The spring weather could not have been better on the morning of April 15th when SheJumps hosted a 2-hour introductory fly fishing class in North Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park.
In collaboration with Redington fly rods, SheJumps took to the field with 28 ladies to learn the fundamentals of fly fishing. We were glad to see that so many ladies came to participate in the day’s activities and to learn the basics of a sport that was new to most in attendance.
Our expert instructors Brita Fordice and Karlie Roland both local Northwest fishing guides who have years of experience on the water, spent the first part of the morning going over gear options which would enable the ladies to get out and catch some fish in their local waters. Amongst the topics covered were waders, fly rods, reels, fly lines, and basic rod set up. As this portion of the class was lecture style, the ladies were encouraged to take notes and ask questions as we covered a variety of topics such as ‘What makes the booties of waders waterproof?’ and ‘What type of fly should I use for fishing the local beaches of the Puget Sound?’
During the second part of the introductory class, we spread out in the field to get some hands-on experience with casting a fly rod. We practiced casting the fly line to make a D-loop and our 10 O’clock and 2 O’clock rod positions as we casted line back and forth through the guides of our fly rods. We learned techniques for holding the rod and not ‘breaking our wrists’ while casting, referring to the position of our wrist and idea that the rod should be an extension of our arm with little bend in the wrist. Many of the ladies had some natural talent for casting while others worked at it and laughed when their lines coiled up into wavy loops close to their feet. It was smiles all around as we picked up our rods again and flung the line back over our shoulders in the attempt at perfecting our next cast. After every 3rd ‘false cast’ we were sure to set the line down in the grass to replicate the offering up of our flies to rising fish. As we were told by Brita and Karlie, ‘You can’t catch a fish if your fly isn’t in the water’.
After casting, fly boxes were passed around so that we could check out the patterns in a rainbow of colors and sizes. We were given streamer flies and tippet supplies and took a moment to learn the basic Surgeons Knot for tying tippet to our leaders and the Improved Clinch Knot for tying our fly hook to the tip of our line. It was fun to learn the intricacies of maneuvering our fingers over the ultra-small diameter tippet line to form the perfect loop before pulling tight to secure the knot and checking our work.
Our instructors gave us some names of local fly shops in the Seattle area and encouraged us to visit our local shops to talk with the very informative staff. We learned that there are a number of fly shops in the area that are very welcoming to newcomers and eager to assist with helping people navigate through the details and methods of fishing for a variety of different species of game fish. Each of the ladies also signed up for receiving updates on local fishing events from Karlie’s women’s fly fishing program through Emerald Water Anglers fly shop in West Seattle. For more information on these programs check out this link.
It was an exceptionally fun day at the park and some of the ladies even got together afterwards for a pint at Peddler Brewing to chat about fishing with each other and with the instructors.
I’m sure that many of the ladies were thinking just as I was, that we can’t wait get out on the water and continue to practice our skills in the hopes of sending out that perfect cast and hearing those magical words ‘fish on’.
Far Bank Ent.| Softgoods Product Developer / SheJumper
Photo Credit: Julie Cyr
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