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Fly-Fishing Clinics Continue at the John E. Pechmann Education Center

Jan 24

Written by:
1/24/2013 2:37 PM  RssIcon

 By Al Kittredge

With Jan. 19, 2013 crossed off the calendar the 2nd Basic Fly Fishing Clinic offered at the N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission's John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center is now history. It was a bit nippy in the morning but the sun came out and warmed things up nicely by early afternoon.

These clinics are very popular and fill quickly. We learned from the airlines and overbook the 35 available slots — combine that with our policy of not turning away "walk-in's" and we continue to have a full house.

We have a new curriculum that emphasizes the importance of casting. If you can't cast your fly to your intended target, you will have a frustrating day on the water.

The overview is followed by a series of hands-on stations that teach proper line pick up, timing, casting arch, power application and straight line path. Although a proper cast occurs faster then we can type it on a computer screen, we try to break down each step and practice steps one at a time.

The parallel line drill is a good way to demonstrate and practice casting arch, application of power and the importance of allowing the rod to do the work, i.e., loading the rod. Casting to the hoop requires good eye / hand / arm coordination.

Fishing for trout in Fayetteville was unheard of prior to the start of our fly-fishing clinics 10 years ago. Thanks to decisions made by the late John Pechmann, at that time the Chairman of the Wildlife Commission, during the winter months two of the center's ponds are stocked with 1,000 rainbow, brown and brook trout. Many of our participants have never seen a trout, which makes these cold water species the star attraction. We always reserve the afternoon of our clinics for fishing for this beautiful but elusive fish.

We had a couple youngsters with us today. After hauling in a nice-sized fish, one young man will have a lot to talk about when he returns to school next week.

The fishing was pretty good. Lots of smiles and "hero shots" were on display today.

These clinics don't just happen. There is a lot of planning, coordination and hard work that go into each and every one of them. The Commission provides the venue and equipment, but most of the work and all of the instruction are done by volunteers. It requires a minimum of twelve volunteers to conduct a clinic — more is better. We are blessed with a cadre of volunteers who cumulatively have a couple hundred years of fly-fishing experience. They love fly fishing but, more importantly, they enjoy sharing their knowledge and passion for the sport with others. We could not continue the fly-fishing clinics without the unselfish devotion of our volunteers.

Additional clinics are scheduled for Feb. 2, and Feb. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Interested anglers should contact Fayetteville-Cumberland County Parks and Recreation at Lake Rim, 910-424-6134.  A fee of $5 for each participant is due at the time of registration. A fishing license is not required and we provide loaner fly rods. Participants should be dressed for cool weather conditions to include a hat and some sort of eye protection (eye glasses, sun glasses, safety glasses are acceptable).

We will also conduct the final phases of Boy Scout Fly Fishing Merit Badge qualification clinics on March 2 and March 16.

The Pechmann Fishing Education Center also hosts Wounded Warriors, N.C. Handicapped Sportsmen and any military and their families on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 1 to 5 p.m. (That's February 13th next month). We offer fly tying and basic fly fishing instruction. At least half of the afternoon will be spent fishing.

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