By Jordan Darling, Editor-in-Chief
COVID-19 may have stopped much of the world in its tracks, but George Wing is determined to not let it stop a fly fishing class he teaches at CSUDH from traveling to New Zealand next January.
Yes, you read that right: CSUDH has a fly fishing class, and it’s planning a remarkable expedition to christen 2021.
It might sound a bit presumptuous for a fly fishing class that is part of the university’s intramural program to be entertaining the thought of traveling to the land of kiwis and where the Lord of the Rings franchise was filmed at a time when we can’t travel to the local beach. But then you must consider the biggest Toro in the corner of this obscure fishing program that practices on grass athletic fields:
George Wing, the all-time winningest head coach in CSUDH history, who racked up 447 wins during his 18-year tenure as head baseball coach between 1989-2006. Wing is also the director of CSUDH’s intramural program, and instructor of the fly fishing class.
And as someone who knows the benefits of planning ahead and strategy, Wing has set up all the flights and accommodations for he and his class of 20 fly fisherpeople to travel to New Zealand. He’s also navigated any red tape allowing the trip to fall within the Study Abroad program.
Until mid-March, everything was a go. And then the world turned upside down.
But Wing is ready to go if the CSU Chancellor’s office lifts its current moratorium on out-of-state traffic.
“That is just it, I am definitely sitting on pins and needles waiting on the green light.” Wing said.
Throughout the shutdown Wing is keeping up communication with different companies hoping to solidify the trip so it can continue just as planned.
“[ I have] Fiji Airways on hold, [I have been] negotiating with them [to get] 25 tickets and a group discount, and I have about four or five Airbnbs on hold, there are also tours… [ we were] ready to make deposits until this came about. [Now it’s] keeping up communication.” Wing said.
The fly fishing program at Dominguez came about six years ago when the Intramural Department received some extra money and the chair of the Intramural Department charged Wing with starting the first fly fishing class.
“ [He said] we need to start a fly fishing class [and] you are going to be the instructor and I will be your first student.” Wing said, “And he was, along with 12 other students.”
The one-unit course quickly became a staple in the Intramurals program and now averages between 18 and 20 students a semester
As most people would imagine fly fishing usually involves freshwater, fish, and floppy hats paired with waders and lots of silly looking baubles.
At Dominguez, you need to learn to cast before you can catch a fish and the trick is in the cast. Wing and his fly fishing enthusiasts utilize the activities field right next to the softball field to practice the back and forth motion needed for the perfect cast.
The program usually takes a semesterly trip up to Bishop in the Eastern Sierra region of California to take in the mountain air and take their perfect cast from the softball field to the great outdoors with actual freshwater and actual fish.
The trip is a four-day trip that according to Wing is a first time camping experience for many Toro’s.
In January the class is set to take their fly fishing experience on an international adventure almost 7,000 miles away to New Zealand.
This came about two years ago when Wing and his wife traveled to New Zealand and were able to work with the Tongariro National Trout Centre in Otukuo, New Zealand to educate children and do a bit of fly fishing.
The center is a museum, aquarium, and hatchery that teaches visitors about the natural habitat of trout and provides opportunities for catch and release fly fishing according to the Tongariro National Trout Center website.
The program is set to continue in the fall where more information about the fly fishing program will become available to students.