Sunday, March 14, 2010

How-to trout seminars teach fly fishing skills

From the Post Gazette:
Align CenterHow-to trout seminars teach fly fishing skills Sunday, March 14, 2010 By Deborah Weisberg With trout season just around the bend, anglers may want to catch two seminars next weekend aimed at helping them land fish. L.L. Bean is sponsoring a trout-fishing expo at its Ross Park Mall store Friday through Sunday, while Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimited will hold its annual "how-to" day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Bede Church in Point Breeze. Both events are free and open to the public and will cover tackle selection, knot-tying and "reading" water to find fish. They also will offer hands-on casting instruction. Although L.L. Bean will include some spin-fishing activities in its kids-only program, the focus of both venues is fly fishing, beginning with insect life or entomology. "Fly selection is one area that novices, in particular, find challenging. When do I select an emerger instead of a dry fly? When do I fish a nymph?" said L.L. Bean casting instructor and seminar organizer Bill Nagle. "So we talk about what trout eat, the life cycle of bugs and the different rise forms of fish when they take a certain fly." Nagle will use a "match the hatch" storyboard and slides of stream anatomy to explain how fly patterns correspond to aquatic insects by color, size, profile and presentation on the water. "I tell people if you put 10 seasoned anglers in a room and ask what fly they use, generally the top three are Pheasant Tail nymphs, Parachute Adams, and olive Woolly Buggers. Then they name other basic attractor patterns, like Elk Hair Caddis, Royal Wulff, and Hare's Ear nymph," Nagle said. "Those six flies are all you really need to do well on a stream. Of course, a perfectly tied fly won't catch a fish unless it's properly presented. "You shorten the learning curve considerably if you put in time on the stream with an angler-friend or a guide," he said. "My money's on the guide, because he's a pro." L.L. Bean will use its 10-foot smallmouth bass aquarium to demonstrate how fish forage. "The fish can get aggressive, so we hand out raincoats," Nagle said. Partnering in the L.L. Bean weekend are Venture Outdoors, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Family Ties the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau and Reel Recovery, which sponsors free fishing retreats for men with cancer and will be accepting applications for the June 7-9 retreat on Yellow Breeches Creek at Boiling Springs. Reel Recovery is also asking folks to donate flies during the seminars -- L.L. Bean will match each one with a similar fly. The St. Bede's seminar is a smaller-scale event, which allows for plenty of one-on-one attention from regional anglers including Scott Loughner of Rilton, a casting disciple of Lefty Kreh. Most of the after-lunch hours will be devoted to casting practice on the church lawn, while the morning's focus will be tackle and knot-tying techniques with demonstrations on a giant hook and thick strands of yarn. "The knot you use to tie on a fly is often the difference between landing or losing a big fish," said seminar organizer Bob Bukk. "Finding a knot you can tie with ease on the stream, especially as you get older -- whether it's the clinch knot, the Orvis knot or any of half a dozen others -- is like finding your soul mate. It's something you know you can count on." Saturday's St. Bede event, which includes a free lunch, has grown every year and is open to adults and kids, veteran anglers and novices. Cultivating an interest in fly fishing is in keeping with the Trout Unlimited mission of protecting coldwater resources, in that anglers make good fisheries stewards, Bukk said. "People shouldn't be intimidated about fly fishing. If you stick to basics, at least to start, you can add to your tackle gradually." As a follow-up to the seminar, the Penn's Woods West bus trip to Spring Creek in Centre County is slated for June 10. Cost is $45 per person, $50 after May Read more:

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