Casting for fish – the practice rounds

Tony Soltys, president of Raincountry Flyfishers, has been honing Juneau’s flyfishing technique since 1993. This spring, he’ll offer a round of lessons for beginners,

“There’s a lot of things, when you go fishing, that other people can do for you, like find places to go, and the fly to use, and the gear,” Soltys said. “But you have to be able to fly cast yourself, because nobody can do that for you when you’re flyfishing.”

This spring, he’s offering three rounds of classes, each with two sessions, through Community Schools. The class sizes have been restricted to ensure everyone has room and individual attention, Soltys said.

Anyone who comes to the workshop should bring their own fly rod if they have one, though it’s not necessary to own one. Soltys said he’ll bring a modern fly rod for the class to use, and will also evaluate rods upon request.

“This opportunity can be used to see how their rod casts compares to a modern graphite rod,” he wrote in an email.

They’ll also talk about casting conditions, and how it affects the cast.

“Spots with little room for back casts, or with terrible wind directions are often not fished much but hold many fish with a false sense of security,” he wrote.

“Unfortunately fly casting is not intuitive and to cast incorrectly causes problems and is counterproductive. We will work to learn the proper rod arm techniques to avoid rotator cuff and tennis elbow problems so common to fly casters using improper techniques.”

He will also cover different types of casts.

The class is paced for beginners, but Soltys can help those at any level to perfect their technique. He especially welcomes kids 12 and older, accompanied by an adult.

The workshops run Feb. 16 and 18; March 15 and 17; and April 5 and 7. Each round costs $25 and runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., either at Floyd Dryden Middle School or Mendenhall River Elementary School. The cost of admission also buys students a free year of membership in the Raincountry Flyfishers, which meets twice a month in the winter and “provides a good opportunity to meet other kindred spirits,” Soltys said.

Sign up for the class at

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