This week I welcome North Georgia’s Wanda Taylor for what turned out to be a larger-than-life fly fishing interview.
Wanda is not only one of the most accomplished fly fishers anyone could meet, but also she is authentic and sincere. When it comes to fly fishing Wanda is the real deal, and she has a great sense of humor.
Wanda Taylor has led a charmed life in a fly fishing sort of way. When she was first learning to fly cast (back in the day) two of her instructors were Lefty Kreh and Joan Wulff. That is like saying you learned to sing and your first two voice coaches were Elvis Presley and Karen Carpenter.
A few of Wanda’s “activities” in the fly fishing world are being the 1st woman in the world certified by the International Federation of Fly Fishers as a Master Certified Casting Instructor. The 1st woman that Orvis Endorsed as a guide in the Southeastern United States.
Wanda has been seen on TBS, ESPN, hosted fishing expeditions on Fly Fish TV, and had the huge honor to be on the Walker’s Cay Chronicles television show with Flip Pallot. She has been featured in magazines such as Fly Fishing Saltwater, Saltwater Sportsman, Sporting Classics, Fly Rod & Reel, Big Game Fishing Journal, Coastal Living, and others too numerous to mention.
Wanda Taylor received the 2005 Woman of the Year award from the Southeastern Federation of Fly Fishers.
And two of the most important things of all…she has been a fly casting instructor and fly fishing guide for over 30 years!
Wanda has done a lot of fly fishing around the world and she shares those experiences and her knowledge with us in this interview.
You need to listen to this interview more than once.
So much information, so little time.
We talk about how Wanda got started in the fly fishing business and how she had to good fortune to learn fly casting from two people you may have heard of, Lefty Kreh and Joan Wulff!
Wanda and Gary Taylor own and operate Taylor & Taylor Fly Fishing School in North Georgia on their 100 year old family farm. The give private casting instruction there and she talks about how the personal attention accelerates the learning process when learning to fly cast.
Wanda talks about why her “instructional guide days” are on the water while you are actually fly fishing for trout. Just learn to read the river? Fly selection? You want to just work on your casting skills? Everything, all at one time (that would be me)?
Wanda asks you what you want from your casting lessons/fly fishing trip and that is what she delivers. Also, have you thought about casting with your non-dominant hand? Wanda says you may cast better with it than your dominant one.
Wanda shares her knowledge on the types of fly rods and gear you will need when you fish in North Georgia or Eastern Tennessee. The nymphing rigs, the fly rigs you need when you are throwing “half a chicken” out to some of the stripers or large mouth bass out there.
We talk about what she has in her waist pack. She shares an interesting difference between having a vest and a waist pack and why you may never use a vest again.
And Finally, I get Wanda to give her spin on some of the fly fishing guide sayings I have written down over the year.
Fly Fishing Flies
In part two we talk in depth about the flies for the four seasons. When Wanda teaches this she gets out the box of Crayons and shows that colors are the most important thing. Think colors when the seasons change.
From Dark to Light
Winter – Black – Midge, ants, stonefly nymphs
Early Spring – Gray – Browns – Hendricksons
Spring – White – Cahills and elk haired caddis
Late Spring – Yellow sulphers - tan caddis
Early Summer – BWO’s lime green – olive – cream and green caddis
Summer – Isonychia (brugandy brown
Fall Stoneflies - stimulators (yeller-orange-green) October caddis (orange)
Fall Terrestrials ants, hopper, beetles
Winter – Spring Summer Fall – Wooly Bugger green, black, white – Chartreuse Clouser – Lefty’s Deceiver
Wanda gives us a great tip on how to observe the fish to figure out what they are eating. Hint: do you see the tail fin, dorsal fin, or do you see them in the air? She gives us another tip on how to cut your tag lines, gives us the packing list before you leave home, and the 4 fly boxes you must have every time you are on the water.
In the Feature Segment, “What To Do When the Fish Aren’t Biting,” Wanda gives us so much information that I recommend you listen to this section two or three times.
Wanda shares with us about the special women she fishes with when she talks about the Casting for Confidence, Hope On the Rise, several other cancer survivor retreats that are near and dear to her heart.
We finish up by Wanda giving us a great guide tip and a fly fishing guide story about Blue Herons, potato guns, and a bleeding fly fishing guide!