Angler opens local fly-fishing school
Michael Mauri with an Atlantic Salmon caught and released on the Orkla River in Norway. (Submitted photo / May 17, 2013)
Mauri took up fly fishing in 1982 at the age of 12 in his native Germany where he initially pursued whitefish, but eventually honed his skills sight fishing for brown, brook and rainbow trout and arctic grayling in the clear waters of his Bavarian homeland.
As Mauri points out, "In order to be eligible to fish in Germany you must take a lengthy fishing course and be able to pass a challenging exam." In addition the licenses you are then eligible for are only for certain segments of water and if you want to fish the better waterways you must join a club which is even more expensive. This is just one of the many differences in angling in the U.S. as opposed to Europe.
Despite these challenges Mauri developed his angling, and especially his casting skills, through long hours of not only fishing, but practicing his casting when and where time permitted around his day job as an engineer of aquaculture where he also learned the fine points of raising and rearing fish.
In 1998, in some part driven by the difficulties of encumbering regulation in the hatchery business, he made a career change and started a fly fishing school. "At first I was unsure of making my hobby my profession because I thought I might not enjoy it as much. But, I found out that just the opposite was true," Mauri said.
The success of the school, and because his casting skills often impressed his students with distance and accuracy, he began to make a name for himself in the sport in Europe. In 2000 he made his first trip to the U.S. to attend the Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Denver because he was now consulting for several fly fishing companies. In 2007 he began to attend several of the fly fishing shows in the U.S. and demonstrating his casing and angling skills to the American public.
The Fly Fishing Show, that conducts these nationally acclaimed shows across the country each year is headquartered in Somerset and operated by Chuck Furimsky of Rockwood. In 2010 during one of his show appearances he met Emily Hicks, who works as an account manager for the Fly Fishing Show. The two hit it off and were married in late 2011 and now reside near the banks of Laurel Hill Creek in Somerset County. From that base of operations Emily continues to work for the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset and Michael continues his International School of Fly Fishing specializing in single and double hand Spey casting at locations in the U.S. and around the world.
Spey casting is a specific type of fly cast, that although specialty rods and lines are designed for, can be accomplished with any fly rod or line regardless of length, weight or manufacture. As Mauri indicates, "Spey casting is not difficult at all and is actually easy to learn and the great thing about it is that you can fish in tight locations where back casts are not possible. A Spey cast will still let you get your fly to the fish. It is not only for larger rivers, but is very effective on lakes, ponds and small waters just like we have here in Pennsylvania."
Mauri is quick to point out that he is not in the guiding business. "I am in the teaching end of the fly fishing industry. I am not taking any business from any of the guides in this area or anywhere else. Actually I am expanding their business by providing fly anglers with more skills so that they increase their enjoyment and want to pursue the sport even more," he said.
Soon he will also be the business of producing and marketing a new line of fly rods and lines made in the U.S. matched with reels manufactured by Vosseler, a well respected German reel maker.
Although much of Mauri's clientele are located across the country and the world he also wants to make his expertise available locally as well. He will actually be teaching casting to second graders in the Shanksville - Stonycreek School District. Working with school students and other youth is something Mauri would like to do more of as his schedule permits. Also on Aug. 24 and 25 Mauri will be conducting a Spey casting school on the Casselman River in Somerset County that will consist of six hours of casting instruction and is limited to eight students each day.
Mauri also has an instructional DVD on casting available. All orders and information about his classes and appearances can be obtained by calling 814-352-3535 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.mauri-flyfishing.us.
Mauri has gone through the natural phases of an angler that include trying to catch more and then bigger fish, but now his focus is all about the methods, not the fish. Perhaps that too puts him in that perfect place.
June 4 – Dark Shade Beagle Club, Quemahoning Rod and Gun Club 7 p.m..
June 11 – Mountain Laurel Chapter Trout Unlimited, Gander Mountain 7 p.m.
June 19 – Somerset County Sportsmen's League, Jerome Sportsmen's Club 7:30 p.m.