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Many of our clubs work with organizations within their communities to provide an educational experience for others.
The following articles were written by our Council President, Tom Gadacz.
Suncoast Fly Fishers (SFF) Casting Sessions
at Suncoast Youth Conservation Center
June 27, 2018
The weather remained good so we assembled in a grassy area for casting with 8'6" 4 weight Redington Crosswater Youth Combo rods and reels. We managed about an hour of casting to hulla hoops and then had to move inside because of a lightening alert. A short video on fly casting and loop formation by Mel Krieger conclude the session. All participants received the SFF Certificate of Completion for the Junior Training Clinic for Fly Casting.
The casting session was staffed by SFF members, Rick Warfel (SFF vice president) and members David Redd (SFF Board member), and Tom Gadacz. We wish to thank Kathy Guindon, Director, and her staff for their help. We had a great time and were impressed with the number of young ladies interested in fishing and conservation.
The E. G. Simmons Regional Park Fish Camp in Ruskin, Florida offers youths a two week experience learning fishing skills. Suncoast Fly Fishers, a FFI Charter club and member of the Florida Council, participates in the program by providing fly casting instructions to youths of the older age group (12 to 15 years of age). We had 32 anglers at this session and over the past 5 years the number of girls in each class has increased.
Most of the time is spent fly casting. We have a brief classroom session explaining fly fishing equipment and techniques and showing them different kinds of flies. The kids are paired up and help each other.
The casting stroke is demonstrated using the paint brush drill. They dip a paint brush in a bowel of water and starting at ear level, they spash their partner 6 to 8 feet in front to them using as little wrist as possible. The kids practice the paint brush drill for 30 minutes. The instructors move among each pair giving praise and a few instructions.
They cast with 5 weight 8' 6'' fly rods. Hula hoop targets are placed at 30 to 35 feet and they cast to the target. The non-casting partner observes and reinforces the elements of the casting stroke. Avoiding rotation of the wrist is the greatest initial challenge. We conclude the session reviewing a video on the techniques of the casting stroke and casting loop.
Every youth received a SFF Certificate of Completion of having completed the Junior Training for Fly Casting.
The weather was a bit threatening but cleared by 1:00 for our 2 hour session. They also did well and acquired basic fly casting skills. They received the SFF Certificate of Completion as a Junior Training for Fly Casting.
The youth fly casting sessions were staffed by SFF members Rick Warfel, SFF Vice-president, David Redd, Bill Scarola, and Tom Gadacz. We wish to thank E.G Simmons Director Matt Wynn and staff members Dan, Audrey, Jesse, and Amanda for their assistance.
President, FFI Florida Council
Member, Suncoast Fly Fishers
SFF Fly Casting Clinic 2016
Master Casting Instructor (MCI) Dayle Mazzarella demonstrating casting arch
Chris O'Byrne and Dayle Mazzerella /Master Casting Instructors (MCI) Steve Smith and Pat Damico / Ron Kelley and Jim Dowd
March 5th was warm, sunny and a mildly breezy day that welcomed the 41 enthusiastic casters to our SFF Casting Clinic at Maximo Park. This was a bi-annual event started in 2007 by Pat Damico, IFFF Master Instructor (MCI). In 2013, Pat was joined by Dayle Mazzarella, MCI, who has since taken an active role in leading these events. In addition to Dayle and Pat, participants were coached by instructors Steve Smith, MCI, Chris O’Byrne, CI, Jim Dowd, CI, and Steve Parker and Leigh West from TBFFC.
The class consisted of a course of 20 stations, one for each pair of attendees. After a brief orientation, basic steps and essentials of casting were demonstrated and explained. After choosing your partner, you went to your station to practice each task. The partners critiqued each other and the instructors rotated to each pair praising, prompting and improving each task and then moving on to the next pair. After a brief practice we returned for demonstration and explanation of the next basic task and drill.
BASICS: The basic terminology of casting arc, or angle, and casting stroke, formation and types of loops, and the 5 casting essentials (gradual acceleration to an abrupt stop, no slack, the rod tip path determines the shape of the loop, an increase in the pause as the length of the line increased and an increase in the casting arc with an increase in the length of the line) were presented.
DRILLS: Grass drills of pick-up and lay-down (PULD), false casting, feeding line, double-haul and the constant tension cast were demonstrated, explained and then practiced. Each drill had an advanced challenge for those pushing their limits. We took a break between sessions and ended about noon for a lunch. The casting instructors were available for questions and discussions. Tom Trukenbrod and his committee insured that we all were fed well. After lunch optional sessions included casting drills which most attended. They included 4 stations: 1. one-legged casting - (keep the boat from rocking); 2. accuracy (under mangroves, docks, and trout fishing); 3. distance (get that redfish!); and 4. quick casting (get that bonefish!).
Several members commented about the high quality of the session and stated they learned more in our program than they did in big name casting clinics costing $250! The purpose of the casting clinics is to give back to IFFF members by offering free casting instructions by certified IFFF instructors. Suncoast Fly Fishers (SFF) is an IFFF Charter Club and all members are required to be IFFF members. The casting clinics are free to all IFFF members and $35 to non-members. These clinics have helped to maintain existing memberships and attract new members to both SFF and IFFF, making SFF the largest IFFF Charter fly fishing club in FL. During the clinic we signed up 4 new SFF members, including a family, and six new IFFF members. A total of 41 members attended the clinic.
Thanks to all the members who helped set up the casting course, registered members, greeted new members and procured an excellent breakfast and lunch. Everyone did a great job and special thanks to our instructors – you guys were great!
Member, BOD SFF
President, IFFF Florida Council
TEACHING VETERANS TO SHOOT LINE.
October 29, 2014 was a sunny and pleasant day and to be with 14 veterans was a special day not only for them but for those of us who helped. Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) is a national program between veterans and local fly fishing clubs to introduce veterans to fly fishing.
John Craig, Tom Gadacz, Ken Hofmeister, Terry Kirkpatrick, Richard Oldenski, Ted Rich, and Alan Sewell of Suncoast Fly Fishers, a Charter club of the International Federation of Fly Fishers, assisted veterans at Bay Pines Veterans Administration Heath Care System at an outing at Ft. DeSoto, a Pinellas County Park. These and many other veterans have spent many hours with fly tying and rod building.
The trip to St. DeSoto gave the veterans on the water experience with fly fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. There was plenty of fly fishing, kayaking, and fly casting along with a great lunch. VA staff member and Recreation Specialist, Peter Jonsson arranged for these veterans and members of their family to have a great time in the sun and waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
At the March 8, 2014 FL Council IFFF Board meeting, the Council established the Florida Council IFFF "Skip Mackey" Youth Award for a Florida youth interested in fly fishing. Mackey, who passed away in November 2013, was "The Voice of NASA". He was an avid fisherman and championed teaching kids to fish. The youth must be accepted into the Bighorn Youth Fly Fishing Camp in Fort Smith, Montana. Youths 14 to 18 years of age are eligible. Twelve youths are selected to attend. The Florida Council Award will help fund transportation costs to the Camp. The Bighorn River Alliance provides funding for the camp experience. Information is available at www.bighornriveralliance.org and applications are obtained through Frank Johnson at email@example.com. Application deadline is usually March 31.
NOTE* Youth Adventure has been cancelled for 2015.
E. G. Simmons Fishing Camp
June 23, July 1, July 18, and August 4, 2014
Suncoast Fly Fishers members: Rick Warfel, Ken Hofmeister, Don Manning, Bob Morrison, Tom Trukenbrod, Tom Gadacz, and Alan Sewell
Camp Attendees: 36 youths 9-11 years old first session, 40 youths 12-15 year old second session,
40 youths 9-11 years old the third session, and 36 older youths the fourth session. Total of 152 youths.
Dave Ramirez, Camp Director and his staff organized the kids and helped with managing the group. The kids had plenty of energy and several had some experience with fly casting. We had many more girls this year than we had last year. We demonstrated casting but most of the time they were casting. The workouts with the PCV pipe and paint brush drills stressed casting form. It was a good transition from the pipes and paint brushes to the short Form rods. The 8'6" rods were good size for even the shortest kid. Even though we shortened the leader to 4' there were many "wind knots" even in the fly line. Most of them could hit the targets and modified their cast to increase the chances of hitting the target. The older group showed a greater interest in fly casting and several remained after the session for additional casting. Many had questions about fly fishing and sources for fly fishing equipment. We had great fun and a very rewarding experience sharing our fly fishing enthusiasm so much so that we hardly felt the 90 degree sun. Splashing each other during the water and paint brush drill also helped. The last session had several of the older youths who had been to last year's sessions or the one we had earlier this year and they showed remarkable casting skills. Each youth received a SFF Junior Training Clinic for Fly Casting Certificate.
This activity was support by a grant from Fish Florida and thanks to Russ Miller and Far Banks Enterprises for helping with the acquisition of casting equipment. Thanks to Dayle Mazzarella for helping develop the casting curriculum and the SFF members who volunteered to help with these sessions.
Member, Suncoast Fly Fishers
President, Florida Council IFFF
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) 2014 at Bradenton Yacht Club
The Annual Crosthwait Memorial Fishing Tournament and the Bradenton Yacht Club hosted the third annual PHWFF event on May 17, 2014 which provided some 30 veterans a day of fly fishing on the water. Hell's Bay Boatworks and other Florida captains and guides provided the transportation for the veterans and local PWHFF at regional Veterans Administration facilities provided volunteers. Larry Lurie, regional PHWFF director, organized the day's event from the 14 programs in the region. Members of the Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers, the Mid Coast Fly fishers, the Suncoast Fly Fishers, and the Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club supported the event with many volunteers and boats.
After a brief orientation the captains,volunteers and veterans headed out to fish the Manatee River and Terra Ceia Bay for 4 to 5 hours. Despite the brisk wind, many veterans had that fly line out 30 and 40 feet. A few of the veterans are also in the process of building their own fly rod in several of the VA programs. Several large snook and trout were caught and released. Other species included flounder, mackerel, sheep heads, and redfish.
The veterans returned to have lunch and exchanged their experiences. It was amazing on how the size of the fish grew with each iteration of the telling. The veterans were honored with a presentation of arms, a few speeches celebrating Armed Services Day, and a silent auction. Bay News 9 and Manatee Educational Television covered the event.
We appreciate all who volunteered their time and boats to honor our veterans and especially grateful to all the veterans who have served our country. A salute on this Armed Services Day to all veterans all over the world! You are the individuals who we honor.
Tom Gadacz and Larry Lurie