As I finish my third summer in 2019 of being a fly fishing guide I wanted to reflect on my experiences thus far. I really guide all year, but consider Labor Day the end of summer like many. Since beginning this journey of officially being a fly fishing guide in Northwest Arkansas, I have learned so much and have truely treasured the experience.
1- I have loved my clients. The clients I have taken fly fishing have been absolutely amazing and a pretty diverse group. I’ve taken men on solo trips, family members, father and sons, father and daughters, moms and sons, 3 generations of family men, and husbands and wives. A few have had some level of experience, but the majority have never really fished before and just a few had ever fly fished before. Each trip has been special and memorable to me and I absolutely love the experiences each one of these trips has brought. The joy it brings my heart to see each of these people catch a trout fly fishing is so rewarding. I get just as excited about them catching a fish as they probably do.
2- Everyone has a story. I’ve found everyone brings a different life story to the river and has a unique journey in their life. I’ve had rocket scientists, corporate people, small business owners, stay at homes, retirees and teenagers just to call out a few examples. Each trip is like a box of chocolate, I never know what the next client will bring to the river. I love talking with them and learning about what they do, where they come from and where they are going in life. By the end of trip I consider them friends because we have learned so much about each other. Fishing in a beautiful and peaceful environment really seems to let your guard down and be friendly. Each interaction and conversation is just so different that I feel I don’t repeat my same story over and over and I definitely don’t hear the same story. Everyone I have met has been just so amazing.
3- Don’t take it for granted. The one common theme that all clients mention is that the river is so beautiful and peaceful. They love the environment and love the experience it brings. It constantly reminds me to stop and see the beauty in what I find common. Deep down I am drawn to fishing because of the beauty and peace, but I take it for granted because I am there so often. The awe is not as strong, but they remind me to treasure it and appreciate it. I am tremulously thankful for that. The river, trees, mountains and fish are all so beautiful and amazing!
4- People learn differently. Some clients are ready and eager to learn a new skill and some are apprehensive about the unknowns of the whole process. I’ve learned that I have to quickly read what type of learner they are and form my words to ease their stress or frustration. It is my job to bring them peace while they learn the beautiful skill of fly fishing because there is going to be quite a bit of issues as we get started. Most are easy to get calmed down and progress nicely. For others it takes a little more time and reassurance that they are progressing just fine. The hardest balance I find is how much to teach and correct versus just let them fish. If I can get them to a descent casting form I usually go with it and focus on the catching and the overall experience.
5- Confidence. It is remarkable how much people change from that first introduction to the final fish they bring in on a trip. The confidence, contentment, happiness, and fulfillment they exude at the end just brings absolute joy to my heart. The ear to ear smiles are a rewarding sight. We talk together like we are pro anglers and friends and shake hands like we are family. It is such a great feeling to finish a successful trip and have everyone happy, content and confident.
Final thought- I love fly fishing and I love teaching other people how to fly fish. My contentment is equal in whether I am catching the fish or helping someone catch a fish. The satisfaction I receive in both situations keeps me looking forward to that next experience.
Thanks for reading and hope to see on the river. To book your fly fishing experience call or text me