Posted by John Berry on August 16th, 2012
This summer has been the busiest one ever for my wife, Lori, and me. The low water and resulting great fishing that we have been having has definitely generated a lot of guiding and private classes for us. But as the summer is coming to an end we have begun thinking about our upcoming basic fly fishing class at Arkansas State University Mountain Home. The class is scheduled for September 6, 13, 20 and 27, four consecutive Thursday nights. The class is to be held on the ASU campus beginning at 6:00 PM and ending at 8:00 PM.
The basics for the class remain the same. Every class meeting begins with detailed casting instruction in the field behind the lecture hall. All of the casting instruction is lead by Lori. She has been doing this since we began teaching our classes last year. Lori is such a natural that it seems like it is effortless for her. Of course, I assist in teaching casting. I have been teaching casting for about twenty years and we both love to do it. You are welcome to bring your own fly rod or you may use one of ours.
We spend the rest of the time in the classroom covering a variety of subjects. First we cover equipment selection. We show you everything that you will need and point out a few things that you won’t. You should not buy any gear before you attend this class. There is a serious effort to explain the various options including the most economical ones.
We teach basic knots. Knots are the basic building blocks for rigging your fly rod. They are generally the weak link in your system and are the key to success. This is something that can be troublesome to the beginner. We take a simple approach (we do everything with just two simple easy to learn knots) and give you a lot of individual attention to make sure that you get it.
We then teach you how to rig your rod for four basic ways to fish, dry flies nymphs, soft hackles and streamers. With these basics you can fish any water type from top to bottom. While we are doing this show you how to read water. Ninety percent of the fish are in ten percent of the water. We will show you where to look for them.
Entomology and fly selection comes next. This is another source of confusion for beginning angler, deciding what fly to use. We take a serious look at all of the aquatic food forms that you will encounter here on our Ozark streams and the flies to represent them. We also cover streamside etiquette and water safety. These are both important subjects that are not taught often but are very important.
At the end of every course, we ask our students to fill out a course evaluation. Lori and I each read them all carefully before we turn them into the University, in order to see if there is any way to improve our classes. While they have been uniformly very positive, there was a recommendation on our last course that we provide more handouts, so that our students do not have to take as many notes. That makes a lot of sense to us, because we cover a lot of information. As a result, we have spent our spare time this summer enhancing the handouts we have used in the past and developing new ones.
Now is the perfect time to take the fly fishing course because for the first time since it has been offered we have nice low wadable water to take advantage of and you can go fishing immediately to apply what you have learned. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, contact the Continuing Education Department at Arkansas State University Mountain Home and sign up. Lori and I are looking forward to working with you.
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