Casting with the Boys 10

The Orvis Fly Fishing School, Alabama

After a productive morning in the bright classroom at the Orvis Fly Fishing School at Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Alabama, I was ready to get a fly rod in my hands and see what all the fuss was about.


I’d learned that fish actually have a sixth sense allowing them to detect water vibrations (tread lightly, young angler). The patient and engaging instructor, Chris Edlin schooled us on tying a clinch knot, non slip mono loop, double surgeon and perfection loop and drilled us on the anatomy of a rod, reel, line, hook, tippet and fly.


We paused for lunch at Old Tom’s Pub, a Scottish pub-meets-sports bar in the lovely new inn at Pursell Farms and all I could think about was getting back down the hill to the Orvis clubhouse to try casting. I’d watched my fly fishing friends get lost in their thoughts, staring off into some fond memory while sharing stories about their time on the water. I’d watched Chris’ graceful rhythmic casting (and Brad Pitt’s in A River Runs Through It) and after a dozen tries, heard my own line’s high pitched swoosh as I formed the perfect loop thanks to just the right amount of tension on the rod.


The next day, I caught a bluegill, bream and bass (with a Boogle Bug Popper) on the property’s little lake, standing tall in the boat, strip casting then reeling in my fish.


The Orvis school provided me with a graduation certificate and my own stories that I’ll undoubtedly bore my non-fishing friends with very soon.


When you go, book the lodge for a group of guys or a room at the country estate-styled Inn with three restaurants, a new pool deck overlooking the stunning golf course. FarmLinks is often rated Alabama’s No. 1 all-access golf course where the hilly cart paths are just as much fun as the challenging fairways designed by Hurdzan-Fry Environmental Golf Design. Be sure to book time at the charming Spring House Spa on property. For guys, I recommend the Sportsman Massage, Reflexology Massage or, if you’re daring, a body scrub.


Walk, run or book the Gator UTV tour up the mountain to Pursell Farms’ “Secret Place” to watch the sun set over the rolling hills. Then, head back down for a game of pool to tell your own new fishing stories.

Under three hours drive from BuckHaven