A Passion for Fly Fishing

What happens when a pair of fly shop entrepreneurs with a real passion for fly fishing connect with a Master Casting Instructor who also shares their passion for the sport?  The answer is the San Francisco School of Fly Fishing.  Xavier and Karen Carbonnet, who own the California Fly Shop in San Carlos, California had always wanted to create an opportunity for folks to learn about fly fishing.  Their friend, fly fishing buddy, and certified Master Casting Instructor, Willy George, teaches fly casting at various locations in San Francisco and the Bay Area.  When these three fly fishing fanatics got together, they discovered that they all had a keen sense that creating a school for fly fishing in Northern California was the right thing to do.  In the fall of 2012, the San Francisco School of Fly Fishing became a reality.

The signature offering of the school is the Introduction to Fly Fishing seminar.  These seminars offer newcomers to the sport an easy way to get started or to just find out if they like it.  Intro classes are all day sessions that provide the beginning fly fisher with enough information and skills including knowledge of equipment, casting, basic entomology, fly selection, knots, reading the water, and wading safety to confidently take on their first fly fishing adventure.  They are taught by Willy George, a certified, Master fly casting instructor with over three decades of fly fishing experience.

The Master level certification is a rarity in the sport representing the highest level of accreditation by the International Federation of Fly Fishers.  It signifies mastery of both fly casting and teaching.  Masters teach students from beginners to advanced as well as future casting instructors.  At SFSFF, beginning students are taught the basics in simple, straightforward language and demonstrations.  Assisted by the instructors, students progress at their own pace on their personal journey towards discovering more about the sport.  Advanced students work with the Master in developing lesson plans to learn more sophisticated techniques such as improving accuracy and distance or preparing for fly fishing trips to new destinations.

Common reactions we hear from students:

“It’s not as hard as I thought it was going to be.”

“Actually it’s very logical, choosing the right fly and how you cast.”

“I really like how fly fishing fits with my other interests…hiking and biking and camping.”

“This course was the right first step, an introduction to the sport that wasn’t confusing or intimidating.”

“I’m glad I didn’t try to teach myself at first.  I avoided lots of frustration by being taught by an expert.”

“I am an experienced fly fisherman, but I had never fished in saltwater before.  The casting lessons with Willy made my vacation.  I was truly ready when the first bonefish came within range.”

“I can do this!”

The school’s list of classes has grown over time, largely driven by student ideas, feedback, and expressed areas of interest.  The SFSFF now offers fly tying seminars, knot tying classes, fly casting lessons for every different skill level, and for both single handed and two handed (Spey) rods.  SFSFF students attend tailgate talks and then go on “fishouts” to local fly fishing destinations.  People are finding that the sport of fly fishing is actually very accessible.  Yes, there are a few basic things you need to know to get the ball rolling like casting, knot tying, reading the water, and selecting the right fly.  However, first timers find that there are a lot of resources out there to get them going and keep them going.

One of those resources is the San Francisco School of Fly Fishing website where readers can find out about upcoming events, classes, demonstrations, fishouts, etc.  If you can’t find what you are looking for or want something new or different added to the school’s curriculum, just let us know.  Because we’re not here for us…we’re here for you.

Comments, questions, new ideas, know any secret fishing spots?  Contact us at the shop: info@californiaflyshop.com.