I love fishing. I try to go fishing whenever possible, always offering to bring a family member with me . Their response, “No,” doesn’t discourage me in the least. As much as I love fishing, I’m not that good at it. When I was recently invited to attend a one day fly fishing class with Orvis, I was thrilled and cleared my calendar immediately to attend the class.
I attended the recently opened Orvis Store at Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Alabama. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive from my house, but it’s one of only three Orvis owned stores in Alabama, one of their 30 fishing schools around the country, and presented by experienced fly fisherman Chris Edlin. The class is a mix of classroom education and outdoor hands-on practice. The class began with introductions and a quick explanation of the fly fishing technique. Then we headed outside to began casting. It was a bit tricky at first, but with Chris’s help, I was casting like a pro (or really well for me) within thirty minutes.
After wearing ourselves out in the sun we headed inside for a lesson on the different types of fly lures commonly used by fresh and saltwater fly fishers. Thanks to the instructions, I was familiar with fly lures in no time! I also had a change to learn about some of Orvis’s fly fishing gear, including their fly rod case. It’s durable, portable, and has compartments inside to store lures, line, indicators, and other fly fishing gear. I know what I want for Christmas. Hint, hint, family members.
Other items on my wish list is an Orvis hand made fly rod and fly fishing backpack. The fly rods have a 25 year guarantee, allowing it to be sent in for repairs or replaced if parts are no longer available. The backpack allows storage of all the fly fishing gear, meaning no dragging around a case while wading or hiking. It’s an obvious choice for any serious fly fisher.
Our lunch was provided by a restaurant located on site at Pursell farms. After finishing my gourmet burger and side of tots, it was time for more practice casting. We learned how to roll cast, which is used when you don’t have adequate space to cast, how to “shoot” (or let more) line out, and how to make knots used to attach a lure to the leader. Instruction was given first by video and then by Chris as he guided our knot tying practice. While I was familiar with the fisherman’s knot, I had no experience with the others.
Now that I was familiar with some of the knots commonly used in fly fishing I was ready to hit the water. We loaded up our gear onto a golf cart and headed toward one of the three Pursell farms lakes, stocked with brim, bass, and catfish. The ponds are catch and release only, so there are many large fish available.
We hopped into a motorized flat bottom boat and began fishing along the shores of the lake, trying a few different spots. In no time I had caught a nice sized bluegill. With Chris’s guidance I landed the fish and proceeded to gawk at it. I had never caught a bluegill that large! We moved along down the shore and scouted out different spots where fish might be hiding.
Because we weren’t getting many bites, we learned to switch tactics and use a new lure. We used a popper, which gets its name from the popping sound it makes when pulled through the water. Sure enough, this switch gave me a decent sized bass. I caught four fish total so I’d say the class was effective! (That’s 3 more fish than I usually catch when fishing at home.) I went from never having touched a fly rod to successfully using the rod to catch fish. I feel prepared to match my gear to my target fish.
The class was exciting, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning to fly fish. I learned more in this 9-4pm class than I have with many weeks of practice on my own. To end the day, I received a neat certificate of achievement, a copy of The Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing by Tom Rosenbauer, and a magnetic button to show off my Orvis Alumni status.
Have you ever taken an Orvis class before? If you’d like to try it, please contact Orvis Schools Reservations at 866-531-6213, and mention Simply Southern Mom for a 20% discount on your Fly Fishing School registration.