The Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival was a memorable event that brought together all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts and beer connoisseurs. Held in Mesquite, Texas just east of Dallas, the fly fishing festival featured an array of activities that provided something for everyone. This was the 6th annual iteration of this event that is growing in popularity.

I have been fly fishing for a few years now, but am not a “trout hugger” by any means. While I enjoy all forms of fishing, I have really taken to fly fishing, especially on rivers. Despite my new found love for the hobby, I do have a lot to learn. When the festival offered media access to Texas Outside in order to cover the event, I was looking forward to seeing what it’s all about.

This turned out to be the place to be, whether you’re into trying new flavors of craft beer, testing out the latest fly fishing gear, or just enjoying the scene. There was truly something to see and learn for fly anglers of all skill levels. The atmosphere was fun yet relaxed as experts shared their knowledge with beginners and everyone enjoyed sampling some of the best beer offerings from across North Texas.

Fly fishing products

Fly Fishing Vendors

I really didn’t expect so much variety in the vendors from such a niche festival, but you could see everything from rods and reels, to discount flies, custom tied flies, guided trips, conservation efforts, wildlife art, ministry programs, accessories, kayaks and more. There was a lot of different vendors and displays to look at during the Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival.

What I enjoyed the most was talking to the folks from various fly clubs, who were just tying flies and enjoying the company. My impression of fly fishing used to be that it was a bit of a rich man’s game, and on the pretentious end of the spectrum. After going to this festival, I realize how wrong I was. Yes, you can spend a thousand dollars on your setup, and spend as much as a boat on a fully rigged-out kayak. But you can also get out on the water for under a hundred bucks, and start enjoying this fun and challenging hobby.

There were many guides there, from Beaver’s Bend State Park in Oklahoma to Alaska, South and Central America. You could book a trip to fish for King Salmon, Trout, Striper or Peacock Bass.

If you were in the hunt for some new gear, there was a lot to look at. From waders to rods, shirts, hats, sunglasses, fly boxes and plenty more, you could get completely outfitted for a trip just from walking this show. Don’t miss out on the screaming deals that were marked “show only” – in fact, I almost bought a rod that was marked down almost half from retail price (if they had it in 5 weight, I would have).

Fly fishing demonstrations

Fly Fishing Demonstrations

There was a casting demo area set up right in the middle of the show floor, taking up the entire middle aisle. It had a large area with a few inches of water, and periodically an expert would demonstrate the aspects and subtleties of casting a fly rod.

I learned about every variable that affects your casting ability, from the arc and trajectory of your cast, to line tension, the timing of the pause on your back cast, and how to maximize the forward motion of the cast. It was the simplest and most clear instruction of fly casting I had yet to see.

Fly tying presentation

Presentations From Experts At The Texas Fly Fishing And Brew Festival

There were also several talks and sessions with experts covering topics that ranged from casting technique to reading the water, tying flies, and fishing specific Texas rivers. There was a really wide range of topics all in all, as well as a wide range of target species covered. Some names I had recognized from books I’ve read about fly fishing in Texas, and following different fishing influencers on social media.

Overall, I would recommend this event every year to anyone even remotely interested in fly fishing. This would be a great way to get a friend or child into the hobby, or just go to enjoy the atmosphere. I’ll be back next year!

Be sure to check out our article on Texas fly fishing for info and recommendations, and Texas fly fishing spots for actual locations.

Simon Trask
Author: Simon Trask

Simon loves Texas and the Great Outdoors. From East Texas pines to West Texas mountains, he calls North Texas home but is always ready to float a river in Hill Country or go fishing on the Gulf Coast. Simon loves camping and road trips as well, whether it's cruising Highway 287, 82, 69 or 281, that's the true way to see what Texas is all about!

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