By Kevin Tate
The art of presenting to fish the tiniest of flies, nymphs or streamers through the finesse of a long, light rod and floating line captured Russ Hutcheson’s imagination more than four decades ago, and he hopes a new group he’s forming will gather old and new interest in the game now.
Beyond the occasional bream or crappie spawn, far fewer north Mississippi fishermen use fly casting gear than traditional bait and spin casting rigs, but the potential for tremendous enjoyment is definitely there.
“I love being out West fly fishing and in the Carolinas fly fishing, but if you can get a four or five pound bass on a 5-weight fly rod, that’s something very special all its own, and something you can do right here,” Russ Hutcheson, founder of the new club, said. “I’ve never had a trout that fought like that.”
The group will hold its initial meeting Thursday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Los Toros restaurant in Tupelo near the intersection of Veterans Boulevard and Highway 78.
“What I have in mind for the club is nothing specific, other than creating an opportunity for people who like to fly fish or who would like to learn to get together and talk about it,” Hutcheson said. “Fly fishermen love to talk about it, but we don’t really have an opportunity to do that here.
“When I’m out fishing, occasionally I’ll run into a guy here and another guy there with fly rods in their hands and we talk about it, and I had the idea it may be a useful endeavor to form a group of people who have a like-minded interest.”
Hutcheson’s interest began with a gift of a fly rod and reel he received from the yearbook staff he mentored as a teacher. He’d grown up in Saltillo and had learned to fish at an early age using spinning and bait casting gear, but the gift intrigued him and set him off on a course that’s since found him fly fishing as opportunities arose from Montana to Minnesota and many points between, including the Deep South.
“There’s a fly fishing group in Memphis and a group in Jackson, but there’s nothing in between as far as I’ve been able to ascertain,” he said. “We’re out there, though.
“When you have a fly rod in your hand and you’re out wherever it is that you’re fishing, for trout or bream or whatever, you’re in your own world and that’s all you think about. It brings such joy and peace. I love the peace of it.”
He and other seed members of the potential new group believe many others here will love it too.
To learn more about the club, you can email Hutcheson at firstname.lastname@example.org.