Saturday, July 4, 2015

Casting Lessons in New York

True to form, the local BC Flyfishers IFFF chapter achieved another first. The fledgling chapter, now into its second year, held its first fly casting clinic on Saturday, June 20, and it was a big success by all accounts. Over 10 fly fishers were in attendance for instruction and all left the event with improved skills and enthusiasm for our terrific sport.

The International Federation of Fly Fishers has long promoted casting excellence. In fact, IFFF was the first fly fishing organization to develop a fly casting instructor certification program. As fly casting is an important part of IFFF, the BC Flyfisher's board thought it only natural to start holding casting clinics. This first was a basic course, but more are sure to follow, including advanced classes and classes that explore different fly casting techniques, like spey casting.

The clinic consisted of four stations. After some opening remarks from chapter President, Nick DiNunzio, casters were broken up into four groups, and attended each station for instruction. The stations addressed the following:
  • Pick up and lay down - basic cast
  • False cast
  • Roll casting
  • Rigging & knots
Qualified instructors were assigned to each station. Instructors were Kurt Nelson, Kevin Gilroy, and Joe Swam for casting, with Bob Bruns doing rigging and knots. A total of 10 rigged fly rods from IFFF were available for those who did not have their own. Additionally, a rod rigging / knot tying station was available to help beginners properly rig their rods. The event featured video recording of casting and analysis, something very few fly fishers get to see. Such video analysis has proven to be an excellent way to improve casting and eliminate bad casting habits. 

The clinic was held at the Trainor residence located at 144 West Hill Road, Vestal. This property was perfect for casting with plenty of level lawn and an open pond for practicing roll casts (and fly fishing). The weather was a little cloudy at first, but generally very pleasant. Coffee, donuts, and bagels were provided. Future casting clinics will build on this first one - possible future casting events include advanced casting and spey casting. And based on a terrific turn-out, this entry-level class will definitely continue to be held into future years.

IFFF fly rods are rigged and ready for casting. These rods were all older St Croix 9 foot 6 weights, rigged with weight forward floating lines. Their actions were medium fast, and perfect for beginner casters.

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