Impressions of the 2022 beginner fly fishing course.

In recent weeks nine BCAA members have attended a beginner fly fishing course. The course was in five sessions totalling twelve and a half hours in all. Here course member, Mike Latham, gives his impressions of the course, it sounds like it was a great success.

Course members receiving instruction
Steve Cheetham giving the benefit of his long experience at the wet fly session.

Over Inghey bridge we came. The 2022 BCAA fly fishing intake. Stockingfeet waders, 80s wellies, bobble hats, dear stalkers, fingers and thumbs, apprehension, excitement and ready to learn at the beginner fly fishing course.

The pathway was clear; five modules, each self-contained but building incrementally so that by week five we would have the skills and knowledge to make a fist of catching a trout.

First the basics – fish welfare, rods, reels, line, knots and flies and the first signs that things might not be quite be as expected. Change flies within sessions (so not one for Spring, one for the Summer and a black chenille if they don’t work?), consider a tippet dispenser (do tippets come in different sizes?) and cover your shinny zingers (your what?).

Casting practice
The section of flooded field was useful for casting practice.

Casting was clearly the skill we had to master if we were ever to place a fly before a fish and, thanks to Tony and John, we left the first session with our eye-sight intact and arms in recovery mode from throwing darts, hammering nails and washing windows. If medals were to be distributed at this stage…

Dry, wet, nymph, dry-dropper and streamer sessions followed with each so thoroughly and convincingly covered by Philip that we departed in no doubt that that day’s offering was the method to beat all others.

After five weeks we were unrecognisable. Aware that all methods are successful in the right place at the right time, hitting targets at 10 meters consistently, grass stained knees from pool peering and happy to debate the advantages of the davy over the clinch and whether to klink and dink or Czech nymph.

Fly fishermen receiving instruction
Back to a sit down session with Phil Bailey.

How on earth had we got here?

Firstly, the course structure builds progressively so, as long as one continually refers back to previous learning, awareness deepens and understanding is enriched. Secondly, casting tuition is personalised, honest and discrete – disasters there are aplenty but each is followed by analysis to aid progress in a friendly and informative way. Finally, the underlying theme of understanding trout; their food, fears and foibles underpins everything else so that thinking at the waterside is logical.

But the ultimate strength of the course is the people one meets. Philip for his leadership, humour, knowledge, delivery and mercurial watercraft, John and Tony’s casting sessions, committee members and experienced anglers calling regularly to offer on the water guidance and Jim for overseeing all things BCAA.

And then there’s the class of 22. The race is on to see who posts the first pounder!

Fly fisherman
Chasing the pounder!