Last Cast: Feb. 2020

It’s February, and while most non-fly fishers are thinking the season’s over until April, fly fishers know better. Yes, there are only some who will brave the elements and get out there to fish, but there are the two “F’s” we look forward to in February– fly tying and fly shows.

This is the time of year we go through our fly boxes to finally bring order to the chaos that resulted from a busy fall fishing season. I know I have flies I never used and can’t figure out when to use them, there are also those flies that have seen better days. More importantly, I try to project which flies to use this coming year. For the experts (no names) it’s easy to say: “In April I use this fly, in this month I use this one, etc.” For we amateurs, we know the familiar and comfortable ones that have either worked or is the one everyone tells you works.

After narrowing that down, the decision is what is lacking and do I have the fly tying skills to make it. Having attended beginners classes and advanced classes, I have been taught a lot of the basic ones. At each class, we receive the “ingredients” and the “recipes”, so it’s a matter of getting the material and working on it. The more you tie, the easier it gets and the shorter the time it takes to make it. My magic number must be building 20 flies, as I haven’t quite reached the easier, more efficient level. It really doesn’t matter, as you tie one at a time and get absorbed in the activity. Once we’re out fishing again, it’s very satisfying to catch a fish on your hand made fly and instead of fretting over losing a $3 fly in the brush, you just pluck out another of your favorites.

Starting near the end of January through March come the fly fishing shows. Dan Neuland did a great job accumulating all the various shows and putting together a list, which we emailed to you earlier this year. Over the past few years, I have attended a lot of them. They all are a little different, one may feature new equipment, lectures, seminars, meeting new guides and seeing new fly fishing destinations, some are more like yard sales, with vendors selling used and vintage equipment. I purchased an inexpensive waterproof pouch at one, for around $6 or 7 dollars. Just last month, it paid for itself, as the pouch accidentally (does anyone do it on purpose?) fell into Catoctin Creek. It worked, passing the test!

The best thing about these shows are the people who sell or teach at the shows and attend. In my experience, Fly fishers are basically nice people who match our passion for this sport. To me, the best part of PVFF is the people and the passion they bring to our meetings, outings and activities. It’s a great group of folks that have come together.
For PVFF, February is as active as most months, maybe more so. We have our usual beginners and advanced classes, with the muskrat nymph and shad fly on the menu, Don Fine and Dan Neuland, respectively, as our instructors. The big addition, is “Tie One On” Saturday on February 22 from 10-2. We will provide the materials, equipment if you need it, instruction and pizza. This year, the flies we make will replenish the ones the club uses for new members, the 50-50 raffle, Project Healing Waters and other activities. It’s always a good time and what else are you going to do on a cold day in February!

Our February program has Scott Scarfone, from The Upper Gunpowder Falls Brook Trout Partnership is coming to talk with us. We have lined up great programs for just about all our Member meetings through the year. Remember the April meeting is the Casting Clinic and June is the picnic.

At our January Board meeting, the group continues to work to refine our various programs. Some of these ideas we’ll share at our next meeting. Others we are still studying and open for input. As I mentioned at our last meeting, I hope to have every club member get out and fish at least once before the May meeting. If you are just new to the sport or don’t have equipment or are concerned about wading through the waters, just let me know, I have just the place and equipment for you to get a taste. The club also has a loaner rod program run by Karen Baker.

We are starting to solicit all our members to suggest outings or have ideas on how to improve our process to get us out to fish. If you have any suggestions please let me know. A number of the ones we have done in the past have been so enjoyable, we are planning to repeat them. We will let you know when and where once we have started to build the calendar with outings.

Enjoy your fishing, tying and warm thoughts for the upcoming season!

— Andy

Andy Mekelburg
Club President