Double Haul Ball brings saltwater fly fishers together to support foster kids
BY BOB SEMERAU
Western Outdoor News Staff Writer
LONG BEACH — Fly fishing can be a solitary sport. An angler stands alone on a reef or along the ocean shore, finding peace in the solitude. But the Double Haul Ball creates a sense of community for individuals delving into the excitement of saltwater fly fishing.
The Southern California fly fishing community comes together when the Southwest Council Fly Fishers International (SWCFFI) puts on events like the recent Double Haul Ball. The event, held at the Long Beach Casting Club (LBCC) facilities at Recreation Park, Long Beach was an opportunity for anglers to improve skills and awareness of fly fishing in salt water.
SWCFFI, comprised of fly fishing clubs throughout the region, hosted this year’s event to benefit SWCFFI programs and the Mayfly Project. The Mayfly Project is a national organization with the mission to build relationships with children in foster care through fly-fishing, in hopes of developing a meaningful connection with the outdoors.
The LBCC facility is well suited to such a gathering with a beautiful clubhouse building for fly-tying and presentation programs, and a large casting pond for training with the long rod.
Throughout the day several instructional demonstrations took place at the pond beginning with a detailed explanation of the skills and benefits of the Double Haul casting technique. The demo, presented by master casting instructor and member of Fly Fishers International Board of Governors, John Van Derhoof, gave those attending a clear idea of the movements and equipment best used to cast a fly for extra distance.
Several vendors were on hand to discuss rods, reels, and clothing for the fly angler including a unique reel built entirely on 3-D printers from aptly named, 3-D Fly Reels. Sage, Rio, and Fishpond, mainstay companies in the fly fishing world, were represented at a booth manned by Alex Cady, ready to help with rods and reels on hand for a quick toss at the nearby casting pond.
The Mayfly Project, founded in Arkansas in 2015, by Jess and Laura Westbrook broadened into a national 501 (C) 3 charitable organization in 2016 when the dedicated couple joined forces with Idaho mental health professional, Kaitlin Barnhart, who had created a similar service group in the west.
Through the years Mayfly Project has branched out nationwide with mentors in more than 34-states offering fly fishing adventure opportunities to foster kids across the country.
“We extend beyond simply fly fishing by giving the children, ages 10-to-18-years old, a personally adapted program, lasting 10-to-12-weeks. They learn about the environment, conservation, and fishing skills with an overall holistic approach,” explained L.A. Mayfly Project lead, Jane Miller. Miller, along with mentor, Ana Lisa Del Rosario and other area Mayfly mentors were on hand to promote the organizations efforts and to reach out to the local community.
Inside the LBCC clubhouse Baja fly-guy extraordinaire, Gary Bulla, ran though a slide deck and took question on the excitement of catching roosterfish and more on the fly. Presentations throughout the day gave insights on techniques and travel for interested saltwater fly anglers. Fly-tyers set up in the back room filling tables laden with feathers and fluff, demonstrating the skills used to create realistic representations to tempt any fish in the sea.
“The all-day event is a chance for anybody interested in saltwater fly fishing to get started or build on their abilities to get fish in ocean waters. We plan to return next year bigger and better than ever,” said event Chairman, Michael Schweit. “Our support of the Mayfly Project, as well as our own SWCFFI programs like Trout in the Classroom, Casting for Recovery, and The Wounded Warrior Project, all benefit from the Double Haul Ball.”
International Federation of Fly Fishers Southwest Council; http://www.southwestcouncilfff.org/
Long Beach Casting Club; 5201 E. 7th St. Long Beach, CA 90808
Phone (562) 433-9408 http://www.longbeachcastingclub.org
Southwest Council Fly Fishers International www.SWCFFI.org
Mayfly Project www.theMayflyProject.com