According to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary fly fishing is “a method of fishing in which an artificial fly is cast by use of a fly rod….” Yes, in its simplest form, that’s what it’s about. But I’m sure everyone reading this will agree there’s much more to it than that.
Listing every aspect of the sport has filled libraries. And beyond the tools and methods there are numerous reasons to fly fish as well. Some fly fish for the pleasure of making a perfect cast. To others it’s the reward from creating the best imitation of an insect or prey with fur and feather, or synthetics that shimmer and glow. To many it’s just the thrill of watching their hand-tied fly disappear from the surface in a swirl. Then there is that test of skill where the fish either outwits you or you outwit the fish.
Beyond the cast, the fly, or the catch there is the embrace of being part of the natural world. For many of us, understanding how, why and where fish thrive and using that knowledge to catch fish is most rewarding. The phrase “the worst day fishing is better than the best day working” is a statement about that reward. It’s more valuable than money. Understanding something well and using that knowledge to engage with and land a fish is a reward we don’t find elsewhere. Others who share an appreciation of that process we call fly fishing buddies. Groups of fly fishing buddies are called fly fishing clubs.
Fly Fishers International takes it a step further by gathering clubs into regional groups to further those shared interests like making the best cast, tying the best fly and conserving the natural environment. Those are the goals of the Fly Casting Fair scheduled for April 29 at Ballinger Park. We want to help you improve your cast, tie a fly and engage with the sport and engage with FFI. Membership in FFI is one way to help support events like the Fly Casting. Please join us at the Fair April 29 and join FFI, if you are not already a member.
Greg Sisson, President of the Olympic Fly Fishers of Edmonds is helping organize volunteers for the event. Greg and I were talking recently about efforts to revive club membership after Covid. He is aware FFI recruits new members at the fair and Greg asked if his club could have a membership table at the event as well.
Greg’s idea makes good sense. FFI’s strongest base of members come from active clubs like the Olympic Fly Fishers of Edmunds. Clubs with growing membership grow the opportunity for FFI to both serve the club and recruit members to our regional mission. Our 17 affiliated and charter fly clubs in Washington make us a voice for education and conservation. When clubs grow, we grow which helps us deliver on those goals. So, we’re inviting FFI affiliate clubs to send a representative to the Fly Casting Fair at Ballinger Lake April 29 to talk about your clubs alongside FFI.
I’ve talked with several leaders of Puget Sound area clubs about the idea and the response has been warm. FFI Membership Director Larry Gibbs will have a membership table at the event. There will be space beside him where clubs can present information and have representatives talking about your club, its activities and events.
The last FFI Fly Casting Fair in August 2022 attracted a crowd of about 350 during the day-long event at Ballinger Park. This year we are hoping to host an even larger crowd. If you haven’t done so yet, head to WSCFFI.ORG and look through the roster of classes and events that take the sport far beyond “a method of fishing in which an artificial fly is cast by use of a fly rod.”
Washington State Council FFI is working to make these Fly Casting Fairs a success and help us grow our membership. And thanks to Greg’s idea, we hope your club can grow with us.
President Steve Jones
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you at FFI events in 2023.