Flycasting lessons with April Vokey

A year ago, when I started this blog, I daydreamed about more time on the river. I was fish crazy and watching every video I could find, and reading every blog post. That’s how I discovered April Vokey from FlyGal Ventures. April is a renowned flyfishing guide and instructor. She posts some amazing pictures on her Facebook page of the fish she catches out on the river with her dog. A more perfect life I could not imagine.

For a gal who secretly had no other ambition in life than to live in a small cabin on a alpine lake, have a beat up pick-up truck, and a dog…well, let’s just say I was smitten with how April was living. I wasn’t alone. Like wildfire this lady’s career has taken off. She’s been interviewed by all sorts of journalists and makes appearances at fishing conventions around the world.

A picture of April and Catherine from FlyGal Ventures teaching a flycasting class
April and Catherine from FlyGal Ventures

Last year when I was making some resolutions about flyfishing and yoga, I wrote a blog post talking about how when I grow up I want to fish with April Vokey.

For my birthday last spring, the opportunity came up. I took a flycasting class up in Chilliwack, British Columbia, taught by April and FlyGal guide, Catherine LaFlamme.

One of April’s specialties is teaching woman-only classes. Since this was my first group casting class I was elated to see that this was an option. I don’t know why I get so competitive and distracted in co-ed classes, but I know this about myself. So, a ladies-only day of learning sounded right up my alley. And, boy, was that a great decision. The ladies I met that day were so much fun. We cracked each other up, shared our stories about what drew us to flyfishing, and noshed on Tim Horton’s coffee and donut holes.

A picture of a fly wheel, fly line, and Tim Horton's coffee
When in Canada you must consume Tim Horton’s coffee.

But most of all, we enjoyed some much deserved time learning how to improve our casting. And, who better to learn it from? April has developed a belief that side casting is a great choice for women. The added arm motion helps us physically put more strength into the distance of our casts. She was right.

April encouraged us all to continue practicing our casts at home for at least 15 minutes a day. If we wanted to take video of ourselves practicing and send it to her, she offered to review the footage and provide feedback on our technique.

I was bowled over by how approachable April made everything. She guided us through the mechanics with ease, using metaphor to help us grasp concepts, and a warm smile that encouraged questions. April might be a good flyfisher, but she’s a damn good teacher. I guess it’s years of practice and training, but I still find it amazing when someone can identify what doesn’t look right and knows the steps required to make corrections. A good instructor is like this all-knowing-being that offers that tidbit of advice that totally makes sense and instantly helps you correct that which needs fixing. Not all of us have that gift of adaptation. It’s the intuition around how to say something to someone, because we don’t all accept advice or learn in the same way.

I’m hoping to schedule more guided trips, workshops, and casting clinics in my future. Perhaps I’ll get the chance to learn from April, again. But no matter what, I’ll always cherish the memories of taking a road trip to British Columbia and flinging a fly rod around with a great group of women. Thanks, ladies!

A picture of the ladies in my flycasting class
A bunch of fly gals.
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5 thoughts on “Flycasting lessons with April Vokey

  1. Sounds like fun! Now if only I can put down the darn camera for a minute and dig my fly rods out this year…

      1. Oh I will. This year is THE year I really dive into backpacking, and since there is a lot of daylight between the best times for photography I’m going to need something to do. 😉 A few new, and much lighter, pieces of gear, tent, sleeping bag, and pad, have taken considerable weight off my pack, leaving plenty of room for my 1wt. setup and a few flies. 😀 With all the little mountain streams teaming with native brookies, how can I resist?

  2. Kudos to you! I hadn’t thought of that!

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