Have you fantasized about fly fishing after seeing A River Runs Through It? Well then you have a lot in common with the women who joined us on June 25th in Lee, MA for an introductory clinic with Berkshire Rivers Fly Fishing. A common thread during introductions was being inspired by this film as well as an interest in the meditative aspects of fishing, and a desire to learn in a supportive environment.
When Harry Desmond owner of Berkshire Rivers Flyfishing quoted the final scene of the movie on the fly, we knew we were in good hands. Harry shared “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” and went on to explain how there is so much more involved than just casting a hook into a river and catching a fish. He explained how the insects, the fish, the ecosystem, and the river all come together in this sport and it was his goal to share that concept of oneness with us.
Eight women from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York came together on the banks of the Housatonic River in Lee, MA to learn introductory skills. We split into two groups to focus on different skills.
First, instructor Heather Pinkham lead my group to the river bank to learn about the life cycle of the flies. She helped us understand where to find our insect pals living under rocks. We learned about insect eggs, nymphs, and flies and were amazed at what could be easily found under rocks in the stream bed.
Next, we learned three knots used to tie the flies to our leads. Plenty of questions were asked and answered about knots, gear, and the different kinds of flies that are used in different situations.
Meanwhile, owner Harry Desmond took the rest of the group to the river. After gearing up in stylish waders, the women learned and practiced casting techniques. One by one, Harry waded back and forth to offer individual tips for everyone to improve.
After everyone had plenty of time to practice their new skills, Harry led a brief talk on river reading, how to choose what to fish for and some of the moral and ethical issues around sustainable fishing. We finished of the day with a cookout lunch and hung out by the riverside sharing laughs and getting to know each other.
When asked about her day Jamiee Rondeau of Peterborough, NH shared “I had always been super intimidated by fly fishing, it was awesome to be able to participate in an event where you could ask questions openly without embarrassment, and learn a new skill in a real hands on way.”
Special thanks to our partners Berkshire Rivers Flyfishing, COOLA sunscreen, Ecolips, Essential Wipes, and Treeline Coffee who all supported this event through donating time and/or giveaways to our participants.