The weather was perfect on Sunday, June 29, 2014, with warm sunny skies as members of the Empire State Region and their guests converged at Orvis-Sandanona in Millbrook, NY for the inaugural Cast & Blast event. Included were two new members who had become members of FCA/ESR in the last few months. Orvis-Sandanona, the oldest private shooting preserve in New York, is a mere 80 miles north of New York City and home to the renowned Orvis shooting and fly fishing schools and the famed Sporting Clays course. The group of 14 participants had chosen between shooting a round of sporting clays, a shooting lesson or a fly fishing lesson and were eager to get at it when they arrived. Following a brief safety meeting, the members and their guests broke up into the respective groups and headed out into the field.
The shooting group enjoyed the varied stations of the sporting clays course that truly tested their shooting skills. Passing, incoming, and crossing shots tested their abilities with the shotgun while providing much fun and enjoyment. The shooting lesson group was accompanied by two well-experienced instructors who shared their vast knowledge with the group. Guns and ammunition were provided to the participants who learned about gun safety, how to mount, aim and fire the gun all in hopes of breaking one of those clay targets. Like those shooting on their own, the students in the shooting lesson were exposed to various targets and taught how to best prepare for and hit those targets. The fly fishing class began with an introduction to making a simple forward cast with enough skill to present the fly. Following some practice without a fly, the instructor tied on flues for the students in hopes of enticing a fish or two from the Orvis pond. The casters quickly mastered the art of fly casting and were casting with considerable improvement by the end of the morning.
The three groups reconvened as a single group for lunch in the Shooters’ Café at Sandanona where they enjoyed a varied menu. Sandwiches, salads, soups, and grilled tuna were all appreciated by the participants in the relaxing environment of the Café and Orvis’ clubhouse. Too quickly the day came to an end and it was time for everyone to bid adieu to Orvis-Sandanona taking with them fond memories and stories to share with others.