I hear this statement a lot: “You get real excited about fishing.” So much so that I make a habit of warning my clients before we launch that I’m going to be loud and make noise and get into it, so just tell me to shut up if it’s too much. I won’t shut up the whole day otherwise. I get asked why a lot of time. Apparently I am a bit fun in the boat and can make a scene. When it all shakes out it comes down to two things:
First. I’m young and it’s just how it is. But moreover, I’ve had a lot of negativity through my early adult life, and fly fishing is a result of that.
Second. Fly fishing is fun, and I get paid to show people a good time. I don’t know how else to do fly fishing but the way I do.
The first thing. My life has been filled with some crap. Like everyone. I’ve been homeless, with my family. I’ve dealt with depression and insomnia which I took prescription drugs for, almost lost my two daughters at birth. The last kid was not fun, and my lady and I took a brief break a while back because I was not being a good husband or father. There’s more, but it’s less important now. My lady and I made a lifestyle change for our family that cut out all the negativity and focused on our family unit and what we wanted out of life. For ourselves and our minions. This choice ultimately led me back to fly fishing and guiding at the suggestion of my always on point lady. She always new I was more at home and myself on the river sharing fly fishing. And when your lady tells you to just get your boat and go guide you don’t argue.
I tell this brief life history because it’s important. A few decades of negativity in ones life dating back to childhood and something happens to you when you find something you are passionate about. All your energy, that pent up frustration with life, the disappointment that ensues from a crummy time, the lack of self love and confidence that develops, all that gets turned into that positive excitement my clients see on the river. Fly Fishing is what makes life mean something for me. I can look back on all my large life decision as an adult, or stressful moments, and I find myself healing through fishing. When I had my first child and spent 3 days in the NICU with her. I went fishing after. When I was unemployed and getting turned down for jobs over and over I went fishing. When my wife left me, fishing, when we got back together…fishing. Almost every time I think back on a major point in my adult life…I’m fishing prior or after. I lose myself in the river and trout and let all that negativity flow away. Leaving only the good stuff.
For me I found the best medicine for a rough go at life. Fly fishing, interacting with nature on many levels, connecting to something organic and tangible, the solitude and community that fly fishing gives, it’s better than any med I ever took. That excitement you see when I’m riverside or when I’m with clients, it’s real, I can’t help it. I used to be really self conscious about it. But after having a few kids, dealing with some shit, and honing my skills as an angler, frankly…I just don’t give a F$&@ now. I get excited about fly fishing and I ain’t ashamed.
The second thing. Fly fishing is pure fun, a frivolous activity that serves no other purpose than those of the selfish endeavors of a fish sensitive outdoorsmen or outdoorswomen.
I used to be a musician, I know what it’s like to entertain, fly fish guiding is no different. I am there to show clients a good time through education, good stories, and all that fly fishing entails. And I assure you it’s a plethora of things. One of the only ways I am stimulated by fly fishing and feel that rush of endorphins that tricking a trout can give any angler is through guiding other anglers and giving them that moment. I need it in large doses so to speak, that’s why we have two angler seats in the drift boat. I gotta double tap that shit. I tell clients if I could pay the bills with the energy and moments I get to share with trout and people I would. Money in this gig is just a byproduct for me. Like a musician who does it for the art, the love and need to create and play music…fly fishing is no different for me.
It may sound corney, or cliche, and some say I take it too seriously, but in the grand scheme of this thing called life…I ask…what else is worth enveloping oneself in? Fly fishing is a great accompaniment to life. After 10 years of doing it I can’t express enough what it can do for people. From the PTSD suffering vet that uses it to heal, to the hard dealt 30 year old father and husband just trying to figure life out and how to best get through it, to the cubicle dwelling couple that just need sunshine and alone time, to the six figure incomers that are stressed and spread thin, to the bullied teenager who just needs a quiet place to find themselves…fly fishing is a great companion. I see people from all different walks of life, river and trout don’t care. All are equally insignificant to the river, trout, and nature. Erry-body got problems, and for some, fly fishing makes them go away for a while. Sometimes that’s all ya need to get through.
Got real there for a bit, but I don’t just take people fishing for the money, when I’m not with clients, I’m still fishing, still chasing those trout, not because I want to conquer fish or because it’s cool…because it’s part of life.
Go chase some trout. River is good right now and everyone needs a little trout love. So trout yourself.