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May 17, 2011 > Learn the art of fly fishing

Learn the art of fly fishing

By Mauricio Segura

Fly fishing evokes images of a peaceful wilderness environment, tall redwoods casting their shadow with the setting sun, an eagle high above dancing in the currents of mountain winds, deer grazing in a distant meadow, and you, wading in the calm waters of a majestic river casting your line and cares farther away with each whip of the wrist. Sounds nice, you think. But I've never been fly fishing or even know how. Well, Saturday, May 21 will be your day to learn.

Mission Peak Fly Anglers (MPFA), in cooperation with the Northern California Counsel Federation of Fly Fishers, will be hosting an indoor/outdoor "Introduction to Fly Fishing" event at the Niles Banquet Hall in Fremont. For just $10 (children 12 and under are free), eager beginners as well as experienced fly fishers will get to interact and acquire tips directly from various professionals.

A water-filled blue tarp will be laid outside for people to learn the art of fly casting. "There's a certain science to it," says MPFA President Dean Lewis. "It requires a little more skill than regular bait fishing, because you have to think about how to imitate something that naturally occurs in the water to entice the fish to bite." The pros will be on hand to teach all the steps required to maximize each person's skills.

About half a dozen fly tiers will be set up inside the hall providing step-by-step instruction on tying your own fly lures. Each instructor will be tying a different type of lure, so people are encouraged to rotate through all of them. Materials will be provided and finished lures will be free to take home.

Also inside, typical fly fishing equipment will be displayed for those who have questions on what they would need to buy when taking up the sport. Lewis says, "Fly fishing is like any other hobby. You can do it fairly inexpensively, or spend a pretty penny like most professionals do." From rods, lines, gear, boots, and essentials, someone will be available to explain each item and answer questions.

The Mission Peak Fly Anglers association was founded in 1976 and currently has approximately 65 members. They occasionally organize fishing trips to rivers and lakes throughout the state and help promote the sport whenever possible in the community. Membership is open to anyone by attending one of their meetings held at the Silliman Center in Newark every fourth Wednesday of the month from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. A single membership is good for an entire family household for $40 a year, and is just $20 for anyone who becomes a member at Saturday's event.

Early in each school year, the group sponsors what they call "Trout in the Classroom," where they put trout eggs into local elementary classroom aquariums. For six weeks they monitor the eggs, as well as educate students on the cycle of life using power point presentations and films. Once the fish hatch and reach release age, they are taken to Quarry Lakes to live in their natural habitat. It's a great experience for the children.

The allure of fly fishing, according to Lewis, is the chance to enjoy nature which normally can't be done with regular bait fishing. Wading in the water, climbing over boulders and logs to find the perfect spot in a highly scenic area -- there's just nothing like it. "And most of us prefer the catch and release aspect," adds Lewis, which is ideal for those individuals who have always had an inkling for the sport of fishing, but don't like the idea of killing fish. Bottom line: "If you have any kind of stressful job, take the time and go fly fishing for just a weekend. In that little time, you will see that all the stresses in your life will simply fade away," says Lewis.

An Introduction to Fly Fishing
Saturday, May 21
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Niles Banquet Hall
37270 Niles Blvd., Fremont
(510) 792-8291
Cost: $10 (free for ages 12 and under)

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