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Hooked On Fly Fishing

The picturesque idea of standing peacefully in a gentle stream, the wind in your hair and the gentle caress of nature about you might sound like nothing more than a fantasy for those who have grown accustomed to the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the suburbs. However, for Tom McCoy, this ideal often becomes a reality through the sport of fly fishing. 


McCoy, author of How to Fly Fish for Trout: The First Book to Read, was born and raised in Westbury, and spent the days of his youth fishing in Whitney Pond and The Meadow Brook. McCoy first encountered trout back in 1957 in the East Durham area of New York’s Catskills, otherwise known as the “Irish Alps,” he said.


 “My family was vacationing there at a boarding house. I was 10 years old at the time,” he said. “My father took me down to the river, got me a drop line, cut down a sapling, put a hook on it, and we caught a trout...that was the beginning of it.”


 McCoy started fly fishing regularly as a teenager, and as he got older, became more and more enamored. Now in his late 70’s, he says it’s a way of life for him, something that amounts to far more than merely the act of catching a fish. Fly fishing, McCoy says, is a wonderful way to commune with nature itself in all her majesty.


 “Some of us just gravitate toward the natural world, the primitive ways, the equalizing of the challenge between fisher and fish, the satisfaction of counting coup,” he said. “Historically, the sport was thought of as one for those of means or those with special skills. It’s more than just about catching fish, it just becomes a part of you, a way to connect with nature.”


 How to Fly Fish for Trout, which is McCoy’s second published book, began simply as a birthday present for a friend who wanted to learn how to fly fish.


 “I went to the book store looking for a book that would make sense to him. I must have gone through 10 books, and none of them were clear or clean or easy to follow. They were all so complicated and scary,” he said. “So, I went home and I wrote him a book of my own and gave it to him. This was almost 10 years ago, and since then the book has grown and been refined, and when I retired last April, I decided to finish it.”


 “In a way, it’s a simpler, more primitive way of challenging a fish,” McCoy said of the sport of fly fishing. “For example, the reel is a non-duplicating’s just line on a spool, that’s all it is. You’re in direct contact with the fish...there’s no mechanical device between you, and the rod doesn’t give you any assistance. It’s very basic and challenging and natural. Man against nature.”


 McCoy published How to Fly Fish for Trout on Jan. 6 through Createspace, an company that specializes in print-on-demand books and e-books; the 158 page-book can be purchased through Amazon in either print format or downloaded to the Kindle e-reader. In addition, McCoy’s book is also available physically for purchase at several Long Island sporting good stores in Oceanside, Huntington Kings Park and Northport, which is where McCoy lives now.


 McCoy is no stranger to being published; he has written several articles over the years for various periodicals, such as Fly Fishing Magazine and the Catskills Fly Fishing Museum newsletter, among others. However, he said reaching the milestone of publishing his very own book was especially gratifying to him.


 “To have something actually out into print like this is absolutely thrilling,” he said. “If you had to do it the old way where you had to get a publisher and a book agent, this never would have happened. But I’ve already sold 200 copies, and I was told I’d be lucky if I sold 20. The book is catching on and it’s an enjoyable read. It’s not instructional in nature. It’s like a friend talking to a friend.”


Westbury High School students are teaching younger children from Park Avenue Elementary School valuable life lessons about money and business skills through the High School Heroes program.


In this program, high school students that are taking Renate Johnson’s Junior Achievement class will go into first grade classrooms to teach 45-minute lessons.


“It is a program that gives high school and younger students confidence and teaches them about business and financial literacy,” said Johnson.

The Westbury Historical Society will host Dr. Natalie Naylor, professor emerita at Hofstra University and author of Women in Long Island’s Past: Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives at their next meeting on March 9. 


Naylor’s presentation will focus on the place of women in Long Island’s history, including several prominent women from Westbury’s past.  


Albertson resident and Kellenberg sophomore Gabby Schreib qualified for the Millrose Games in New York City. Schreib qualified as a member of the Sprint Medley Relay along with Danielle Correia, Bridget McNierney, and Jazmine Fray. 


The Kellenberg relay’s close second place finish in January’s Millrose Trials has moved them closer to defending the title they won in the same relay at last year’s Millrose Games. Schreib and her teammates time is currently second in the United States for girls track and field performances.

Congratulations to Westbury athletes Michael Esposito, Eileen Harris, Brett Harris, and Michael Going, each of whom won awards in Race # 1 of the Jonas Chiropractic Run Nassau Series co-hosted by Nassau County and the Greater Long Island Running Club.


Michael Esposito, age 15, took home the second place award in the 15-19 age group with a time of 23 minutes, 6 seconds.  Eileen Harris, age 42, earned the first place award in the women’s 40-44 age group.  She completed the race with her 45 year old husband, Brett Harris, who was the third place award winner in the men’s 45-49 age group.  Michael Going, age 41, scored third place honors in the 40-44 age group with a time of 20 minutes, 51 seconds.


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