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Locals learn how to tie a fly and cast a line in fly

Jul 18, 2023Jul 18, 2023

May 21—When you're fly-fishing, you have to think like a fish, Brandon Batt said. And the last thing fish are thinking about, he said, is the price of fly-fishing gear.

"That fish doesn't care what rods you have; that fish doesn't care which shirt with a brand on it; that fish doesn't care what waders you're wearing, none of that stuff," Batt, an avid fly-fisher, said.

And that message rang true for the handful of people who went to Walkersville Public Library Sunday afternoon to listen to Batt teach about fly-fishing, and learn how to make their own flies.

Fly-fishing is a type of fishing that uses lightweight lures — called flies — to catch the fish. The equipment is more lightweight and there's a special technique to cast the line.

Batt has been fly-fishing since he was 7-years-old. It's his passion, and he likes to teach people how to fly-fish to get away from the grind of everyday life.

"It's not bad being outdoors, you learn a lot more about yourself," he said.

He taught the group about the seven key points of fly-fishing — rod, reel, line, flies, equipment, place to fish and casting — and how to get started with each one. The most important thing to remember, he said, was that they didn't need to spend thousands of dollars to get started with fly-fishing.

That made Lou Altamura feel a lot better. Altamura, who is from Frederick, had recently gotten into fly-fishing after his brother-in-law took him out to try it in Wyoming.

"I honestly just like standing in the water with no responsibilities other than that fishing rod," he said, laughing.

But when he was watching YouTube videos to get into it, the experts were recommending equipment that would have totaled thousands of dollars. Batt comforted him when he said that the hardware didn't really matter, and that practice with the equipment available, and some cheap purchases, is what mattered.

Victor Ezerski has decades of fly-fishing under his belt. He started seriously fly-fishing in 1968, and has traveled around the world, casting lines and catching fish. He's been to Alaska, Argentina and Nova Scotia, to name a few.

Ezerski, who is from Damascus, likes the challenge that comes with fly fishing.

"The fish supposedly has a brain the size of a pea, but now you have to outsmart it," he said.

He was at the class to meet new people and see how they think about fly-fishing. When the class went outside to learn how to cast lines, he stood alongside Batt, helping the others who weren't as familiar with techniques like the back-cast, "punching" the line and casting it forward.

Batt also taught the group how to tie a quick fly. As beginners, he said, it doesn't have to be perfect or look like a specific bug. It just needs to float on the water.

On a hook about the size of a thumb tack, he built the body with black thread. He then added some texture with a mossy-colored leach yarn, and used some of a black chicken feather to wrap it all up.

"In 30 seconds, you can do a really cruddy job and it looks like something and that's your start right? Don't make that you're always, but that's your start. Never be afraid to just get into it," Batt said.

Like Altamura, Bill Dorr, from Walkersville, another person who attended the demonstration, was relieved by Batt's message of leisure and not worrying about perfect flies and expensive gear. He's been learning to fly fish with a couple of friends, he said, and the class was tying everything together.

What he's really excited for, however, is when his youngest son comes back from deployment so that they can fly-fish together. His son, who also has recently gotten into the hobby, is completely self taught, he said.

"I promised him when he comes back, that he and I are gonna go fly-fishing and we're going to see who's the better fly-fisherman," Dorr said.

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