Learning to Fly Fish
A couple of months ago I found myself walking around Santa Row (a neo-city shopping area on the higher end of the scale) and I came across an Orvis store. They had a sign on the door advertising fly fishing classes and that I should walk in to inquire. This is going to be a longer post but there is a question I need answering at the end…
A background digression
Ever since I was a kid I wanted to learn to fly fish. It always looked so elegant. I was a bait fisherman (with the occasional lure thrown in from time to time) for most of my childhood. I loved going fishing. My friend Tommy Sullivan and I would mix up a batch of dough, have my mom drive us to the park. She would head home and we would spend most of the day hanging out and just catching carp and sunnies. I had a subscription to field and stream magazine and would devour all of the fishing tips as soon as it came. I saw those crazy pictures of people fly fishing and really wanted to try it. But all my fishing was self-taught. My dad was from Iran so he didn’t really think of fishing as an activity you do and my mom fished a bit when she was a kid but wasn’t interested anymore.
From the time I entered high school until the time we moved to New Haven CT ( which is about 20 yrs) I just didn’t make an effort to go fishing. With the kids around I really wanted to get them into fishing and it is quite easy in CT. There are tons of little ponds and not that many people that fish, so you can easily find a spot where the kids can have something on the end of their line besides bait. One time we went to this little pond and my entire time their was spent putting worms on hooks and taking fish off hooks. As soon as the bait hit the water the sunnies would grab it. The kids had a great time.
Since New Haven is on Long Island Sound, and I was finally making money of my own, I decided to take up surf-casting. It was another one of those activities I saw in the magazine when I was a kid but I had nobody to take me. So I got a surf casting rod, a throwing net to catch bait fish, and then a lightweight rid to catch the young bluefish (called snappers). It was AWESOME. I had so much fun and I loved just being on the water casting and sitting. Every once and a while I might catch something and that was even better.
Okay, now you have a brief background into my fishing experience.
Back to Orvis
When I went into the store and asked about the lessons it turns out they were FREE!!!!! You don’t have to ask me twice for that. I put my name on the list to be contacted for the 101 class. I just had the class today and I have to say it is a lot of fun but I am going to need more practice. Another pro tip, even if you watch “A river runs through it” the night before, it is still hard to do (but you will also be reminded what an incredible movie that is).
There were folks from the Flycasters of San Jose there along with the Orvis staff and everybody was helpful and kind. They took us to a park and had us practice casting with some velcro on the end of our line. By the time the hour of practice was up I had a few casts that looked close to right but I know I need a lot more practice. I also want to go out and give it a try – either in one of the lakes by my house or down in Santa Cruz off the beach.
I need to get a setup and Orvis seems to have a good deal (along with some coupons they gave us today). Can anyone with fly fishing experience please tell me if this is a good deal:
The Streamline freshwater combo – 5 weight
The Clearwater – 5 weight
Or do you have a better suggestion for a combo. I would like to get started for less than $200 on Rod and Reel.
They also recommended a Mountain Guide lanyard for a nice way to carry your essential gear. And then I would need some flies – I could use some recommendations on that as well.
Please either comment on the items I link to or give me other great suggestions. I do not want to spend a lot but I also don’t want to be frustrated by non-functional tools. Any advice you can give a budding fly fisherman would be much appreciated!
Thanks and may your lines be tight!