In the spirit of Trying Stuff, Tazer and I attended the Orvis Fly Fishing 101 Class Sunday. I’m looking for a way for us to spend time together outdoors, before he gets totally teenage on me and no longer wants to hang out (so far it hasn’t been too bad). Fly fishing has long attracted me, bot because of the beauty of the sport and also the places you go. Also, gear.
It turned out to be a cold and windy Sunday morning, typical for a Midwest Spring, but it’s also realistic, in that you have to face all kinds of weather when you go outdoors. In any case, we got dressed in layers, grabbed hats and sunglasses (at least it was sunny) and headed over to the mall where the Orvis retail store sits.
After intros and some discussion on what we’d learn that day, we split up into 2 groups, one indoors and 1 outdoors. We opted to hang back and sit inside while the second group went out to learn casting. Our guide showed us how to put together a fly rod, some terminology, and 2 useful knots, the clinch (used to tie the fly on) and the double surgeon’s (used to tie two pieces of line together). Just learning those 2 knots would be worth signing up for this class. After talking about some of the fishing options here in the Midwest (bass, trout, muskie, etc.), it was time for us to head outside.
Except for the wind, it was a really beautiful day to be outside, even though we were standing in a mall parking lot. Members of the local Trout Unlimited chapter were on hand to help out, which meant we each got an individual coach. Casting a fly rod is not intuitive, and relies on more technique than bait casting, but it’s also a thing of beauty when done right. After a bit of time (30 minutes? 45? Time stands still when you’re learning to fly cast.), both Tazer and I had the timing down somewhat and had some decent casts. Like many things, it’s a matter of practice to develop muscle memory.
Unfortunately, Tazer was not as inspired as I had hoped, though he did enjoy himself enough to agree to the next step, attending the 201 class, where we actually fish a local pond. We’ll see if that gets him going. For me, it was a great few hours – learning about new gear, the meditation of focusing on the casting technique, and the idea that this sport would take me to new places got my imagination flowing. I’m holding off of buying new gear for the time being, though I’m sure it won’t be long. 🙂
Orvis offers free fly fishing classes all over the country – to see if there is a store or dealer near you participating in the program, check out the FF101 website.