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Local groups to host 17th annual fly casting event

Talk to experts, get fishing tips, demo new rods

Posted: May 12, 2011 - 5:08pm

It’s time to dust off the gear and fine-tune fishing skills because the fish will soon be biting.

In preparation for the season, the Raincountry Flyfishers, Alaska Fly Fishing Goods and Trout Unlimited have teamed up to present this year’s annual Fly Casting demonstration event at Twin Lakes at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18.

The public is invited to get tips from the professionals, check out new and improved gear and get one-on-one fly casting instruction at no charge. There will also be hamburgers on the grill, courtesy of Trout Unlimited.

“It’s just a good chance to meet other people who are fly fishers in Juneau,” said Tony Soltys, president of the Raincountry Fly Fishers. “Have a hamburger and chat.”

Since 1994, this event has brought the local fly fishing community together in an effort to spread knowledge and inspire those new to the sport to give it a try, Soltys said.

“It just seems to get more and more popular,” he said. “Some people want to see the new gear, and they’ll come back year after year, for just that.”

Brad Elfers, owner of Alaska Fly Fishing Goods, provides the demo rods and volunteers his staff to help out with the casting instruction.

“We’ll be bringing some new rods from Winston (Rod Co.) and Sage,” he said. “People seem to be really interested in the longer switch rods — 11 feet and longer — which seem to be especially popular. This winter, they seem to have caught on a lot more. It’s nice to see, actually. We haven’t had something like that in a long time.”

Elfers is talking about a trend in the fly-fishing industry toward longer rods that are particularly handy in Southeast Alaska. He said their long length is great for beach fishing, but they are also effective on smaller streams.

“On smaller streams you can really roll cast,” he said. “Places like Cowee Creek especially because it’s easier to manage the line.”

Elfers said the Wednesday event, as in past years, will likely attract both experienced and novice fishermen.

For that reason, Elfers, his staff and members of the Raincountry Fly Fishers will be offering up casting instruction for beginning and intermediate fly fisherman. Local fisherman Mark Hieronymus will also present a demonstration on switch-casting for those interested in the art of spey and switch-casting.

The event will be held rain or shine, as it has for 17 years.

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