Friday, January 13, 2012

What Makes A Great Fishing Club?

In many of my posts I mention the club The Triangle Fly Fishers.  I am heavily involved in this club and I have been on the board for a few years.  We have board meetings once a month and a lot of time is spent discussing what we can do to make our club better.   Let me describe what are club is first because really it is more than just a club. 

If you are a Trout Unlimited member in the NC-Triad you are a Triangle Fly Fishers member by default.  The club represents the Trout Unlimited Chapter for the area.  One interesting thing is our club also represents the Federation Of Fly Fishers in our area.  The thing I really like about our club is there is no requirement to be a TU or FFF member to be a member of the Triangle Fly Fishers.  The club is a fly fishing club first and foremost and we never wanted to lose site of that or be leveraged by an outside entity.

The clubs focus is always changing but some constant things are always there.   There is not very much information on fly fishing in our area.  The club is pretty much the only resource in the area.   When people think of fly fishing they usually think of trout.  When they see members of our club holding largemouth bass, carp,  striped bass and red drum it really peaks curiosity.   The beauty of the club is not only can people talk to people who have fished for these species but they can learn techniques and find out information to fish on their own.   The club tries to have a few scheduled group trips ever year.  There are monthly meetings that have a guest speaker giving a presentation.   Guides and professional fly tiers are brought in to give talks.  There is always an emphasis on conservation and the club makes considerable donations to conservation projects.   Recently we are adopting and coordinating a restoration project of a local stream.  There is also a couple stream clean ups that go on through out the year. 

The club knows kids are the future of fly fishing.  N.C.T.U. runs a camp called Rivercourse.  The camp is basically a fly fishing nirvana for kids between 13-15.  They go to camp for the week and learn about fly fishing, tying and conservation.  The camp costs $700 and each year the Triangle Fly Fishers sponsor two kids.   Usually the choice is made by an essay contest asking children to write us on why they'd like to go to the camp. 

Many club members want to use their passion as a way to give back to society.  I can't think of a better way than Project Healing Waters.  This is an amazing program that uses fly fishing to help rehabilitate war veterans back into society.  The program goes over fly tying and local fly fishing trips.   Another great program members are involved with is Casting for Recovery.  Breast Cancer is such a common thing now days almost everyone knows someone who has been effected by it.  Casting for Recovery offers fly fishing retreats for breast cancer survivors. 

Fundraising is always a big thing for clubs.  I've always been amazed at the fact that the Triange Fly Fishers can run and fund projects by only holding one fund raising event a year.  Donations are made through out the year to TFF by vendors and other people in the industry.  No one wants to be bombarded by requests to send money.  The club hosts an annual Pig Pickin'.  At this event guided trips and fly fishing related prizes are raffled and auctioned off.   These events really reflect the support for the club.   The club provides a place for people to find fishing buddies and other people who are suffering from the same addiction.   Chasing anything that will bite.  

With the new year I started to think about what makes a club great.  There is always the struggle of making everyone happy but in the end the goal is to have fun.  You can have all the cool programs  you want but really it's the people that make a club great.  The Triangle Fly Fishers are lucky to have so many people that care about having this resource in the area.   I have made more friends through this club than any other group I have been a member of. 

I look forward to our presence at the Raleigh Fly Fishing show and I expect we'll have probably one of the best years yet.

5 comments:

  1. Kev
    Your club sounds a lot like our TUC here in Jasper only much larger. Our club has spent the past two years working with Alabama Power on stream restoration below the dam. We received a grant this past year from Alabama Power to continue creating access points along the three miles of tailrace below Smith Lake dam. This is one accomplishment with a number of others in the works. We do have a fairly good area now to land some quality rainbow below the dam. You guys are working on some worthy project, especially the kid’s projects, and of course the Healing Waters Projects. Keep up the good work!!

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  2. I'm working on plans for coming up to nc for the show as well. Maybe I can meet a few of those triangle ff for myself.

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  3. Bill, the two clubs do sound similar. We are looking into an initiative to remove a dam. It is the last barrier between Raleigh and the ocean. Currently it stops shad and striped bass from making it all the way up. I think maybe some day there will be a bypass to the last remaining dam. This would allow migration to take place like it did before civilization came into the picture.

    Joel, I really hope you can make it. It would be great to see you.

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  4. What a great club to be part of. We don't really have anything like that around here. At least not that I know of. I love the idea of a fly fishing camp for youth fisherman/fisherwoman. Nice job and keep up the good work. Tight Lines.

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  5. Man, I need to find something like that here in AZ.

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