Kristen Monroe learns the art of fly fishing with Josh Lantz and she just may be hooked.Another magnificent door into the outdoors has opened. I never thought it would happen. It has always appeared so difficult; perhaps due to misunderstandings derived from movies I have seen. But recently, I had the privilege of seeing a presentation at The Great Outdoors Expo in Woodstock, Illinois given by Lefty Kreh, which ignited my interest in fly fishing. The sport no longer looked intimidating. Instead, it became a fascinating challenge. I am blessed to have many friends in the outdoors industry, so I started asking around for some guidance. Josh Lantz, fellow outdoor communicator and professional guide, offered to teach me the sport. He quickly put my misconceptions to bed by teaching the basics of a cast. Before long I was fighting a smallmouth into the drift boat with a grin on my face. We fished an eight-mile stretch on the Saint Joseph River starting in Mottville, Michigan and ending in Bristol, Indiana. This river is well known for steelhead and salmon in its lower 63-miles during spring and fall, but we were well upstream of those waters. We didn’t fish for trout; the species I usually associate with fly fishing. Instead we went after smallmouth bass. There were a ton of smallmouth in this river and they were extremely fun to catch. The species is a great choice for any aspiring fly angler who lives in the Midwest. [caption id="attachment_1210" align="aligncenter" width="580" caption="Photo Credit: Kristen Monroe"][/caption] Lantz has guided since 1999 and loves taking people fishing. While casting towards the bank, I asked him about being a professional guide. “Beginners are my favorite, because they truly want to learn and they don’t have any bad habits”, said Josh, who’s love for fishing began at age 3 when his grandmother taught him to fish with a cane pole. The intriguing gap between cane pole and fly rod led to another conversation about gear, which also intimidated me in the beginning. I now know that pre-matched fly fishing combo sets are available from many of today’s best manufacturers. This is the way to go. They are affordable and include rod, reel, fly line and leader – everything you need to get started. Of course, there is a lot more to learn about gear, and there are endless options. But when you start off, it is very important to start simply. Lantz says two rods -- a 5-weight and an 8-weight -- would be ideal to cover most types of fish from panfish to salmon. It doesn’t always have to be difficult learning and getting geared up for a new endeavor. You just need a little motivation, and a good teacher. I am always up for a new challenge and enjoy the gifts the outdoor. If you are afraid of something, sometimes it is best to just dive in and learn all about it. You might just come out with a new passion in life that you never knew existed. If I can cast a fly rod, you can too. Coming to Northern Indiana or Southwest Michigan? Contact World Class Fly Fishing with Josh Lantz at (219) 728-8996 or www.gofishn.com/author/josh-lantz.