By Andy Mekelburg
Yay, we made it to the New Year! Wow, is all I can say. In this strange period, fly fishing and PVFF provided many of the positive experiences I had this year. Of course, being outside and communing with nature is always great, but it had a special significance this year, in which we felt trapped in our homes. Once we ventured those first steps outside, then slipped on our waders and boots and made our way onto the stream, our minds cleared and we focused on the water in front of us. Catch a fish or two and you’ve built a great memory.
It’s interesting that when we are told to stay away from other people, there is still something inside us that makes us social beings and we have the need to interact with others. I feel fortunate and enjoyed the times that I was able to meet up with club members in a safe manner and share the passion of fishing. I don’t think I’m the only one, given the large number of club members who joined us on the limited times we gathered in person at the casting clinic and the trout stocking. However, our non-physical get togethers speak to the heart of this club. Who would have thought that a group organized for fishing would have adapted modern communications technology to provide an online platform to share our interest?
Fly Tying at a Distance has actually had more participants than when we met in person. Our general meetings on Zoom have been well attended and has actually provided more of a platform for our club members to interact with each other, compared to our physical meetings. It’s given me a chance to get to know our club members much better. And no better example was our virtual banquet and raffle. Everyone came through and we not only replenished our treasury, but we had a good time as well.
What does next year have in store? Who knows! From the Club’s standpoint, I’m very positive about this coming year. Not only can we build on the successful programs we launched last year, but we have some new ideas that I’m looking forward to. Larry Forte and Don Fine have organized a new advanced fly-tying group. We’ll be gathering once a month, starting virtually, of course, and each person gets to teach their favorite fly. Kevin Haney is organizing a new mentor program. We encourage those who want to learn to be matched with those willing to teach. Mike Holland is working to launch a systemic (fancy word for organizing) approach to outings. Any member is encouraged to lead an outing and Mike will work with that person. In my mind, a successful outing only needs two fishers. We may organize some specific outings, e.g., Euro-nymphers, bamboo rod aficionados, Tenkara, etc. Members who are interested in this should contact Mike.
I very much appreciate the good times I’ve had this year with the club and the members. I would list everyone, but we have over 130 members now! I want to acknowledge and thank Lynn Ashe, who is stepping down as a director. Lynn brought many excellent ideas to the club. Ruby Fine is stepping down as Membership Coordinator. I can’t say enough about the impact Ruby has had on our club, but she promised to continue in her participation.
Looking forward to a great new year and catching (and releasing) a lot of big fish!