Fly fishers beat winter blues with indoor casting sessions

Matt
Matt Gardner
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The long, cold winter can seem like an eternity for fly fishers anxious to try out the latest techniques and equipment on regional trout, pike and jackfish.

Enter the Northern Waters Flyfishers (NWFF), who in recent years have taken the lead in helping area fly fishers continue to enjoy their hobby outside the main season.

On Friday, the local club held the first of three indoor fly fishing sessions taking place over the winter at the Alfred Jenkins Field House that are open to the public.

Experienced fishers and novices alike are invited to attend the indoor sessions, which take place from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“About two or three times a winter, we try to kind of break up the monotony of the winter and we try to get everybody a little bit more involved in fishing,” former NWFF president Murray Peterson said.

“We did it last year and that was the first year we did it,” he added. “It worked out so well that we wanted to do it again this year.”

The next two indoor fly fishing sessions are scheduled to take place on Feb. 28 and March 21.

Approximately a dozen people showed up to the first session this week, with relative newcomers joining veteran members of the club.

“We’ve actually got two new people that have come out -- friends of one of the fly fishermen,” Peterson said.

“We encourage anybody who’s interested in coming out and trying to fly fish or (practice) casting,” he added.

Anyone new to fly fishing who steps into the field house gym at the sessions will certainly not find themselves lacking for help.

Typically, one or two veteran fly fishers will help newcomers by offering tips on how to improve their casting method.

We did it last year and that was the first year we did it. It worked out so well that we wanted to do it again this year. Murray Peterson

“We try to mix beginners with some of the more experienced guys because they’ve been there and they’ve done that,” Peterson said.

“They’ve made all the mistakes, they’ve learned about it, and so we try to encourage people to see where the mistakes are and get past it quickly.”

Casting in fly fishing is different from that of “regular” fishing. Rather than quickly snapping the wrist, fly fishers keep the wrist straight while moving their elbow back and casting out in a relatively relaxed manner.

Despite broad similarities, different fly fishers use different techniques. Where some fishers prefer to cast straight out, others cast their rods out at a slanted angle.

Asked to describe the elements of a perfect fly fishing cast, Peterson pointed to the method of loading the rod in order to cast straight out without putting a large wind knot in the line.

“We’re in a nice environment here (in the gym). We can cast really nice -- there’s no wind,” he noted.

“You get out there and sometimes you get in the wrong environment and it’s hard to do it.”

The Northern Waters Flyfishers meet every second Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the basement of the Prince Albert Daily Herald building.

Anyone interested in checking out the club is invited to stop by. Additional information is available at www.nwff.ca.

Organizations: Alfred Jenkins Field House, Prince Albert Daily Herald

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