Hello, my fellow fly fishing enthusiasts-please mark your calendars for attending the 2nd annual Fly Fishing Clinic on November 4th at the San Lorenzo River Park (behind the County building). This is an excellent opportunity for us to bring more fly fishermen into the fold, teach casting and fly tying. This is also a time for us to teach people about the critical importance of fisheries conservation, preservation and restoration. Why?
Without fishermen, there are no fish. Sounds strange, but it is true. Today, we are competing with thousands upon thousands who are moving here, who have no idea what a steelhead is, or why that is important to the natural/wild habitat in our waterways. Most look at it as a pretty place for some trees and birds, and is the source of their drinking water.
As I've been pouring over some previous work, now 20 years old, little has changed. We fishermen are the first when it comes to the stewardship of our waterways. If we cannot demonstrate responsibility, who can? Let's remember, the rivers are not just a water source, they are the calming waters, a place for peace, tranquility, and where all things wild have their place and we are the visitors. Teaching more people about fly fishing isn't just about fish-it's about all the wild places we need to keep wild, or restore to wild, while we can. A time for us to bring new generations into the fold so we can again, return to a more focused effort on restoring Coho, Steelhead, and all the other species (Lamprey eel, Stickle-back, turtles…) in our California riparian corridors.
Speaking of generations-when I learned to cast a fly line, SCFF and the San Jose Fly Casters, honed in on the excellence of one Walt Robinson. I hope all of you have had the chance of at least one time or another, to benefit from the instructions Walt Robinson imparted to you as a part of your learning this peaceful and fun casting technique that is what we do.
For more than 25 years, Walt and his wife Lois have been very active members of SCFF, San Jose Fly Casters, the Federation of Fly Fishers and many other sister clubs and organizations. Walt has been the SCFF Casting Instructor for as long, spending countless days and hours, teaching many of us the practical application of fly line casting for the purpose of fishing. To some of us, perhaps not so practical, Walt taught us ways to throw a fly line as far and as straight as is possible, or to do "casting" while potentially ever applicable for fishing, was something all too interesting because it simply applied to "line control." I remember when Walt helped me through the steps of getting my own casting certification (yes, there is one!). Something about keeping the line moving and "painting the ceiling", you can do almost anything with it-a little line, a little time, a lot of line, a lot of time. When Walt wasn't teaching all over the country, he was putting those applications to use, fishing. Walt and Lois traveled far and wide, fishing fresh and salt water with fly rod. Then both would come to the club meetings, share their experiences and help with casting. Walt is an observant instructor. Patient. He would look at you in a way that made you want to ask him for help. He would not offer unsolicited instruction, unless it was obviously needed, but he would watch and wait, and everyone most surely would ask and Walt would respond with enthusiasm.
When I talked with Walt and Lois last week, Walt decided it might be best if he retired from the SCFF Casting Instructor position. It is a bit harder to make the trek over the hill these days, and he thought it would be good for another casting instructor to take the reins if it was clear the position was now open.
During Walt's tenure, many have learned and assisted with casting while he was away, Tim Loomis, Steve Rudzinski, Kathy Powers, Elaine Cook, Sam Bishop, Barry Burt and others. Even me! For 2018, the SCFF Board is going to open this board position of Casting Instructor for a candidate who is interested in the intricacies of casting a fly line within the many applications of fly fishing. The SCFF Board has also determined to make available to that candidate the fees related to the FFF Fly Casting Certification class as a part of this position. If you, love fly fishing, casting and at the same time, enjoy teaching others during club events and holding your own casting classes - then, we would like to hear from you.
The SCFF Board has also decided to honor Walt Robinson, in perpetuity, Casting Instructor Emeritus in honor of his extraordinary contribution to the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen, and so many other people around the world, who simply love fly fishing.
See you at the club meeting, November 1st and at the Fly Fishing Clinic, November 4th. Bring your rod!
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