Jim Rogers

Jim Rogers is a bear of a man in size but not temperament; unless we’re talking about a Teddy Bear.

Tall and somewhat rotund with a big smile and a laugh to match, Rogers is – among many other pursuits – the owner of the Jim Rogers Fly Fishing School www.jimrogersflyschool.com.

Rogers has been fly fishing for more than 50 years and teaching for more than 30. He opened his school about 10 years ago at Bennett Springs State Park www.mostateparks.com/Bennett.htm near Lebanon, Mo., where he manages all the concessions (park store, lodging dining hall and canoe livery).

Bennett Springs is one of the garden spots of the planet. A 100 million gallon per day freshwater spring and an on-site state-operated trout hatchery means that the park waters get a fresh infusion of trout nightly. The park is family friendly, full of trout and nice people, although the fishing is far from easy. The trout are highly educated.

Rogers likes to fly fish and wants everyone else to like it, too. It’s easy, he says. All you have to do is made a good backcast. Rogers is explaining this to my daughter, Rebecca. A delightful teacher, he immediately puts her at ease and within 10 minutes Rebecca is dropping a knot of red yarn into a hook 30 feet in front of her. Rogers imparts a few more words of wisdom and a couple of casts later she’s shooting line.

“Rebecca is really doing great,” he says, a fact I attribute to her 12 years of training in classical dance and nothing to do with genetics.

Jim steps aside to answer a phone call and I pickup a rod and make few casts. Not bad, I thinking, until Jim’s voice booms, “Wait! I can help with that.”