A Fly Fishing Magazine Unlike Any Other
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photo courtesy of DUN Magazine

Be intimidated by the idea of planning a women’s fly fishing clinic. Have no idea how or why you would want to host one. You’re not “qualified” anyways, right?  Right, of course not.

When the idea refuses to leave you alone, mention it to friends over beers to see if they’ll take the bait. “Would you go to a fishing clinic if I hosted one?” You’ll ask. “Yeah! What a great idea! I’ll totally go,” they’ll inevitably say in return (could be the beer talking). Of course they will. Immediately regret asking their opinion. Revert to step one.

When you still can’t get the idea out of your head, talk to the local fly or gear shop about your idea. They’ll likely give you their good graces and a pat on the back, and you’ll be on your way. If they don’t, well then move on to the next one, in the next town if necessary. It’s not usually too hard to find support for these things.

photo courtesy of - DUN Magazine

With a venue and support from a local shop, now you’ll have to give in and make a Facebook event, maybe some posters too. Plan it for at least a month out because lord knows you have some work to do before you stand in front of a bunch of women you don’t know and talk about fishing for a couple hours. Post a seemingly happy-go-lucky update in the event every week or so to remind everyone that you totally know what you’re doing and you’re not scared of messing this up. Plan it for, say, Saturday, October 17, and know you are at the mercy of whatever stupid weather gets thrown your way on October 17. Next, find a friend to help out — preferably one with a lot of experience in both fly fishing and teaching clinics about fly fishing. She will be a lifesaver.

With logistics (kind of) covered, it’s time to start the mental preparation — studying, taking notes, figuring out what you want to do in your allotted time, watching YouTube casting lessons, drinking lots of beer etc. Make sure you research every single question you can think of that might be brought up at the clinic — this is one factor that can definitely be planned for (not).

When the day finally arrives, look out the window and see that it has snowed four inches, because of course it would snow four inches on October 17 in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. See also that it is 28 degrees out. Look at the forecast and see that it’s not going to get much warmer throughout the day. Also, the wind is going to blow. Hard. Is there better weather to learn how to cast in? Nope.

When the women start trickling in, make nervous small talk and hope they don’t notice that you’re making nervous small talk. Look desperately to your experienced friend, who is sipping coffee and looking very confident about this whole ordeal. Listen to her every word, absorbing each for future clinics, which seem inevitable at this point (because it’s just getting fun!). After covering entomology, gear basics, fish handling and common misconceptions about fishing, take the women outside or to a nearby park to teach them casting (the snow hasn’t gone anywhere). Watch them question their decision to show up today.

Once at the park, attempt to eat a sandwich while your fingers freeze, while also attempting to make small talk with the wind howling around you. Find a sheltered area for casting, and begin the lesson. Hear the snow creaking beneath you for the first time in six months. Wonder why it had to snow today. Watch as five women pick up on casting, smiling and laughing and getting to know each other despite the cold air and slush at their feet.

Once the ladies have packed up and driven off (giddy both from being back in the warmth of their car’s heater and from making a successful cast for the first time), reflect on the day — were the women stoked on casting despite the bad temperatures? Did anyone complain? Was anyone actually upset that we had cold weather and four inches of slush on the ground? Of course they were stoked, and of course they didn’t complain. They showed up to learn how to fly fish, and what they ended up learning was that fly fishing is wildly unpredictable. It’s going to be cold, hot, miserable, exciting, frustrating, snowy, sleety, icy and generally masochistic. They got just a small taste of what the future will hold if they keep that fly rod in their hands. Consider the smiling and laughing that took place despite less than ideal weather. Consider also that these women will make great steelheaders someday. Plus, learning how to cast in bad conditions will only make the good conditions better. And what’s a little snow, anyways?

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