With my arrival delayed by an AWOL windshield wiper in a hard southwesterly rain storm, I was the last to enter a room full of fly tyers.
Nobody looked up, save for Kimberly Sullivan, the always smiling Principal Biologist for RIDEM and their Aquatic Resource Education Coordinator. For an easy donation of five dollars, this group unknowingly received me and my complete lack of fly tying skills into their heads down circle.
Good fortune brought me to this class and put me at the right table.
A relative out west recently ignored my logical reasoning for never getting involved with tying my own flies since for one, they only cost about two bucks, by sending me a 50 pound box absolutely packed with everything one might ever need to catch a steel head, brown or muskie. After they tie the fly. Since the gift came with a vice to support the vice, taking a class was the equally logical and unavoidable next step. My other good fortune was to sit with Jeff Perry, President of the United Fly Tyers of Rhode Island.
Jeff is patient, knowledgeable and skilled. He has an easy way and a quick stride to a tables other side, the one where some terribly uncoordinated guy in progressive lenses was trying to wrap orange around black with some silver flair, most of which was stuck in his beard. Jeff is a very patient man.
The next class is in two week so we’ll dig into this whole fly tying thing a bit deeper next week.
Until then, thanks Jeff.
Speaking of, the RI Saltwater Anglers Association is proud to introduce the first Rhode Island saltwater license plate. It bears an image of our beloved striped bass and will be available for passenger, commercial and combination plates with five digits or less. So you get a new plate with a striper and a tax donation and your monies go to conservation, improved access and to help kids go fishing. It’s a no-brainer.
Go to http://www.rifishingplate.com to reserve yours. The State won’t start issuing them until 600 have been pre-ordered so if you want a cool way to show that you’re a fishermen and that you support local fishes, you can reserve one by using the Post Office or your computer.
Here’s possibly the best part. The plate comes with a one time plate fee of $41.50 and of that, $20.00 goes directly to the R.I. Saltwater Anglers Foundation, making it an IRS approved tax donation. The Foundation, according to the organization, is a “nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, created to preserve our marine fisheries, the sponsorship of educational and public awareness programs, environmental protection, restoration projects, and youth activity programs that foster recreational fishing, safety and conservation.”
RISAA meetings are part social gathering, part business meeting, part seminar and part stand around with your arms extended to show off a recent catch. There’s always a raffle table and one displaying namesake clothing for sale. In the summer months, there’s also one where members can sign up to win rides on charter boats operated by other members.
All that comes with a fair yearly membership and monies are always well spent. While I’m not privy to any inside politics, I can say that RISAA could be the most professionally run organization I’ve ever encountered and when the legislature or regulatory agencies are considering laws or changes to them, which might affect recreational fishermen, RISAA is always at the table.
Since we’re talking fishing clubs, early notice is hereby provided that the good people at the Narragansett Surfcasters have picked a date for their very popular Surf Day. If you haven’t spent a freezing cold Saturday huddled around tables full of plugs, rods, tackle bags, books and a smattering of fishing history, then you’re in for a mid-winter treat. Now is the right time to put a circle on the calendar and send them a check to reserve your table.