The idea was right up our alley: Come up with a short list of the most challenging skills in the hunting and fishing world, find leading experts with a mother lode of patience, and put me under their wing for a 36-hour pressure-cooker crash course. Here’s the result of that first grand experiment–sight-casting flies to Louisiana bull redfish.

This adventure had it all: a guide barking orders from the poling platform; wind and tides and chop; and the biggest reds I have ever seen. In today’s video, episode one, it’s back-to-school time with my guide, Capt. Rocky Thickstun, putting me through drills on how to make laser casts. Already, I’m feeling the heat. Episodes two and three will go up later this week (Wednesday and Friday). If you’ve ever had buddies watching over your shoulder as you tried something completely new, you’ll recognize my sweaty brow in this episode.

I thought my days of cramming for exams were over for good. Not so much.