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Rhode Island’s chapter of Trout Unlimited and the South Kingstown Land Trust have organized a free Introductory Fly Fishing Clinic for Women on October 2. A few weeks later, the RI Saltwater Anglers Association is calling all surf fishing clubs to their annual challenge. For those interested in or new to fly fishing, it is priceless to have knowledgeable people help you understand some basic functions because while luck always plays a role, having a strong foundation will help you understand the advantages of fly casting and possibly enjoy some success a little sooner than others. Then maybe you can move to the beach and catch the thrill of big bass on the fly.

Glenn Place and Susan Estabrook head into the marsh

Now’s the time to catch and release trophy bass and brook trout

With the patient tutelage of certified casting instructors from RI, Massachusetts and Connecticut, you will learn how fly rods work and differ from spinning rods, the functions of fly reels and how to choose different lines for specific waters, species and conditions. Instructors like Rhode Island’s own Ed Lombardo, who leads the class, will teach fly fishing knots and terminology. If you come from a spin fishing background, or no fishing background at all, fly fishing, with all its gadgets, gear and costs of entry can be a bit intimidating but fly fishing need not be expensive or require seasons of fumbling for that smooth cast. Instructors will also cover different styles of casting, like a roll cast and a pick up and lay down cast.

You will have plenty of acres at the barn to cast over cut grass while RITU provides all the equipment. And true to their message of generosity, a healthy lunch will also be provided, free of charge. The unfortunate part of women really taking to the sport of fly fishing is that this wonderful class sold out before Fish Wrap went to print. Fortunately, Sue Estabrook is collecting names for a second class so stay tuned to Fish Wrap for the next session.

For several years, fly fishing as a business has been steady while not really increasing in participants but then women took an interest. As recently as 2017, women had become 31 percent of the almost seven million Americans who reached for a fly rod. The 2021 Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation Special Report on Fishing noted that women now make up 36 percent of the fishing community, the highest participation number ever for women, with1.8 million more women trying fly fishing than last year.

Watching a smooth, tight loop of a steady back cast finished with a straight, strong forward motion, presenting a fly easily on the surface of river or sea is an absolute joy. If you see Sue Estabrook on the Narrow River, double hauling a striper streamer into an ebb tide or perfecting muscular yet graceful swings of a long spey rod, the classic motions are examples of efficiency and targeted strengths. Much of fly fishing’s joy comes from the act of casting, being able to pinpoint a small pool, riffle or seam where spotted brook trout lay seemingly motionless, save for quick darts to the surface to slurp mayflies or cadis bodies. Landing a tiny trout or that first striper on a nine weight is pure magic that all begins with solid basics. It’s easy to read or watch Norman Maclean’s classic A River Runs Through It but before you stand on a Bigfoot River boulder, you should spend some time on the Land Trust lawn.

2019 RISAA Surfcasting Champions, RI Mobile Sportsmen and Women

Fly rod, spin rod, old school bait caster; it’s time to fish the surf

Fly fishing is not just for quiet rivers; there are big stripers to be caught on the fly. The RI Saltwater Anglers Association has announced the 2021 Annual Fall Surf Fishing Club Challenge for the weekend of October 15 and 16. This is a charity event to support Westerly’s Johnny Cake Center and runs from 6:00 pm to 7:00 am.

Since this is a club challenge, you will obviously need to be a member of a fishing club to participate. We all feel the impacts of so much technology overtaking our daily lives, which makes a few hours in the surf with friends, switching off for an hour of front seat sleep with a wake up cup of coffee that tasted far better nine hours prior, then getting back in the saddle in a cold and wet sweatshirt to fish ‘til sunrise seriously priceless. Spinning or fly, surfcasting is a special passion with rewards to rich to cover this week.

New England Outdoors Writing Association 3rd place

The surfasting tradition far predates newcomers claiming beaches can be private

All fish must be caught in Rhode Island waters, stripers and bluefish can be weighed at any RISAA certified scales. There will be a coveted trophy for highest combined weight of both species, a certificate for largest bluefish and the Charles Bradbury plaque for largest striper. We are enjoying a banner fishing year with loads of bait keeping many fish in close to the beach so this just might be your year to take home or possible take back that trophy. Plus, the Sunday morning breakfast at the Andrea Seaside Restaurant is not to be missed, After a night in the surf, cold hands will warm around big cups of hot coffee and bacon might never taste so good.

Email Ron Barnes at barnes@risaa.org to sign up or to ask more questions.

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