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Bill Cairns was a pioneer in ...
Bill Cairns was a pioneer in fly-fishing instruction and a Master Caster.
If you've been an Orvis customer for a while, you're surely familiar with the photo above, of an angler laying out a gorgeous loop over the Battenkill.
It has become an iconic image-used in catalogs, retail stores, and on the Web-because it captures the grace, power, and beauty of fly fishing so brilliantly.
The artist holding the rod in the photo is longtime Orvis casting instructor Bill Cairns, who passed away last month at the age of 81 at his home in nearby Arlington, Vermont.
Truel Myers, who currently directs the Orvis Manchester Fly Fishing School, says that Bill was an inspiration to him and to all young instructors at the beginning of their careers.
offers a student some advice, while Truel Myers films the interaction.
I was fortunate enough to work with Bill
during my first few years as an instructor, and he
was a huge influence on my casting.
I would constantly try to cast as far as I could.
would just look on and not say a word, then Bill
would make a cast twice as far, with a fraction of the effort.
I would try to get tips or tricks from him all the time.
would show me a cast, and I would spend hours, days, even weeks trying to figure out how he
could make it look so easy.
When I would finally give up and ask Bill
, "What am I doing wrong"?
would just say, "Don't use so much wrist."
One great thing about Bill
was that he
was always honest and straightforward, albeit sometimes brutally so.
I once asked him what he
thought of a lesson I'd just given, and he
replied simply, "It sucked.
Just the truth.
was one of the best instructors, casters, and mentors I've ever had the privilege of working with.
The Fly fishing world has lost one of the greatest contributors to the sport.
Thanks for everything Bill
was most at home
on the water, chasing "big-ass brown trout."
I picked up an 8 3 piece Battenkill Rod and with Bill
went out to the casting pond.
was an amazing caster and flung a line that was a piece of artwork.
Last saw him at the Somerset Fly Show about 3 years ago.
would stop in the store once or twice a week while "running errands" to hang out and talk fishing, or baseball, or just about anything.
I swear his
wife Norma probably thought he
was running all over Vermont finding the perfect groceries!
Thank you for this heartfelt article about Bill
and the great photos.
is my Father-in-law and much loved and missed by his
I am happy to know that his
legacy lives on in the students that he
What an experience to spend 10 years with Bill
at the Orvis School
Teaching a student was always great, but watching Bill
handle a rod and listen to his
stories was the best..
Our several trips were always enjoyable and a learning experience.
was a one of a kind individual with talent , whit and just fun to be around.
Glad I had the opportunity to drive upto Manchester to take part in his
We never got together in Rhode Island but Bill
is always there when I have a Blue or Stripper on the line
Berkshire Eagle Online - Striped bass fishing is hot on Cape Cod
On Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Tamarack Lounge at the Bousquet Ski Area, the Berkshire County Fly Fishers will have Bill Cairns as their guest speaker.Cairns' presentation will be titled "Casting Styles."He is the founding director of the Orvis Fly Fishing Schools and is widely known as one of the finest and smoothest fly casters in the world.
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EclecticGuy> Blog Archive > Fly Casting Clinic with Bill Cairns
Fly Casting Clinic with Bill Cairns
EclecticGuy May 14, 2005 family, fly fishing No Comments
Bill Cairns was the founding Director of the Orvis Fly Fishing School and is a phenomenal fly caster - right handed, left handed or both hands at the same time!
It was spectacular watching him cast.
My Trout Unlimited chapter - Squanatissit
- hosted the event that took place on one of our member's farm.
A good size group of members came to watch and learn - and I bought my son Nick too.
started by giving demonstrations of different casts and his
prowess at casting with either hand.
Steeple Cast was spectacular - I'll be working on that one!
After the demonstration, Bill worked with individuals in the group 1 on 1.
spent a lot of time with Nick and his
cast really improved from it.
Outdoors magazine advertising opportunities
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(Bill Cairns is the senior fly-fishing instructor and guide at the Orvis Fly Fishing School, Manchester, Vermont, an institution he helped launch in 1965.)