By Jonathan Olivier
Orvis is offering free fly fishing classes full of hands-on education and valuable knowledge beneficial to all anglers interested in fly fishing – novice or experienced.
The Bluebonnet store location is hosting Fly Fishing 101, the first level in the series of classes, on May 10, with another option to attend on May 31. Fly Fishing 201, the next step in the series, will be held on May 17 with the opportunity of attending the last class on June 7.
The classes are meant to introduce people to fly fishing by teaching the basics and offering the knowledge one may need for a day spent out on the water.
“We try to make fly fishing fun, easy and accessible,” said Lucas Bissett, Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide and Fly Fishing 101 and 201 teacher. “That’s the mantra of the whole thing. We want people to enjoy the sport as much as we do.”
The two classes are offered in a series. Fly Fishing 101 teaches participants the basics, and is broken down into an hour of discussion on topics like knot tying and rod selection, with another hour of fly rod casting instruction.
Fly Fishing 201 puts the skills anglers learned in the previous course to test by participating in an outing on a private pond in Baton Rouge. Participants tie knots, use their learned casting skills and try their best to land a fish.
“I’ve seen people go from completely novice to catching a fish that day,” said Bissett.
Though the courses have been popular since they started in 2010, Orvis Store Manager Alex Beane said fly fishing still carries some false impressions with it in the state.
“It’s a misconception that you need to be knee deep in a stream in the mountains to fly fish,” said Beane while he discussed the basics to participants at the Fly Fishing 101 class on April 26. “You don’t have to be in cold water for fly fishing.”
Fly anglers in Louisiana frequently catch bass and bream, among larger species like tuna and tarpon, said Beane, who has who has guided fly anglers in places such as Colorado and Alaska.
Despite some of the misconceptions, Bissett, who guides trips around New Orleans with his guiding service Low Tide Charters, said there is no better time to get started fly fishing in Louisiana. The area is becoming known as a destination for fly anglers looking for fishing action near the coast.
“Red fishing [in Louisiana] is considered, now, one of the number one destinations in the country,” he said. “The popularity of the sport is growing.”
And participants don’t just leave the store with knowledge, but a bag full of educational material and coupons for in-store discounts to help them accumulate equipment.
Those interested in participating in the remaining classes can contact Orvis at 225-757-7286 or by visiting orvis.com/flyfishing101.