I can’t believe its been merely 14 months since I started fly fishing after lessons at the Wulff School up on the Beaverkill. Since then I’ve caught hundreds of fish on the fly including brook, rainbow and brown trout, small and largemouth bass, all manner of panfish, and even striped bass and flounder! Being a consultant for the past year gave me the freedom to fish countless waters in the NE. There isn’t an hour on the water, however, when I’m not learning something new. I’ve been fortunate to gain my interest in the internet-age where a proliferation of writing online, video and forums have sped me along in my education. Of course there’s no substitute for studying the classics and I’ve slowly expanded my bookshelf with classic tomes of the sport too, from Ray Bergman’s TROUT to Tom Rosenbauer’s The Orvis Fly Fishing Guide.
When I got into the sport, I was so enthusiastic that I practically shoved my brother into free classes run by Orvis, and he quickly became a devotee as well. Now, Orvis has launched the Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center online with articles, stories, lessons and videos from the number one outfitter in the game.
Beginners have the chance to check it out, study and get familiar with the sport before they ever pick up a fly rod. To some, the sport may seem like the “gentlemen’s” game but in fact its roots are very blue-collar and now men, women, kids of all kinds fly fish. It was only recently in the mid-20th century when fly fishing went through a terrible period of privitization from industry barons who bought up prime waters to prevent others from fishing them (and still do today) that created the snob perception. Orvis, along with a number of great new brands like Rise, Reddington, and Temple Fork Outfitters also have plenty of entry-level, price conscience options that will serve the beginner very well. They participate in clinics and state-run events to grow the sport of fishing overall, as well as numerous conservation efforts. The Orvis Learning Center is free, for example. With fishable water ever really only a short train or bus ride away–don’t let the big river syndrome fool you–great bass ponds are in every neighborhood. In fact, did you know that the body of water with the highest concentration of largemouth in NY is in the middle of Prospect Park in Brooklyn? There’s no excuse not to give it a try.
Like many beginners, I’ve found plenty of other pleasant surprises from becoming a fly angler. I’ve met new friends on the water, seen unbelievable displays of nature and its wildlife, and lowered my blood pressure to boot. Yeah, maybe I have to go the extra mile on date night or throw something extra on the “honey do” list, but it’s worth it for moments like this. Yep, that’s yours truly on the Picture of the Day!