If you could never fly fish again, what activity would subsequently take over your life?
Supposing I lost both my arms in a tragic machete fight accident and couldn't fly fish anymore, what would I do ?
Travel, I think. Since much of my travel is fishing related and vice versa, it seems logical that I would continue to wander the globe and watch other people do it.
Maybe even stand beside them all day and tell them they're not doing it right ! Sounds like I'll be a guide, doesn't it?
How do you take your coffee?
I don't drink coffee. Drinks should be cold, preferably with ice cubes and no umbrella. Scotch is best at room temperature.
What was your first fly rod? First time you broke a rod?
Many years ago a friend introduced me to fly fishing. The next week I bought a Sage VPS 5 weight blank and proceded to build my first rod. I've never broken it and still have it. I even still take it out once in a while, but we aren't besties like we used to be.
First fish you caught on a fly you tied?
Very early in my fishing life, I did a solo saltwater trip to Christmas Island. I met some other anglers (who remain friends to this day) and one showed me how to tie a Crazy Charlie over cocktails after fishing. Bonefish being bonefish, I caught numerous fish on those flies the very next day. I still tie Crazy Charlies for bonefish, and learned 3 or 4 new patterns too!
What excites you about working in the fly fishing community?
I am very involved with the local chapter of Trout Unlimited (Bow River). Alongside this, working in the shop gives me a chance to live and breathe entirely within the angling and conservation community. I get to talk fishing all day, listen to angler comments and suggestions about the river, and then fish myself on other days. Working in the business also allows me to see and try out the latest kit from our suppliers. Downsides seem to be few and far between, I will update this if I ever discover one.
Would you consider any specific water body your home waters? How have these waters shaped you as fly angler?
This one seems to have a Chicken vs Egg feel.
I like to fish dry flies and I prefer to walk and wade on smaller rivers and streams. So do I like small creeks because they are great places to fish dry flies, or do I prefer dry flies because I'm on smaller water ?
I learned to fish on the Bow, so in one sense it is my home water even though I don't fish here as often as I used to. I have recently taken up spey casting, and the Bow is an absolutely perfect place to ply this craft. Swinging flies on light microspey rods. It opens up a whole new dimension in fly fishing travel too.
Beyond simply catching fish, what excites you about fly fishing?
Fly fishing has for me, become much more about casting than catching. I really love the artistry and mental engagement of casting, making difficult and precise presentations and working the fly on the water. The solitude and natural wonder that surrounds us on the river.
Fly fishing has taken me to so many places that I never would have considered as destinations, sometimes I don't even want to tell other people about them.
What is your dream trip? Both within Canada and globally.
I have fished numerous times in South America, Alaska, the Caribbean, Central America, Mongolia, Kiribati, the NWT, and throughout AB, SK and BC. In 2020 I will return to Argentina again and go to Kamchatka for the first time. I have traveled so frequently the "dream trip" takes on a slightly magical connotation, being both exotic and somehow almost unattainable.
That dream trip right now, is probably the Seychelles. Just the right confluence of great fishing with the probability of never actually spending that much to go there.
What's your #1 tip for a new fly fisher?
Fly fishing is at its core, very simple. Getting a fish to eat a food imitation presented on a rod and line.
Don't be intimidated by the profusion of gear and terminology. The learning curve can seem steep, endless and early on, lacking in definable achievements. Set your own benchmarks, try and learn one new thing every time you fish with a buddy. That sack of knowledge you are trying to fill doesn't actually have a bottom, so don't worry that you haven't 'learned it all', or that next guy knows more than you. It's a great sharing community, help is right on the next bend of the river or right here in the fly shop.