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09-21-2002, 01:31 AM
Women find camaraderie in fly fishing


Women’s clinic attracts novices, experienced fishers

By Andy Ostmeyer, Joplin Globe Staff Writer

Neosho MO resident Mary Horine had just finished a knot-tying exercise when she explained, “I have never fly fished in my life. I’m on the board of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery and I thought it would be appropriate if I learned to fly fish.”

She joined more than a dozen other women from Southwest Missouri on a recent Saturday at Capps Creek, where M-A-K-O Fly Fishers put on its first fly fishing clinic for women.

“It’s harder than I figured,” said Christa Whitlock of Neosho after working on a cast in the grass.

“I’m real green and new at this, too,” said Waymeth Werries of Neosho. “My husband is a fisherman and we go to Roaring River quite a bit.”

The six-hour class included information on the tools, basic training in casting techniques and information on fly types and fly selection.

“It starts with the grip,” said Joe Butler, one of the club’s instructors. “Try to get the action from your elbow or your shoulder.”

He said the group was pleased with the turnout and may hold more such classes in the future.

Teresa Van Winkle, also of Neosho, was getting the hang of it with help from another volunteer instructor. She is no stranger to trout fishing but wanted to learn more about fly fishing

“I have been fishing at Roaring River for 22 years on Opening Day,” she said, referring to the one of the Ozarks’ more popular spring rituals.

“That’s how my whole family celebrates my birthday.”

Butler advised beginners to leave their spinning rods at home, and just work the creeks with the fly rods.

Joyce Hinrichs of Nashville said she always wanted to learn how to fly fish, and her husband recently bought her the equipment for her birthday.

“I see this going on. I said, ‘I want to learn this. . . . I can do this.’ ”

“Sure you can,” coached John Rugh, another of the instructors.

He explained that even after 55 years of fly fishing, he is still learning. He also said there is no shortage of trout fishing streams in this part of the state.

“There is an awful lot of opportunity, especially in southern Missouri.”

Whitlock, who works for the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Chesapeake Hatchery east of Mount Vernon, said she had not been fishing for years.

“I am so used to doing this with a dip net at work. I thought, ‘I want to do this right.’ ”

Sharon Yoker of Springfield said she began fly fishing a year ago, and has already been to the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming, catching brook trout and rainbows.

“I have always enjoyed being outdoors. I think it’s just the quiet time . . . It’s a form of relaxation that works for me.”

She also added that there is “a certain cohesiveness, or camaraderie when women are learning together.”