I have had several folks say that they have not entered the Dream Trip Fly Fishing Vacation raffle because they do not know how to fly fish and they think that it is difficult to learn. It is not difficult. I am now almost 74 and have been fly fishing for about 67 years. Yes, I was 7 when I got my first fly rod, and had been learning under the guidance of my father prior to that.
As a kid, I grew to love fly fishing because you never had to bait a hook and, unless you lost a fly to a fish or tree limb, you could catch fish after fish without tying on a new fly.
When I first was taught to cast, I was usually with my father or uncle fishing for bluegills and shellcrackers. The boat would anchor about 40 feet or so from the shoreline and the bream and shellcrackers would be on-bed just out from the shore. Using a 9-foot rod, a 20 foot or so cast allowed the fly to drop near or onto one of the many spawning beds that dotted the shallows. If the fish cooperated and the casts were not sloppy, it was usually easy to take home a nice stringer of hand-sized and larger sunfish.
If you are not entering the Dream Trip because you don’t know how to fly fish, I will be happy to teach the winners fly casting and should have you catching some fish the same day. If a 7-year-old can learn, so can you.
Mack Martin of the Atlanta Fly Fishing School is a major supporter and benefactor of the Georgia Trout Camp and will give the grand prize winners free fly-casting instructions prior to the trip. John McGarity, the host of the Dream Trip, is an excellent fly fisherman and will help any fly angler become a better angler and the novice to become good. These guys are far superior to me. The following is from Mack:
The AFFS has offered and often provided instruction in all aspects of fly fishing for the winners of the Dream Trip for many years. For those winning the trip that needed help in fly casting, knots, etc., we have encouraged them to attend the school as our guests. John and I are the two TU folks that communicate with the winners. We offer the instruction for Dream Trip winners to encourage those considering a purchase but unsure of their ability to enjoy the sport. Having been on the trip and knowing exactly what to expect, we have helped many who have attended the school before going on the trip.
Currently the Dream Trip ticket sales are at 86% of our goal with only 16 days left to purchase tickets. If we do not sell at least 2,000 tickets, we may not have a Trout Camp next year. We can fund the 2023 camp — but future camps are at risk. We need your help! Go to the Georgia Council of TU website, GeorgiaTu.org and buy several or at least one chance.
Remember that you are a winner whether you win or not because you are helping these kids learn about trout, fishing, fly tying, ecology and the out of doors. Help push us over our goal and guarantee the future of Trout Camp.
The grand prize winner and guest receive: Five days hosted fishing/six nights lodging with food in Idaho for two/July 23-28, 2023; $500 total in travel expenses. They each also receive: A float trip on the Madison River, plus choice of Winston AIR2 — 3 wt-6 wt. or Alpha + 5 wt. — 10 wt. Fly reel with Scientific Anglers or Winston Energy Fly Line, a fly box and flies for the trip, (approximately 5-7 dozen per box.) Don’t forget that John is a great cook, and you will be eating some of the best food west of the Mississippi.
Some of the runner-up prizes this year are: A TFO- Blue Ribbon — 4 wt. 8’9”, 4 piece fly rod; a private fly-casting lesson including digital casting analysis and video analysis; a Witching Hour (4 hour) trip for bass on Lanier or carp on the Chattahoochee; An unguided half day fishing at Nacoochee Bend for two anglers; A half day trophy brown trout guided float trip for two on the Chattahoochee River; a Renegade 8’ 3wt plus rod and reel; a half day trip on Warwoman Creek in Rabun County; a $100 gift certificate; or one of the boxes of six dozen flies.
If you win the Dream Trip and you are from the Rome area and are unable to attend the AFF school, I will help you learn to cast. I am sure that other TU chapters have someone that can teach you also.
Please remember that you do not have to know how to fly fish to enter. These kids and future Trout Campers need for Trout Camp to continue. The Trout Camp graduates are future TU members and will work to help the streams, mountains and rivers stay as quality outdoor destinations. We need your help, so please support the TU Trout Camp.