As long as I can remember I’ve always been fascinated with the mysteries that lie beneath the water’s surface. I got my first fly rod when I was 9 years old. I wandered around my yard collecting stray bird feathers, loosely tying them to hooks. Shortly after, I was ready to hit the water with my own ambitious creations. With a small creek running though my neighborhood I had the chance to have my first experiences with fly fishing. Its debatable if there were fish in that creek but that’s where it all started… exploring waters with fly rod in hand, trying to understand whats happening beneath the surface. As a kid, every body of water we passed I always asked my parents “what kind of fish do you think may live in there”, fast forward 20 years and Im still asking the same questions, and dreaming the same thoughts. The only difference is that now I can explore these waters on my own and make my own discoveries all through the vehicle that is fly fishing.
Who introduced you to fly fishing?
I’m probably in the minority here but I never really had that direct mentor that introduced me to the sport. I was just drawn to it from an early age and never fought the urge. I can remember seeing A River Runs Through It when I was about nine and that hit me like a sack of bricks. I have always been lucky enough to have productive waters close by so it was easy to scratch the itch as a kid.
Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?
Living on the coast of Southern Maine gives me a great magnitude of species to chase with only a short drive in a lot of cases. Striped bass fishing is my favorite, and where I spend most of my time. The thing that I love about stripers is that you can fish for them in so many different elements… you can fish the rocky coast where stripers pin bait against the rocks as the surf rolls in, you can hunt them on the sand flats and sling crabs at ‘em in 16” of water, they school up and bust bait on the surface and they feed just about everywhere in between. Im currently on the quest for bigger fish, so I’m spending my time on the rocky coast where you have the chance at a true giant.
What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?
The season starts for us in Southern Maine around the end of May and runs towards the end of September. Unlike other southern striper fisheries, our water stays cold enough that you can find fish all season long close to the coast. My personal favorite time of year is September when the waters quiet after a busy tourist season, signs of fall begin to show and you have a better shot at bigger fish. I love a nip in the air, and seeing signs of the changing seasons on the water, its all around you if you know where to look.
What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?
I love heading back west to trout fish. As a former trout fishing guide in Colorado, I love getting back to the rivers of my former life and casting to big browns. New water is one of my favorite things to seek though. Seeing new fish and new bodies of water always offers learning experiences and thats what really gets me jazzed. Bucket list fish… I would love to catch a fly rod sized blue fin inshore on the fly. Something in the 30 to 40 pound class. They are the kings of the sea in the North Atlantic and I had the honor to bump into a school recently and look forward to redemption! They love chasing stripers too, so we have that in common!
What you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?
As a co-founder of Tidal Roots, where we build handmade wooden standup paddleboards in New England, what resonates with me most about T&T rods is the heritage, tradition, and american made quality. T&T rods cast beautifully, of course, but its what the company stands for that really moves me. There is a lot of clutter in the market place today and T&T allows you to have a deep connection to their product. Master rod builders create each rod and you can feel the attention to detail and love from the craftsman instill in each rod with each cast you take. My go to is the SOLAR 9wt. With accuracy at all distances and a backbone to land big fish that kit has a special place in my quiver. When I aim to have a lighter touch on the water while chasing trout and other species, I go with the spire in a 5 or 6 weight depending on the mood.
What's your current go-to fly?
I tied most all of the flies that I use, and I don’t get to hung up on the names, although there are an increasingly number of wildly named flies out there that could double as the name of a rated X movie, haha. I’m inspired by guys like Lou Tabory, and Ken Abrames who harp on fishing lively natural materials, sparsely tied, that bring the fly to life. I fish a ton of flatwing variations that match our local bait. I love spinning deer hair heads to make the bait look wounded as you strip fast and then pause giving an erratic presentation. We spend a lot to time fishing crab patterns as well, stripers eat more crabs and grass shrimp than most people think.
Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find indispensable?
My Filson Tin Bush Hat. It keeps the sun off my face and as a result… me on the water longer.
What's your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?
I could eat sandwiches for every meal of the day. Sandwiches are a close second behind my first passion of fly fishing. There are no rules with sandwiches and a million combinations. I had a sandwich the other day on a cornbread biscuit… genius!
What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?
There is so much great media out there in the fly fishing world these days that I love to stay exposed to a good variety. I always have my eyes on Angling Trade, The Drake, Gink and Gasoline, This is Fly, etc.
When I'm not fishing you'll find me:
When I’m not fishing you’ll find me working hard at Tidal Roots building our brand and building paddleboards. I also manage sales and marketing for Fly Rod Chronicles on the Outdoor Channel which keeps me tightly plugged into the fly fishing industry and allows me to travel to some great destinations as well. For fun, I truly love adventures in the outdoors. I paddle my Tidal Roots SUP often, hike, ski, backpack, and do lots of yoga. Photography is a passion of mine and goes well with my other hobbies. Just always trying to find an excuse to get outdoors and have an adventure!