I’m Capt JD and I provide fly-fishing lessons on Daniel Island in South Carolina. I provide a comprehensive lesson plan or customized programs for those who want to know more about specific topics.  I’ve been fly-fishing for over 40 years, from the North West Territories in Canada to Hawaii, from Key West to Maine. I would love to give you and your friends the amazing world of fly-fishing.  I have a “soft” approach to teaching. This means teaching moves at a rate that caters to the student and their ability to learn and apply the instruction. I enjoy teaching kids of all ages, ladies who might be a bit shy to get out on the water, and older folks who may have a limited range of motion. Fly-fishing is fun, strategic, exciting, therapeutic, and rewarding in so many ways!

Hourly Rates

Individual: $40
Two Individuals: $30 each
Groups: $25 each

Please reach out via e-mail if you would like more info on setting something up!  Contact Us.

Topics Covered

Theory & Physics

Some may ask, “why fly-fish?”. We answer the question! Further discussion includes the physics behind fly-fishing and the mechanics which make it so effective.

Fly Casting

Different casts are used for different environments (e.g. no room behind you, super windy day, need additional line slack in the water, and so on). How you present your fly is everything and choosing the right cast will make things much more effective. We discuss how to effectively “throw line” through the air, double-haul, and water-load a cast. This is a sizable topic. We will be casting on grass for a portion of the time and casting in a pond for the remaining time.

Fly Rods & Reels

Discussions include how the “weight system” works. What rod size or “weight” should you buy/ use? What’s the difference between a “slow” and “fast” rod? What size reel should you buy/ use? How does it all work together?

Fly Lines

Discussions include how the “weight system” works in relation to line. What “weight” line should you buy/ use? How do you know what line “taper” is best for you? How do floating and sinking lines work?

Leaders & Tippet

Discussions include how leaders work, how to tie a proper leader, the proper length of leaders, differences between monofilament and fluorocarbon and their ideal use, etc. Further topics include tippet material and its many applications, shock tippets, tippet abrasion, tippet rings, etc.

Knot Tying

Discussions include numerous knots available and their many applications. Knots in fly-fishing can be somewhat subjective. Discovering knots that are easy to tie and those perfect for your application will be the goal. A great resource for fishing knots can be found at Animated Knots.

Targeting Species

How you go after specific species depends greatly on whether the fish are opportunistic or ambush predators, and your given environment. The location, time of year, temp, and time of day plays a big part in how you after your target. Seasonal migrations, tidal considerations, and sea floor conditions make a sizable difference as well. Lots to discuss here!

Approaching the Water

A stealthy approach to your target is often required in fly-fishing. A notable rule in fly-fishing says, if you can see the fish, they can see you. On few occasions where the hatch is in full swing or there is a feeding frenzy, you may find it doesn’t matter so much. We will discuss how to walk up on a new stretch of river, where to fish first, and which way to walk/ wade to effectively cover the fishery. A good portion of this topic will focus on how to find the “fishy” spots in the river, lake, marsh, mangroves, etc.

Fly Presentation

Discussions will break down differences in freshwater and saltwater fly presentation. Understanding the fly, bug, baitfish, or crustacean you are fishing will dictate how you present and “work” the fly. Floating a caddis in the bubble-line on a river will be much different from twitching a shrimp on the sandy bottom in some skinny water. How do you swim a frog, mouse, or baitfish? Discussions will also include stripping, ticking, mending, having a tight line, and having slack in the line. This is a great topic!

Setting the Hook

Some differences exist between freshwater and saltwater when it comes to setting the hook. A majority of the time in freshwater, simply lifting your rod will do the trick – similarly to preparing for a back-cast. Larger species may require a strip-set, or using the line to set the hook. At one point, the sponginess of a rod might not have enough shock to properly set a hook.  Lots to discuss.

Retrieving Fish

Understanding the physics of catching fish is important. It’s imperative all understand that the rod catches the fish, not the line. The idea behind using a flexible rod to catch a fish is to use the spring in the rod to “tire out the fish”. If the rod is not kept at 90 degrees to the fish, you are losing precious energy. We will discuss more on this in class! A basic to cover will be the concept of “lifting up and reeling down”, something I see the majority of people don’t do in most types of fishing. Should you strip a fish in, or reel it in? Discussions will cover all the mechanics to retrieving and landing fish safely and carefully, all while respecting the fish and fishery.

Holding Fish

In the beginning, we all didn’t know how the hold the fish, or respect the fish. Over many years, biologist and stewards of the fisheries have been kind enough to educate us all on the best way to care for fish when handling them. We will discuss all the ways you can safely land/ hold fish. This of course will all vary with the size of fish caught. Simple and up-front concepts will include, removing your gloves, wetting your hands, using the one-handed belly grab for small fish, two hands for slightly larger fish, never hang the fish, use a silicone net, minimize the time out of water, etc. If the fish isn’t dripping, it’s too dry! We will also include instruction on properly releasing fish – please revive/ release fish facing up current or facing forward in a moving boat. This allows for proper oxygenation prior to release.

Taking Pictures of Fish

Discussions will include prepping for a picture, meaning orchestrating the shot before the fish is pulled out of the water. For example, the sun should be behind the picture-taker, make sure to have an interesting background, level the horizon, take multiple pics at one time, etc. Remember, if the fish isn’t dripping, it’s too dry! Be creative, meaning take macro pics of the just the head (with fly still hooked), take shots of releasing the fish, take shots of the amazing spots of the tail, etc.

Flies & Entomology

For the most part, flies differ between freshwater and saltwater. Some overlap exists when it comes to simulating a baitfish, frogs, crabs, shrimp, etc. With respect to freshwater, we will discuss all the basics in dry flies, wet flies, and streamers. What does “matching the hatch” mean? We will discuss the differences in nymphs and emergers, and when to use them. We will also discuss the life of a fly and the stages of development.

Fly Tying

Time slows down when fly tying. It’s therapeutic in so many ways. It’s a great avenue for design and creativity. The fulfilling part of tying flies is the fact you catch fish on them! Class will include a comprehensive look at numerous freshwater and saltwater flies, demonstrating how to tie various patters, and students tying flies will get to keep for their next outing.

Provisioning Gear

Discussions will focus on the student’s current goals for accumulating gear and equipment, and provisioning for up-coming trips. How much do you spend on gear? A sizable stratification exists in quality of gear. Some gear is designed for those in the early stages of the sport and other gear is designed for those who have a requirement for commercial or high volume of use. Different grades of material are used for different applications. Big differences exist when provisioning gear for saltwater vs. freshwater. Sun-grade gear is very different from cold weather gear. Lots to talk about…

Packing the Essentials

Packing gear will be determined by your specific trip requirement and the environment. The time of year, weather, type of fishing (e.g. walking, wading, drifting, fishing the surf, fishing skinny water, fishing high-mountain lakes, etc.), your accommodations, etc. will all make a difference. So much to discuss on this topic.

Rowing a Drift-Boat

The difference between rowing a drift-boat or raft for yourself, or others, will be discussed. Safety considerations, how the river behaves, and the way a boat reacts in the river will be a topic. Discussions on how to move through rapids, take advantage of the fishy spots, and sneaking up on fish will be covered. Physics play a big part in how a boat moves through the water. We will cover all your concerns, building your confidence, and make it much easier to enjoy your day out on the water.

Etiquette On the Water

As in any activity or sport, etiquette plays a large part. Discussions on etiquette will include giving others a wide berth, especially when walking/ wading. Nothing is worse than someone coming down to the river and trampling all over the pristine un-fished river above you – dirt/ sediment drifting down river and scaring all the fish back into hiding. We will also discuss the concept of “low-holing” in a drift-boat and how to respect others who are currently fishing a “run”. How to avoid fishing private property will be a topic. Proper etiquette is a must.


Each state controls the licensing for its fisheries. Most states offer a way to obtain a fishing license on-line. Licenses are typically offered for Adults with discounts for kids under 12 or 16, some states may still not require a license for young folks. Licenses are typically offered in a duration of 1-day, 3-day, and 10-day, with of course an annual option. We will discuss all the options, where you plan to fish, and any other forms of licensing needed (e.g. local regulations, harvesting tags, etc.).

Questions or comments? Please feel free to comment/ reply to this post below – We will be glad to offer any additional advice.


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