Ben Hicks, Captain of the Hastings Fly Fishers club explains how fly fishing is a peaceful, yet fun and challenging past-time for people of all ages …
> Give a brief history of how Hastings Fly Fishers was formed …
We have just celebrated our first birthday. A few of us, four I believe, got together to discuss the formation of a fly fishing club.
From there, we asked some friends who fly fished to attend a meeting to discuss the formation of a club or whether we would just meet as friends to go fly fishing. At that meeting, with eight participants, it was decided to start the club.
After some discussion we settled on the name of ‘Hastings Fly Fishers.’ This was done as we wanted a simple name with direct association to our area. Within two weeks, we were an incorporated club.
> What is your position with the club, and how and when did you become involved?
I am the Club Captain, and I do some of the casting and tying instruction. I am a foundation member and one of the original four.
I was a member of another fly club and wanted to head in a different direction. I wanted the club to be offering more to people who wish to learn to fly fish.
> When and where does the club meet?
The club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at Port City Bowling Club, at 7pm.
> What regular activities do club members take part in?
We have monthly fly tying nights on the third Wednesdays at the U3A in Warlters Street at 6.30pm and an outing on the fourth Sunday of the month. We also have several away trips every year chasing trout, carp, bass and anything else that sounds good at the time.
> How many members does the club have, and are they people from all walks of life?
We are currently up to 28 members, with more coming every month. We have not had a month yet without at least one new member.
Many are beginners, with a few who have a lot of experience and ability. I do not know the break down of men to women at the present time, but our youngest (age 5, almost 6) and our oldest (over 80) are both of the fairer sex.
Some had never picked up the long wand before becoming involved with the club; others have many years of fly fishing behind them. Some have been bait and lure fishermen before looking to taking up fly fishing.
> What fly fishing skill levels does the club cater to?
All levels are catered to, from total beginner to those of us who can throw a whole fly line or land the fly where we want it to go.
We actively encourage beginners and provide tuition for those who need it to get started or to improve their skills.
> What are some of the benefits of fly fishing?
There is a challenge to fly fishing. Anyone can pick up a spin rod and throw a bait or lure and go fishing with varying degrees of proficiency.
To get started in fly fishing, it is best to have some lessons, available for members, through the club.
There is something almost zen-like in good casting, and when everything fits together and the line just shoots out, it is very satisfying.
The challenge of learning a new skill, the graceful movement (for some) in the cast and the way the line floats out to land delicately is something you need to experience to fully appreciate.
Wading on a river or stream anticipating the strike, letting the fish go and watching it swim down to hide at your feet. Being the only one on a beautiful stream, catching a legal size Flattie or Bream on a fly you tied, enjoying the social atmosphere at the end of an outing. So many reasons to fly fish.
> What are some of the main differences between fly fishing and other kinds of fishing?
Obviously the tackle is different. Yes, you have a rod, reel and line with a hook on the end. The big difference is in the line; there is no sinker to tow the line out when you cast.
The line is thicker and heavier and serves that purpose, so you need to have some line out from the end of the rod to load the rod to be able to make the cast.
The fly is another factor. It can weigh almost nothing, and unlike a spinning lure, cannot pull the line out. The fly line is attached to the reel by a thinner line called backing, and at the front end of the fly line we attach a leader or cast. From there we attach a tippet, and then the fly.
Good knot tying is important, and with a little practice, easily mastered. There are some very expensive rods, reels and lines out there, with some costing thousands. But some good quality outfits ready to go are available from under two hundred dollars.
> Where can people interested in joining the club find out more information?
Contact Bob Dove, club secretary by email on email@example.com
> Thank you Ben.