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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost thirty students showed up to participate in the 1st JEPFEC Fly Fishing Clinic on January 13, 2007 at the JEPFEC. Some drove from as far away as New Bern and Wilmington NC. Many also came from the Raleigh - Durham area. All came to learn a little about fly fishing and to have some fun. As usual our volunteers gave unselfishly of their time and expertise to make the clinic come off without a hitch.


This is either the 5th or 6th year that the NCWRC has offered fly fishing clinics at the Fayetteville Fish Hatchery, which was recently renamed the John E. Pechman Fishing Education Center. Each year the NC Wildlife Commission brings in 1000 trout from one of the mountain hatcheries and puts them into two ponds so participants can fish for trout once they have rotated through a series of instructional stations where they are familiarized with the basics of fly fishing. These stations include a general overview followed by sessions on casting, knot tying & rod assembly, environment and fishing ethics, and rules and regulations pertaining to trout.


The clinics have been a smashing success with the public and are usually filled soon after the dates are announced.


Today's clinic included at least three grandfathers who used the occasion to spend some quality time with their young grandsons or granddaughters. We don't usually allow children under the age of 12 to participate but in this case the grandfathers all took personal charge of their grandchildren and it worked out just fine.


My guess is that both grandfathers and grandchildren will cherish the memory of today's outing for the remainder of their lives.


Everyone caught fish. Some caught more them others, but everyone caught fish.


Nothing puts a smile on the face of one of our volunteer instructors like a beaming student who has just caught her first fish.


I can't say enough good things about our group of dedicated volunteers. The Director of the JEPFEC has overall responsibility for the program. He has allowed me to pretty well use my own discretion in setting it up. I have the reputation of running a pretty tight ship, (some would say, "He's a benevolent dictator"). We have tweaked the program over time and it is still a "work in progress". Many of the suggested changes come directly from the volunteers. They make me look good. For that I am grateful and can say without reservation that without a dedicated group of volunteers these clinics would not be possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great report Al. I'd like to try to put that on my calendar next year to attend. Looks like everyone had a great time. :)
No need to wait until next year. We have two more Basic Clinics scheduled for Jan 27th and Feb 10th. There will be an Advanced Clinic on Feb 24th and a Warm Water Clinic on Jun 9th. We are also doing Boy Scout Fly Fishing Merit Badge qualification clinics on Mar 10th and Mar 17th.

Call Lake Rim Park @ (910) 424-6134 to reserve your spot. I think most slots are filled but there may be a few spots left and folks also cancel so keep checking back even if they say they are all filled up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How about posting some particulars here for folks interested. Like how much does it cost, do you need to bring your own gear, etc. I'm sure there will be others interested. :)
Cost is $5. Yep, that is right, five little ones. The money is used by Parks and Recreation to purchase coffee, soda, water, donuts for everyone so it is essentially a wash.

If you have your own equipment, ie, rod & reel, bring it. If not we have 40 outfits as loaners. Same for flies, leaders, tippet material, etc. Walk in off the street with just the clothes off you back (include a hat and some type of glasses) and you are good to go. We even have "loaner" safety glasses if they don't bring their own.

How do we do it for that price?? Obviously it is tax payer supported. But it is not really coming out of our personal taxes. Last year the NCWRC did a bit of research and found that by keeping track of volunteer hours and calling them a "donation in kind" they are able to receive three times the value in Sport Fish Restoration funds from the Federal Government. These Sport Fish Restoration funds flow to the Federal Government from the 10% excise tax on rods, reels, lures and like fishing related equipment which the manufacturers tack on to the price before it shows up at retail outlets. The Director of the JEPFEC told me that by keeping track of these "in kind" volunteer hours that the fly fishing clinics are basically self sustaining:)
 

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...by keeping track of these "in kind" volunteer hours that the fly fishing clinics are basically self sustaining:)
Cool! That makes me wonder why we don't see more of this kind of thing. Especially as a "recruiting" type of exercise, I wouldn't think there'd be a complete absence of volunteers. At least not, volunteers to show up and do their thing. Perhaps the organizational work is the piece that's harder to come by...

Lefty
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cool! That makes me wonder why we don't see more of this kind of thing. Especially as a "recruiting" type of exercise, I wouldn't think there'd be a complete absence of volunteers. At least not, volunteers to show up and do their thing. Perhaps the organizational work is the piece that's harder to come by...

Lefty
Getting volunteers has never been a problem. Getting good volunteers who are willing to commit to at least half of the clinics is another thing.

First of all a volunteer needs to have sufficient skills to share with others. You don't need to be a world class caster but you do need to be able to demonstrate the basic casting techniques. We also have a need of folks who can tie knots and who know the difference between fishing a woolybugger, a nymph and a dry fly. If you don't have the skills but are a quick study we are more then willing to give you a try.

More importantly you need to have the self starting initiative to step in when a student is beating the air and getting nowhere or has their leader all in a snarl but keeps throwing it out in a futile attempt to catch fish. What we do not tolerate for long is someone standing around when a student is doing everything wrong and not stepping in to suggest or make corrections. Obviously, people skills are important. It can get frustrating at times but smiles are contagious.

Commitment is important. We don't expect everyone on our volunteer roster to make every event - but we do ask that they commit to at least half of them. We have 21 folks on our current roster. We need at least 12-14 for every clinic. As the volunteer coordinator I am constantly shuffling folks around to cover key stations. No problem, that is my job, but if the same volunteer is absent again and again, I start looking elsewhere.

So, what does a volunteer get for their commitment?

We receive no pay. We sometimes reach into our own vests to come up with a "secret fly" that will help a participant catch fish. We work our butts off for at least 6 hours on the day of the clinic and many of us work at other times making sure the rods and other gear is ready for the next clinic.

For most of us there is no greater pay required then the smiles and a sincere "thank you" from the participants. We receive those on a regular basis. It is a great thing to turn someone else on to the sport of fly fishing.

The NCWRC and the JEPFEC director in particular are generous with their praise for our volunteer efforts. Those of us who have been with it awhile have several framed certificates of appreciation and NC Wildlife ball caps.

We have always been able to fish for an hour or so at the end of each clinic. As of last year we also have limited access to the fish ponds during the week to hone our fly fishing skills. This last perk is sort of like having our own delayed harvest pond. To avoid abuse of this privilege we recently instituted a policy of three hours of volunteer time earns you one hour of pond time.

Anyone who would like to be considered for addition to our volunteer roster can contact me and we will chat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
what time does it start on sat
Gate opens at 8am. Clinic starts at 9am and ends at 3pm.

Clinic is for those who have already registered, BUT, the fee is so ridiculously low that some folks kiss off their registration fee if the weather is bad or something more pressing comes up. If you show up with $5 and your own rod, (we have 40 loaner rods - they go to those who are preregistered), we will make sure you have a seat.
 

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i will be their and if you need any help ive only been fly fishing for about a year im self taught but i will be their at 7:30am til it ends if you need me. so please find something for me to do. i have my own rod and tackle



shane
 
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