People say that fly fishing is "a dying art." Unfortunately, most people that say that do nothing to resolve the issue- and nothing to check up on it at that. When I hear people express this issue, I am not remorseful, because fly fishing is growing, and it is larger than it ever has been, and this is especially true for the Louisiana region. Since I have began fly fishing, I have heard about the slow pick up and lack of interest for fly fishing in Louisiana. I have been keeping up with the flow of information; it is important to me to know that my passion is surviving.
It took a lot of work to start my club. I took the idea from the camp I go to in California (FishCamp by The Fly Shop). They teach all aspects of fly fishing to children from the ages of 8 to 16. I did not see why I shouldn't try to institute the same kind of concept at my school. I had been a "Counselor In Training" at camp by this point and I new what material needed to be taught as well as how to teach it. After all, teaching the children was so easy! Fly fishing in my area at this time was still slow, so why not try to give it a boost? I started my fly fishing club and had a decent amount of interest. Until the end of Sophomore year, I taught 12 students as many aspects of fly fishing that I could cram in their minds, and they got it. I took them on fishing trips and they slammed fish left and right. I shared with them the importance of conservation and "catch and release," and they adhered to it. It was a beautiful sight to see my passion growing before my very own eyes- by my hand.
After only a few months prior to starting my club, I started to hear word of a boom in interest in fly fishing in Louisiana. I was surprised to hear that things were doing so well, and getting even better! The Fly Fishing Film Tour was held at the Orvis Retail store in Baton Rouge this early this year, and of course i was in attendance. Tickets sold out. There were seasoned fly fisherman mixed in with avid conventional fisherman who had only heard a few words of the art, and jumped on the opportunity to learn more about it. Most of them ended up walking out of Orvis with a fly rod outfit or the intent to come back and buy one. They could go to Orvis or Bass Pro Shop on Saturday and receive free fly fishing and fly tying instruction. with this kind of opportunity, who wouldn't want to play a part in such a wonderful hobby and lifestyle?
Since I have started Junior year, fly fishing has been more popular than ever before in Louisiana, a new fly shop opened near my house, and I have 40 High school students that have a passion to learn how to fly fish. Many people may say that fly fishing is a dying art, but I say otherwise. I do not believe that my club is fully responsible for the growth in popularity of fly fishing in the area, but I do believe that if we all do a small part to expand our passion, we can be responsible for the growth of something much larger. You know as well as I do that fly fishing is much more than a hobby: it's a lifestyle, a vocation, a way to save the world, a way to preserve beauty. It is religion, conservation, a love, and a passion. Just imagine how much greater the world would be if more people could be a part of this. Go out and do your part. Share your passion and make the world a better place.