Eastern Michigan University graduate and local businessman Mark Schultz, from Schultz Outfitters, is trying to start a fly fishing club at EMU.
Schultz, who graduated from the College of Business in 2004, was an EMU Hockey Club player and is now looking to open a new club for fellow fishers at the university.
“We started the store in March and I started fly fishing in 2003,” Schultz said. “I started fly fishing with mostly just local places like the Huron River which is right in Ypsilanti and just kept on with it. The local season here starts on the last Saturday of April and we fly fish here till about the end of October.”
Fly fishing differs from regular fishing based on the equipment and style. It uses the angling method of fishing styles that uses an artificial fly to catch fish. The fly is cast using a fly rod reel and a specialized weighted line. Casting a weightless fly or lure takes casting techniques significantly different from normal forms of casting.
“The biggest difference really is the style of rod we use,” Schultz said. “We use a longer rod than other fishing poles called a fly rod and special lines that are much thicker and less likely to break compared to regular fishing lines. It would cost about $120 for someone to get all the gear that they would need and would be able to get started, which isn’t that bad of a price for such a great hobby.”
Since fly fishing can be done in fresh and sea water, Schultz and the club are able travel to many different areas. Schultz had just returned to the store from a Wisconsin fishing trip.
“We were fishing for muskie fish which are pretty big fish. Biggest one caught on the day was about 43 inches long and weighed about a good 25 pounds,” Schultz said.
The club is looking for support from students on campus to expand their numbers. So far, the club has three official members and they are looking to add many new members. A large supporter of the club is EMU senior men’s cross country captain James Hughes.
“We have a great river here in Ypsilanti right next to our campus and we need to be fishing in it,” Hughes said. “We need to have a club for it, it’s a great river for catching smallmouth basses and it is just an awesome sport.”
Numerous other universities in Michigan already have fly fishing clubs: Michigan State, Western Michigan, Northern Michigan and Central Michigan all have fly fishing tournaments being held in the fall. EMU would need more members on the up-and-coming team to compete in the approaching tournaments this season.
Schultz Outfitters is located in Depot Town at 4 E. Cross Street and will be having their first official meeting for students interested in joining the club Nov. 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. People can go to the store earlier for information as well. Schultz’s business partner, Brian Doelle, explained the stress relief the club and the sport can provide students.
“It is one of the greatest sports I have ever been a part of,” Doelle said. “It is so challenging and requires a lot of skill to master, but it is very peaceful and stress relieving. It’s a great way for students to just go put their minds somewhere else and just relax for a little bit and avoid stress.”
Hughes said the sport and club are both inexpensive.
“It is right in our backyard and you can walk to the river from campus really quick and you don’t have to waste gas. Save cash and catch a bass,” he said.