Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gals on the River

I recently took my most extensive fishing trip with my girlfriend, Rachel, and realized that many people out there have experienced the same excitement and difficulties as I to introduce their significant other to the sport they love. With Rachel being in the introductory stage to fly fishing there are several things I think are important to ensure future outings.

First of all I set out knowing that I was not going to get to fish as much or as hard as I would like but that wasn't the goal of the trip. We began by fishing the Little Red River in Arkansas, a personal favorite of mine and I river that I feel confident fishing. I have had a faster learning curve that most on the Little Red due to the generosity and guidance of a local guide and friend, Tony Simmons, out of the Ozark Angler fly shop.

I have a few things that I personally found to be helpful to keep in mind when introducing Rachel to the sport I love.
1. Keep it fun. The overall goal that many forget is that fly fishing is supposed to be fun.
2. Do all the rigging up and preparations yourself. Beginners often first just want to fish and then learn later.
3. Simple language works best. Technical jargon can be intimidating and often confusing to a first time fisher woman.
4. Take lots of pictures. You only get to have your first time on the water once and that excitement is something many people would like to have to refer back to. It can also serve as a benchmark as your fishing ability grows.
5. Pack a good lunch/snacks. Taking a nice break keeps everybody happy and doesn't overwhelm first time fishers.
6. Teach some basic principles on casting, fish holding water, fighting and handling of fish, and even fly selection if the interest presents itself.
7. Last but not least, enjoy your time spent outdoors and make sure to take note of the wildlife and aspects of your surroundings other than just the fishing.

Keeping some of these suggestions in mind that I found to be useful will serve you well. For those of us who are lucky enough to share things held dear to us with the opposite sex it can be very rewarding. For a more comedic perspective on this issue pick up the latest copy of The Drake magazine and check out "A girlfriend's guide to fly fishing."

After it was all said and done Rachel said, "I would not have changed a thing about my experience. I had a great time learning about fly fishing and can't wait to try it again!"

Stay tuned for a slideshow of our trip to come.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Trout Unlimited Scores in Arkansas

This past Fall, Trout Unlimited continued filming their new television show, On The Rise, in the famed waters of north central Arkansas. The episodes took place on the White, Norfork, and Little Red rivers encompassing 2 full episodes of footage which will be shown on the Outdoor channel on Friday March 6 and 13th.

Trout Unlimited sponsors the series by showing some of the nations most amazing trout fisheries that are also under stress from various reasons ranging from reduced water flows to contamination. On The Rise host Frank Smethurst, a highly respected name in the fly fishing world, and a crew of camera and audio personnel document their experiences and Frank's catches on these various rivers. It is an exciting yet conservation geared show.

“All my life I’ve heard about the White, Norfork and Little Red,” Smethurst said Sunday night just minutes after unpacking gear. “This is going to be quite a week. You just can’t understand how excited we are to be here and to fish these rivers.”

TU struck gold, literally, when they were able to film the largest trout ever caught on camera as well as a plethora of trout exceeding 20 inches long. The large male brown trout came from the White river and was caught on Frank's first cast. It measured 35 inches and had an estimated weight of 15-20 pounds. Many of the other large fish were taken on streamer flies, shown below, on the Little Red River which will be shown the following week on the 13th.

Both episodes will surely be amazing as well as make fly fishing film history. Tune in to the Outdoor channel and for more information on fishing in Arkansas contact the Ozark Angler fly shop in Heber Springs.