Fly fishing diaries | Fly Fishing 101... again

No, I didn't repeat the Fly Fishing 101 class because I failed it the first time (just in case you were wondering). No, we figured I needed all the tutorials I could get (especially since this class is free from a lot of fly shops). This time the class was taught by the Orvis folks in Bellevue. We had two teachers with very different teaching styles, and students with wildly different levels of experience (which I find to be very helpful, if you're the learn by watching type). 

Most of the class was a refresher of what I learned at Reds, but I also learned a couple of new techniques. Maybe I missed these the first time around. Or maybe the different teaching styles made them sink in this time around.

First off, they had us do one complete cast: back, forward, ending with our rod tip right down to the grass. Then do it again. And again. Just those three movements. Didn't really explain why, though. (I learned that in FF-102).

As we practiced our casting, one of their long-time customers (who was helping out with the class) walked around to each of us, and gave us pointers. He watched me cast, then stood right behind me and put his hand over mine, and went through the cast again. Doing this, I could feel the movement, the abrupt stops at the correct 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions. But the best tip was this:  he told me to keep my casting hand where I could see it.  If I can't see my hand on the back cast, my rod tip is going too far back. One more thing to think about... but figuring out all the bits and pieces that make up the cast is how you (I) learn to do it right. This was a great tip.

Most fun of all, though was getting to "fish" for big velcro-covered cardboard fish, using "flies" of folded-over bits of velcro tape attached to the end of our leaders. I'd always wondered whether it would be hard to learn how to cast my line into a very specific place on a river, and stressed about it, actually. But I didn't expect that having a target to aim for would make this easier. I found myself  relaxing into a rhythm of casting and stripping line to try and get my "fish" out to the target, and even though I never hooked the fish, it was sure fun to try.

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