Fly fishing is usually associated with quests for trout. Five Arkansas angling enthusiasts hope to alter this with a television series about going for several other species along with trout.
A contract for a 13-episode series on the Pursuit channel has been signed by Tim Bull and Heath Graham of Russellville, Paul Hoelscher and Jordan Case of Conway and Chris Morris of Little Rock.
Filming is under way, and the series is scheduled to air in January. The title of the program is Chasing Waters.
The series came about in a reversal from customary television procedure. Instead of the five Arkansans selling their idea to a channel, the channel came calling on them after some video caught wide attention on social media.
Fly fishing has long been regarded as an elitist way of angling, both by observers and by many of its practitioners. Hoelscher said that Chasing Waters will try to change that.
"We want to focus on fly fishing on a budget, something anyone can do," he said.
All of the 13 episodes will be filmed in Arkansas, and all 13 will be on different waters, according to Bull, who operates a fly fishing business, Toad Fly, in Conway. There will be trout fishing, yes, but so will there be striped bass fishing, largemouth bass fishing, bream fishing, white bass fishing and others.
"Fly fishing is like golf. You never master it," Hoelscher said.
Some of the Arkansas waters the five fly fishermen are considering for their television series include the familiar trout streams White River, North Fork River and Little Red River, the western Arkansas warmwater stream Fourche LaFave, some backwaters of the Arkansas River and others.
There is a chance that a show may be on using fly fishing techniques to go after really big largemouth bass on some areas of the lower Arkansas River.
"Diversity" was a term used by Hoelscher and by Bull.
A few days ago, some of the group had a fly fishing outing on Gold Creek upstream from Lake Conway. They caught 70 white bass in three hours using Clouser Minnow flies for the most part, Bull said.
The television show will include how-to material — instructions and demonstrations to help beginners learn more about fly fishing.
Some of the five fly fishermen are licensed guides, and a route for improving fishing skills is to invest in a day with a guide, many anglers suggest.
At present in Conway, the fly fishermen offer small-group classes in fly tying on Thursdays and in fly casting on Saturdays.
Bull said the television episodes will touch on the artistic aspects of fly fishing. An example is the logo already selected for the show, a black and white scene of a boat with two anglers and a fly line whipping through the air and dripping droplets of water.
This is a traditional and popular view of fly fishing, the line working back and forth then dropping to a precise point where a fish is hopefully waiting.
Another technique of fly fishing is roll casting and it is often used by beginners as well as experienced anglers. Roll casting is worked the fly rod to "roll" a fly low in the air and across the surface of the water to the desired spot.
Many fly fishing enthusiasts like to construct their own flies.
Bits and pieces of feathers and animal hair are fastened by colored threads to small hookers. "I tie my own" is a proud comment.
Joe Mosby is the retired news editor of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas’ best known outdoor writer. His work is distributed by the Arkansas News Bureau in Little Rock. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.