One-of-a-kind Instruction

Mark started his guide service in 1979 by teaching people how to fly fish. He often says that he teaches the basic class as the "one I would have loved to have had when I first started." There are so many facets to fly fishing that starting out on your own can be overwhelming. Here's an opportunity to ask any questions you ever wanted to know regarding this great sport!

Our Basic and Intermediate Class is for beginners looking to learn the basics of fly fishing or for those who have tried it a few times but need to fill in some gaps in their knowledge and skills. These classes are about more than just how to cast, we'll dive deep into the "why" behind each casting stroke, exploring not only the ins and outs of your gear, but the ecology of aquatic insects and bait fish, the flies that mimic them, and where the fish are most likely to be waiting. We end the day by putting all of this new knowledge into action on the river, with your fly fishing instructor by your side.

Our Advanced Class is designed for experienced fly anglers and can help improve your skills through video analysis of your casting style. Private lessons (at your location or ours) are available by the hour. Special dates for classes can be arranged for groups of four or more.


Basic and Intermediate Fly Classes

The Basic Fly Fishing Class is designed to help beginners get off to a good start and aid intermediates in polishing their skills.  Smallmouth bass classes are held in the summer and fall and meet in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia along the Potomac River.

All facets of fly fishing are covered in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. Group size is small so that instruction can be tailored to meet each student’s personal needs as well as provide plenty of one-on-one contact and critique. Whenever classes are larger than 4 people, Mark has an associate instructor work with him.

The class includes:

  • A full day of instruction plus fishing. Starting time is 8:30 a.m. We usually finish around nightfall.
  • Discussion of rods, reels, fly lines, leaders, and knot tying.
  • Information on aquatic insects, baitfish and other stream and land dwellers that make up a fish’s diet.
  • A review of dry flies, nymphs, terrestrials and streamer patterns commonly used to imitate natural life forms.
  • Indoor demonstrations with a yarn rod of the basic casting stroke, loop shape and line control as well as the many casts used to achieve the longest possible drag-free float.
  • Casting on an open field while learning a series of exercises and casts to improve line control and presentation.
  • Streamside talks on reading water, sampling insect life and selecting the best imitations.
  • Two to four hours of stream fishing under skilled guidance.
  • The use of a rigged rod and reel along with an outfitted fishing vest.
  • A morning coffee service and lunch.

Please visit our Fly Fishing Class FAQs for more information on locations, what to expect, and what to bring.

2017 Schedule for Basic/Intermediate Bass Schools - Potomac River, Harpers Ferry, WV:

  • Saturday, June 3
  • Sunday, July 1
  • Saturday, August 5
  • Saturday, September 9

The fee for a Basic/Intermediate Fly Fishing Class is $175 per person. There is a maximum of 10 students per class. Reserve your spot now!

Mark has put together in a one day session one of the most complete introductions to the sport of fly fishing that I know. The learning environment he creates makes you feel as though a close friend is sharing his treasured knowledge and skills with you. And the underlying organization and professionalism is hard to beat.
— Ben Schley, Potomac River Flyrodder for over 65 years. Retired Assistant to Director of U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service
Mark, an old student of mine, has organized a class along the lines of my system of fishing. He does an excellent job of transferring the classroom experience to the casting field and onto the stream. I’m sure many anglers would benefit from his instruction.
— Doug Swisher, fly fishing author, instructor, guide and product developer, Darby, Montana

Advanced Fly Fishing Classes

Think of yourself standing in the middle of flowing water, casting a fly to a feeding fish—and you have complete control. This class is designed to help you achieve that feeling. For the first half of the day, you improve casting skills through the use of video analysis. Reviewing videos of yourself greatly increases your knowledge of the casting stroke and focuses attention on particular problems you may have. This is a unique experience. The old adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" truly applies. In the afternoon you are in the water and fishing. Your instructor is wading by your side suggesting and demonstrating applicable casting techniques for the fishing situation at hand. You are coached on how to work streamers, nymphs, and dry flies, and on how to read water and recognize fish habitat.

The class includes:

  • Discussions and indoor demonstrations of the mechanics of fly casting, loop shape, and line control.
  • Casting on an open field while learning a series of exercises and casts used to improve line control and presentation while the camera is running.
  • Video review sessions of yourself casting. Pointers are given on different methods you can use to improve personal technique.
  • Stream side talks on reading water and presentations used to effectively fish structures such as ledges, rocks, split currents, eddies, and holes.
  • Hours of guided river fishing with emphasis on application.
  • The use of rigged fly rods of various weights and lengths.
  • A morning coffee service and lunch.

Please visit our Fly Fishing Class FAQs for more information on locations, what to expect, and what to bring.

Advanced schools are offered based on interest. We also offer private lessons (at your location or ours) by the hour. Special dates for classes can be arranged for groups of four or more. Contact us to make a reservation!