Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anticipating the Next Cast

The Kennebecasis River is a scenic river and participants enjoyed casting throughout the evening.
The air was un-seasonally cool and a steady breeze was blowing.  A swishing sound could be constantly heard as I stood along the banks of the Kennebecasis River as my eyes watched flies skit over the water and a number of birds flit through the willows.  It was an idyllic scene as participants in the Kennebecasis Watershed Restoration Committee's "Beginner Fly Fishing Workshop" practiced fly casting.

Along the parking area behind the Church center participants were able to practice their casting without getting a line caught.
I was very fortunate to aid in putting this great event together and couldn't help but smile as twenty participants lined the banks of the Kennebecasis River to try their hand at catching speckled brook trout using fly.  Most participants had never cast a fly until the night before when we all met to go over some basics at the St. John's United Church Center.  The purpose of the event was to give anyone who wished to try fly fishing an affordable and enjoyable means to do so. 

Some people learn quickly while others a bit less so but one of the best things about fly fishing is that if the fly is on the water you have a shot at catching fish.  Another enjoyable fact about fishing is that it is great just being on the water.  Many of the participants were smiling even as they untangled their lines for the umpteenth time. 

There is something simple yet difficult about fly fishing and it reminded me somewhat of golf.  I can play a whole round of golf and curse the whole way around the course but if, suddenly I make a great shot, I fall in love with the game all over.  Similarly with fly fishing, just as you are tiring of it, you'll suddenly make a great cast or see a trout turn on the bottom and you make that next cast and then another and another.

Fly fishing is healthy for you and for the fish, especially if the angler uses conservation based angling methods such as barbless hooks, catch and release, and active retrieve.  These methods also make it more sporting as it makes it harder to catch the fish.  Let's face it, in today's society if angling was about truly catching dinner, it would be easier and cheaper to go to the nearest grocery store and buy fish.  Fly fishing also forces you to observe what is going on around you.  What are the trout eating?  Where is the best trout habitat? And what kind of nymph are under that rock you just accidentally kicked?

The twenty participants at this event signed up with no illusions of being able to take a trout home.   They all wanted to come and learn the artistic skill of feeding brightly colored, floating line, with a small hook dressed to look like a fly, through tiny eyelets spaced along a thin, light rod.  When done right, there is a tight loop of line and a rhythmic swishing that result in a feeling of anticipation every time the fly hits the water.  I think many of those who were on the river tonight were not only anticipating the bite of a trout but also the next time they could try fly fishing.
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