By: Lily Renzetti
Students from as far away as Virginia and Minnesota traveled to our factory last weekend to improve their fly fishing, casting, and tying skills with fly fishing greats Bob Clouser and Jon Cave. Cave, Clouser, and crew immersed anglers in nearly all areas of the sport — fly casting, lines and leaders, rigging and knots — even fly tying with the inimitable Bob Clouser.
‘This was the most comprehensive fly fishing school I have ever taught.’ – Bob Clouser
When Jon and Bob first brought this school to me, I thought their curriculum was maybe too ambitious, but I was wrong. Every student rose to the challenge, everyone worked very hard, and they all took their casting and fishing skills to the next level – and they learned so much more. I think that’s a testament to the personalities, humor, and the teaching skills of all the instructors. A good time was had by all.
We had four casting instructors — Jon Cave, Bob Clouser, David Lambert and Ian Sasso – which kept the ratio of instructor-to-student tight and personal; and two fly-tying instructors: Bob Clouser and Nick Way. Every student received lots of individual attention from all of our instructors.
The workshop started 5:30 pm Friday with a reception at the Renzetti factory, followed by a presentation on general fly casting. Since we had people traveling from many parts of the country, we kept Friday night’s activities short, to allow the group to rest and be prepared for the next day.
‘We cover a lot of ground in these schools, but we make sure people have a good time. This was a great class. Everyone elevated their game.’ – Jon Cave
Saturday started at 8:30 a.m. with coffee and snacks at our factory, and a recap of what to expect for the day. By 9 our anglers were on the casting field at their individual casting stations. The way we had it set up, each instructor worked with each caster to make sure they were casting efficiently. All parts of the cast were analyzed, in addition to grip, posture, rod position, and so much more. The weather was not too friendly, though – hot, and the sun lingered the whole day.
By 11:30 we were ready to get some shade and eat a delicious ‘working’ lunch prepared by Honeysuckle, a good local restaurant (http://www.honeysucklesouthern.net). Part of the lunch discussion was leader-building and knots, led by Jon and Bob. After lunch Andy and I took the group on a Renzetti factory tour, which I think everyone found very interesting. Then Bob Clouser and Renzetti Dealer Liason and Manage of R Distribution, Nick Way, teamed up for a fly-tying demonstration and hands-on clinic, with Renzetti vises for everyone. By 2:30 everyone was back on the casting field for more instruction and personal casting development.
‘. . . far exceeded my expectations. The instructors were so knowledgeable and so willing to spend time with us students. The individual attention helped me immensely.’ – WL, Savannah.
Saturday evening, everyone joined us at our house on the Indian River for a gourmet meal prepared mostly by Andy. I may be bragging a bit, but it was a really great meal and a treat for all. It also lead to some of the instructors, hosts, and anglers into socializing until midnight.
We all gathered the next morning at 8:30 at the factory for coffee and to recap the previous day and review what was expected for Sunday. The weather was more gentle, cloudy and cool. Actually, some of us were sent looking for light jackets.
Sunday, our students cast for 2 hours and the instructors reviewed and amplified Saturday’s instruction. Each student’s casting was videotaped, which we reviewed on a big screen during another delicious Honeysuckle Restaurant lunch. I think everyone found the video-critique approach helpful.
We then moved to the fly-tying room again, where Nick Way and I talked about the many special features of the Renzetti vises, things that many tyers often don’t know about. And that lead into another tying clinic with Bob Clouser and Nick.
We ended the workshop by revisiting each student’s progress and teaching fish-fighting techniques. After that we met for comments from the hosts and the instructors to close this intense 2 1-/2 days. We all left all of us with a sense of accomplishment, the hosts, the instructors, and the students. This was an ambitious undertaking for all of us, and it worked out great – the anglers left with a lifetime of knowledge and information and a promise to implement what they learned and reach out to us as they progress.