually come from across the entire country,” says Beasley. “In 2021, we are showcasing new classes and new vendors in a brand-new location: Mesquite has rolled out the red carpet not just to us but to fly anglers every stripe. The spacious Mesquite Convention Center allowed us to provide more vendor space, more sponsor space, more specialty fly tyer space, more classroom space—and even to host curated, specialty food trucks. In a word, we’re thrilled.”
Of course health and safety top the list of attendees’ concerns in 2021. “As a retired 30-year career firefighter and paramedic,” Beasley says, “I take public health and safety very seriously. Face masks are mandatory at the 2021 Texas Fly & Brew. Attendees will notice wider aisles and enlarged classroom settings to enable social distancing. We’ve moved all our casting classes outside.”
Last year, says Beasley, his team was devastated to have to postpone the 2020 Texas Fly & Brew at the last minute in the face of a global pandemic. “This year we are delighted to have retained 95 percent of our faithful vendors and added many new ones. Texas is open for business. Mesquite is open for business. And like us, our vendors are ready, willing, and eager to get back to work promoting the quiet sport. We’re looking forward to a great event.”
Major sponsors of the Fourth Annual Texas Fly & Brew include the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge, The City of Mesquite, and Trout Unlimited. Additional sponsors include Norvise, Fly Tyer, Mid Valley Press and the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International. For more information, visit www.txflyfishingfestival.org or call 703-402-8338.
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