Flyfishers tie up meeting season

Raincountry Flyfishers hold annual fly casting clinic

Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2009

This is the end of the season for the Raincountry Flyfishers. It's a fact that might come as a surprise, but the logic behind it is understandable. Why spend time in meetings when one can be out fishing instead?

David J. Sheakley / Juneau Empire
David J. Sheakley / Juneau Empire

So to celebrate the end of meeting season and beginning of the fishing season, the local club, headed up by President Tony Soltys, held their annual fly casting clinic Wednesday at Twin Lakes.

It's an event that started many years ago, as just a way to get club members together, to share techniques and tips in the - hopefully - warmer weather.

"The main thought was that it's pretty hard to get enough room to cast," Soltys said. "It just seemed natural to do it outdoors when the weather is better."

On hand were fly fishing enthusiasts, fly rods for demo and free hot dogs.

Juneau Fly Fishing Goods provided the 6 and 8 weight demo rods for use. Employees and guides from the local fly fishing shop also led two beginning fly casting courses for anyone interested.

Owner Brad Elfers said the clinic is just a great time for anyone, young or old, to pick up a few pointers.

"It's just a neat time. (The event) attracts the casual participant, they'll come out and get a free lesson," he said.

Mark Heronomous also was on had to demonstrate a relatively new technique to the fly fishing world - switch casting. The cast is a single-handed hybrid between a traditional roll-cast and a two-handed spey cast and utilizes a bit of both to provide the angler with a powerful tool that won't get tangled in overhanging trees or bushes.

Solty's also did a bit of demo. He illustrated the Belgian cast, which in simple terms is the horizontal brother of a standard overhead cast - with a bit of tweaking and rounding out. It's great for dead-drifting a weighted fly.

Of course, Soltys said, the event goes beyond the idiosyncracies of casting.

"It's just a chance for a flyfisherman to get out and talk to others. It's a social thing," he said.

And while the weather kicked up a bit of wind, all and all the event was a sunny success.

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