Massachusetts and New Jersey have two of the largest fly fishing shows on the East Coast, despite the fact Maine has far and away the better trout waters.

So it’s about time Vacationland got its own fly fishing show. And the folks putting on the first Maine Fly Fishing Show today in South Portland said it could become more than a gathering of unique vendors. They think even in its inaugural year it will be symposium of like-minded addicts.

“We had no idea how many vendors would be interested. We had to turn vendors away, there was not enough room,” said Maine Registered Guide and show organizer Sean McCormack. “I’m learning about people I didn’t know about who’d like to participate, people in other states. But we’d rather have it intimate than have a hall that was not filled.”

The show is being held at the Maine Military Museum in South Portland, a small venue but perfect for the first year. Bamboo fly rod makers, fishing authors, artists, fly tiers, guides and outfitters will sell their wares, and McCormack said the show likely will turn into more of a “who’s who” in fly fishing in Maine, with casting pros and state fisheries biologists on hand.

Even anglers who don’t have money to spend will find the show a unique opportunity to talk fishing.

The entire focus of Maine’s first fly fishing show is to raise money for the Trout Unlimited kids trout camp, held every summer and supported by donations from sporting camps and outdoor outfitters.

With less donated money in recent years, McCormack said the Trout Unlimited chapters needed a sure-fire fundraiser, and since the state lacked a fly fishing show, they took on the challenge.

“We weren’t looking to create something Maine didn’t have. What we were really looking for was a way to secure funding for the camp,” McCormack said.

For the first year, the venue is small and intimate. In the coming years, McCormack hopes to put it in a conference center where seminars can be held and a larger crowd can gather.

He has no idea what to expect in the small Maine Military Museum, where the cost was low to help guarantee success. The focus is not to sell fly fishing equipment but to provide points of discussion in gear, trips, conservation and game fish.

“The Marlborough (Mass.) show has the Boston market, and the chance to have that kind of regional pull. It was important to us to be close to Portland,” McCormack said. “What we’re hoping for, and the nice thing about the fly fishing community, is this will get people together.”

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: Flemingpph