Fly Fisher Excites Audience
Inside the Outdoors, March 6
, 2015

When the news was brought to the attention of the audience, the fly, a woolly bugger, can imitate any species of fish and that is was a concocted pattern that didn’t resemble anything, eyebrows raised and the attendees were all ears, as the saying goes.

But these were just some of the many interesting facts Orvis Pittsburgh representative Joey Maxim brought to the table during his topic presentation, Introduction to Fly Fishing at the Allegheny Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show at the Monroeville Convention Center.

It didn’t take long to pick up on the fact that what the 19 year-old would share with his fellow sportsmen would be a motivational talk, as well.

Several years ago, Maxim was involved in a life-threatening motor vehicle accident. Whereupon being life-flighted to a Pittsburgh hospital, he was pronounced dead in the helicopter, suffering from a broken neck, severe head injuries and two collapsed lungs.

To hear him talk passionately about his favorite sport, one would never know of his history and his miraculous recovery.

“Nothing comes easy,” he said. “It’s been rough. Don’t believe the saying that success comes with who you know, but what you know. Everyday I’m learning something in this art. It’s an ongoing process.”

Upon returning home in Pittsburgh, Joey stated, “I need something to do while I was recovering. My father, a fly fisherman, got me a fly tiers kit and I started learning to tie flies on my own, learning by looking on the Internet’s YouTube. “I just worked at it until improving to the point that the imitations resembled the patterns I was trying to duplicate. You can read as many book on the subject of fly tying and even fly fishing, but experiencing it first hand is the only way one really learns,” he said.

“One is going to get frustrated, and believe me when I say this, I have been frustrated many times, but you have to get over it and move on,” Maxim stated.

The great thing about giving audiences a chance to learn about anything is being able to make everything understood, particularly to novices. After briefing sportsmen about his background, he then proceeded to teach them the differences between the different types of fly line.

“One to three weight line (3X) is for catching small fish,” the teenager said. “4 – 5X is for catching gorgeous fish,” he said with a big smile.

In filling the reel, one must first use some kind of filler. “I recommend a braided line,” he said. “On to it, roughly 90 feet of fly line is tied. Then a tapered leader, a tippet and then the fly of one’s choice is tied to the end. If on the package it states 5X, that is equivalent to a monofilament five-pound test.” That bit of information spoke volumes to the inquisitive minds wishing to learn more.

One point Maxim brought out in discussing fly rods and the various lengths for the desired fish caught was that “All fly rods are tapered from the cork all the way to the tip of the rod. The taper continues along the line down to the fly,” the Orvis professional told onlookers.

Some of the other interesting points concerning the sport were:

  • We are driving over fish all over the place in the waters under bridges here in this state, so there are a lot of fish to catch, so you need not go out West.
  • Take advantage of guided trips. Learn one thing well, if nothing else.
  • San Juan worm imitations represent worms that live in the ecosystem of water basins.
  • When you get to streams, wait five minutes before fishing and study the environment for hatches. Look under any rock that you can lift that’s in the water and study the stream life under it. If you see stoneflies, fish the size that’s seen.
  • Fish deep if one wishes to catch trout, rolling flies on the bottom.
  • Unless you get out and fly fish, you won’t have a clue.
  • Fly fishing has taught me things I never learned in high school or would learn in tech or grad schools.
  • Miracles don’t have to be big. They can be small as well.
  • Fly fishing has been super-therapeutic for me.

Employed by Orvis at The Galleria of Mt. Lebanon, he, as well as others, teach free fly tying and fishing courses. For further information, contact them at 412 – 343 – 1612.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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