The saying goes, 'there's no free lunch', but don't tell that to The Orvis Company. Orvis, a well-recognized leader in the retail fly fishing industry, will once again off its free fly fishing lessons at participating Orvis retail stores and dealers. Now in its fourth year, this program has introduced over 25,000 people to fly fishing.
Fly fishing was once largely out of reach to the masses. For one, tackle was not that available, and then there was the matter of learning to cast, considered too technical for most to master. The availability of quality gear at a reasonable cost has been solved thanks to retailers, such as Orvis. The company, founded in 1856, pioneered the retail mail order industry. But mastering the skills and techniques was a different matter. For most, one either learned from an elder schooled in the sport, or at best, tried to learn through study or by watching other anglers. Anyone who has learned on their own recognizes the magnitude of that challenge.
Enter Orvis and their concept of free fly fishing instruction. The company most likely hit a marketing home run when they decided to offer 'Fly Fishing 101'. The initial concept was to teach very basic casting and knot-tying - two of the most challenging aspects of fly fishing - to the general public at Orvis retailers and dealer locations. Orvis then threw in a gift certificate and a membership to Trout Unlimited for good measure. This first basic off water course was soon followed by 'Fly Fishing 201', a course designed to get new anglers on local and easy-to-fish water with the goal of catching fish. This year the company will kick it up another notch with 'Fly Fishing 301', a course for graduates of 101 and 201 (or anglers with casting experience) that gets them on the water under actual fishing conditions with instructors, one-on-one. Since this is somewhat akin to getting a fishing guide, some minimal charges might apply. Regardless, for the beginning to intermediate angler, it's a hell of a deal.
Orvis will offer their 2013 fly fishing classes from April through June. Check their website for a list of retail locations and dealers offering this free service. Enjoy a day learning about fly fishing on Orvis!