ETSU fly fishing course returns for sixth year

Jonathan Roberts • Jul 7, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Jack Sanders has been teaching East Tennessee State University’s fly fishing course for six years now, and even though he’s in his 70s, he’s enjoying every second of it.

The class got its start when Sanders, while working with ETSU’s administration, discovered that ETSU had never offered a class of that kind.

“I called Penn State, a university in Kentucky and one in Arkansas — three institutions I came across in a Google search that offered such a class, and I put together a course syllabus,” Sanders said.

“Then I had to get it approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents and go about advertising it, so I was standing outside of Brooks Gym with a fly fishing rod trying to get students to notice,” Sanders said with a laugh.

The class is spectacularly cheap for a college course as well, costing full-time undergraduate students just $58. Senior citizens can also take the class for $50 as a non-credit course, but Sanders notes he’s only taught a handful of seniors during his time teaching the course.

For Sanders, the course is less about who he teaches, and more about getting people interested in the sport of fly fishing, but he knows that’s easier said than done.

“I knew from conversations with other (fly fishers) over the last few decades, that if a person has the basic skills, they would have the confidence to go out to the river and start enjoying the sport,” Sanders said.

Enrollment is capped at 20 students, though the class has stayed consistent at about 15-19 students per semester. So far, just four students have enrolled in the class.

For those interested in registering, the class can be found on Goldlink under “PHED2523”. Class begins Aug. 29, and will be held Thursday’s from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

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