As he demonstrated the fine art of casting Saturday, fly fisher Mel Waxham described his passion for what he called his “full-time hobby.”
“It can be addictive,” he said. “Once you start catching fish, you don”t want to stop. You get out there and it”s a different world.”
Waxham and other members of the Mid-South Fly Fishers club tried to impart their passion and fly-fishing wisdom Saturday to six boys from the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus.
“It”s just kind of our chance to give back to the community,” said club Conservation Director Victoria Johnson. “We want to let the kids get outdoors and teach them how to fly fish.”
The annual spring outing, now in its fifth year, brought the boys to two private big-mouth bass lakes off Highway 45 South, one owned by Sidney and Susannah Imes and the other owned by Frank Imes.
There, the boys learned the ins and outs of fly fishing from some of the best from the Memphis-based fly fishing club, including Columbus” own certified casting instructor, Sid Caradine.
As he showed the children the proper technique Saturday morning, Caradine explained that fly fishing isn”t like basketball, where you lose your ability to play over time.
“In fly fishing,” he told them, “you only get better.”
For the boys, fly fishing was a “confusing but fun” experience,” said 14-year-old Caleb Hyatt.
I”ve been fishing but never fly fishing, but I like everything about fishing,” he said.
According to Waxham, fly fishing takes more skill, but is also more rewarding.
“You catch a fish on a fly rod, it”s much more of an accomplishment,” he said.
The boys, some of whom opted to fish without flies, and fly fishers threw back the bass they caught and moved the brim from one overpopulated lake to the other.
Johnson said one of the best parts about fly fishing was just being outdoors.
“I love being out there in nature,” she said. “It”s beautiful wherever we go to fish.”
At the end of their training, 13-year-old Kimani Whitfield, who was there with his 12-year-old brother, Kimarri Whitfield, said fly fishing “was an experience.”
“Both regular fishing and fly fishing are fun,” he said. “They”re both fishing.”
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