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Valley News Dispatch

Fly fishing enthusiasts learn about rods, knot-tying and bait in Harrison

Matthew Medsger
| Sunday, April 15, 2018, 9:51 p.m.
Bridget Beck and her brother Blair Beck get some help tying knots from their grandfather Jim Beck during a family fly fishing program on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Harrison Hills Park .
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Bridget Beck and her brother Blair Beck get some help tying knots from their grandfather Jim Beck during a family fly fishing program on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Harrison Hills Park .
Chad Samples of Cadogan Township, places a rod into a stand during a family fly fishing program on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Harrison Hills Park .
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Chad Samples of Cadogan Township, places a rod into a stand during a family fly fishing program on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Harrison Hills Park .
Blair Beck tries his hand at tying a surgeon's knot during a family fly fishing program on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Harrison Hills Park .
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Blair Beck tries his hand at tying a surgeon's knot during a family fly fishing program on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at Harrison Hills Park .

Chad Samples went fishing first thing Sunday morning, before going to an afternoon class about fly fishing at Harrison Hills Park.

Samples, of Cadogan Township, is an avid fisherman who said he used to come home from work every day and was home just long enough to grab his tackle before heading out to a fishing hole. He stayed there until it was time for bed.

Still, despite his years of experience and clear passion for the sport, Samples had never taken the plunge into fly fishing.

“I've never really tried it, that's why I'm here,” he said.

Samples, along with his stepson and about two dozen others, joined with officials from the state's Fish and Boat Commission on Sunday to go over the basics of fly fishing at Harrison Hills Park.

“I'm excited. I've always wanted to give it a try,” Samples said.

Class instruction included tips on how to put a fly fishing rod together, how to tie knots and how to identify which kind of bait will work for a given body of water.

Amidea Daniel, youth and women's program coordinator for the commission, said fishing is still a popular sport in Pennsylvania, and that teaching people how to fly fish is just another way to encourage them to get outside and enjoy the scenery.

“We're here today for family introduction to fly fishing,” she said. “It's about having a different connection to Pennsylvania's waterways...fly fishing offers the opportunity to fish basically 365 days of the year.”

Daniel, who is the first to serve in her position with the commission, said that fly fishing is a good sport, even for novices with no fishing experience.

“We've had people come out to the program that have zero fishing experience as well as people that have been spin fishing for decades,” she said. According to Daniel, fly fishing is an easy enough sport to get familiar with, especially considering the number of resources available for Pennsylvania anglers.

“Talk to other fishermen, to the guys at the tackle store, to the members of your local fishing club,” she said. “With a little bit of time you will be able to walk into a tackle store and ask for things like you know what you are talking about.”

Dennis Johns, a member of the Friends of Harrison Hills Park, the group that manages and preserves the park, said the park loves to sponsor classes like this because it helps kids learn activities and skills that they will carry away with them and hopefully enjoy.

“This is all about the fun,” he said. “You can go to Wendy's or McDonald's to get a fish sandwich, but fishing is a lifelong endeavor.”

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, mmedsger@tribweb.com or via Twitter @matthew_medsger.

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