After a pilot program in which nine out of 10 students finished confident in their ability to fly fish, and where two out of three said they hoped they could go fly fishing soon, Reel Fun formally launched its instructional program at www.reelfunflyfishing.org last month.
Based around developmentally appropriate practice rods, Reel Fun is designed to be a FUN “first touch” to fly fishing—an engaging group experience that everyone can succeed in. While Reel Fun is curriculum based and meets federal standards for physical education programs so that it may be used in schools, Reel Fun is targeted at any organization that works with youth between the ages of 11 to 17, including scouting, YMCAs, and other community centers.
Reel Fun was started by Tommy Lorden, a father of four and avid angler who lives in Boulder, Colorado. Lorden just happened to stumble across information on what the golf and tennis industries were doing to successfully attract young people, and says: “I just knew there was something missing with the effort to date in the fly fishing world.”
Reel Fun takes a step downstream, backing up a little bit, de-mystifying fly fishing by introducing basic topics through vibrant and interactive stations where the participants work as a group.
The program is easily administered by an adult regardless of their fishing experience, although Reel Fun encourages customers to seek out assistance from local shops and clubs. Lorden is most excited about the fact that all of the teacher training is done online, allowing instructors to learn at a time and place of their leisure, adding: “This opens the door to many more people, and makes the program extremely scalable.”
Importantly, the Reel Fun learning system can also be purchased by fly shops and clubs who can in turn deliver the program to local organizations of their choice. As Lorden explains, “Reel Fun doesn’t really compete with existing programs in the industry and should be viewed as something that can fill the pipelines to current efforts.”
Reel Fun sells from $1,995 to $2,495 depending on the size of the group, and all the materials and equipment are retained to facilitate multiple uses. Lorden says: “For the price of a single great fishing trip, each of us has a chance to make sure scores of kids want to try fly fishing…it’s a no-brainer to many of us.”