Get hooked on fly fishing
Note: The latest in a series of stories about classes at the Northumberland County Council for the Arts and Humanities' new arts center.
SHAMOKIN - For Mike Shaffer, fishing is relaxing but not nearly as much as the preparation to go.
Shaffer has been tying flies for 43 years, and now he's prepared to teach others this unique skill at the Kallaway Center for the Arts during a four week class.
Fishing came first for Shaffer. As a youngster, he learned the skill from a man who lived down the street from him, which came in handy as he frequently fished with his friends.
"It was something to do," said Shaffer.
He began with simple flies, all four of which he'll teach to students of his class: a wet fly, a dry fly, a streamer and a nymph.
To make flies, Shaffer uses a variety of feathers and string, as well as an assortment of other household items, like drawer grip liner.
He said he has an endlessly growing collection of materials to make into flies
"If you're looking to tie flies to save money, you probably won't," said Shaffer.
Instead, he focuses on creating increasingly intricate flies. Recently he's become fascinated with tenkara, a form of Japanese fly tying where the fisher uses only a rod with a line to fish rather than a reel.
Some of his more elaborate flies look like tiny ants, worms and mice. He attempts to "match the hatch" by mimicking the freshly hatched flies, which vary in color by season.
He sells many of his creations on Ebay to other fly fishing enthusiasts, but still takes joy in fishing with his own flies.
"It's the skill to be able to do it and the excitement of catching it on your own fly," said Shaffer.
Shaffer's class runs weekly from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays beginning July 10. The class is $40 and includes all materials. Students will also have the option of purchasing a kit so they can continue projects on their own at the end of the course.
For more information or to sign up, contact Jeanne Shaffer, executive director of the Northumberland County Council for the Arts, at 570-850-9121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.