By: Wills Mackay
Creating a club here at Furman has been both an exciting and rewarding experience. Beginning in the Fall of 2020, my roommate and I were searching for new activities to pursue in our freshmen year of college. Given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to be creative and ensure that we could participate in these activities safely. Fishing was already a hobby that my roommate had participated in, but we both had never tried fly fishing. We began to watch Youtube videos about the sport and did research on successful fly fishing tactics in the Southeast.
This initial spark of interest led us to become devoted fly fishermen. We quickly learned that the seemingly simple sport requires a lot of practice. It was very rewarding to start out slowly and see our gradual improvement over time. Sometimes, we would spend hours fly fishing and wouldn’t catch anything. This initial work and effort took place for nearly an entire month. We had to continue to use different patterns, go to different spots, and learn how to cast effectively. This exploration phase was very fun, and eventually, we began to consistently catch trout. My roommate and I eventually were joined by our other two friends and we all continued to practice throughout the entire Fall together.
When we returned for the Spring along with a few of our other close friends, we had the idea of starting a Fish and Fly Club club at Furman. As a collective, we all thought this hobby could already be popular at Furman or a fun way to introduce it to people. Our group decided to start the Furman Fish and Fly Club last Spring, with the help of a faculty advisor. This advisor, who also is an avid fishermen and outdoorsmen, has been extremely fundamental in helping us get the Fish and Fly Club started and thriving. They have already provided us with fantastic opportunities and ideas to help the club succeed. They also secured us a Club sponsorship with Orvis, a family-owned business specializing in fly fishing, and has continually met with us to discuss future plans for events.
During Furman’s LDOC (Last Day of Class) this Spring, we held a fishing contest in partnership with FUSAB (Furman University Student Activities Board). This was a super exciting and fun event that we were a part of just outside of Trone Student Center. It was a great opportunity for us to market our club! It turned out to be a great contest. The winner was awarded a nice fishing rod for catching 14 fish! It is fantastic that we are provided with such good resources to start an organization here at Furman. We have direct access to excellent faculty, and funding through SGA (Student Government Association). Being able to take something that was a passion of mine and turn it into a tangible organization that I have agency over, has been an invaluable learning experience for me.