Monday, April 07, 2008

A Simple Cast and Reel

Just west of the Polo Fields, beyond the Police Horse Stables, lies one of Golden Gate Parks most endearing sites, the Angler's Lodge. Built in 1938 by way of the Work Project Administration (WPA), along with its famous row of three casting pools, Angler's Lodge is considered one of the best casting facilities in the world. Surrounded by trees to prevent the wind's interruption, this small fly fishing paradise (for Flickr) provides ample room for any cast you fancy--whether it be the roll or the tuck, but be warned, there are no fish here. On one occasion however, I did see a red-tailed hawk among other wildlife including a mallard duck with his bride.

The casting pools are open to the public and there is access to the lodge and its restrooms. Operating out the lodge is the private--however unexlusive--Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club (GGACC), which began in the summer of 1933 as a subsidiary of the San Francisco Fly Casting Club (SFFCC). Although the GGACC is quite old, the SFFCC was founded in 1894, making it the second oldest casting club in the States. Over the years the GGACC has played host to six national casting tournaments, included the first ever national tourny in 1939. Others were held in 1950, 1956, 1981, 1993, and 1998.

Don't let its old roots through you off; these days the GGACC is still considered one of the top casting clubs on Earth with members located all over the US and around the world. Five-hundred in all, the members of the GGACC welcome anyone interested in fishing or casting to join their ranks. Among current and past members include: Gene Burns and John Gardner, who introduced flourescents to fly bodies, Jim Green, who came up with graphite fly rods, and Phil Miravalle who, along side Jim Green, introduced monoflilament to fly casting. The GGACC has long been a standard in fly fishing and fly casting. Also, the Angler's Lodge has a library filled with information to get anyone started on fishing and the GGACC offers members expert training through seminars as well as tips for fishing vacations and equipment.

In a 1999 piece by Marianne Constantinou, the entire experience of Angler's Lodge is compared to "Zen" and is considered by some to be "a relief for your eyes and your spirit." Constantinou makes the point that Angler's Lodge has long been a part of San Francisco and Golden Gate Park culture; people who came 40 years ago continue to come with their families today. On my visit to the casting pools behind the lodge, I met a man who was teaching his son to roll cast, among other things.

The Angler's Lodge and the GGACC are tucked away amongst tall trees and thick shrubs, but its praise can be found all over the world, included in fishing great Thomas McGuane's The Longest Silence: A Life of Fishing. Over the course of time many things change--for the Angler's Lodge, an entire city grew around it. However, one thing might never change, the relaxation of a simple cast and reel.


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Fashionbible said...

great reporting on something not too many people know about.

miles said...

awesome shot you got of the fisherman. did you talk to him?
another unknown oddity of the city...

Jacob Marx said...

i talked to a few of them, but not seriously. i didnt even get their names.