The end of the year is quickly winding down and my visits to the river have all but ceased.
Every year in December, I soothe my lack of water time with reflections of a year spent living my life as I’ve designed. The experiences I’ve had really come into focus and I start collecting on all my roll over memories until Spring comes.
I’ve stock piled a ton of fly fishing adventures this year that haven’t been documented here on this old blog of mine, but rather than talk fish, what I really feel compelled to write about is the people I had the privilege of Fly Fishing with this year. All of them.
While I wander the online world of blogs, people and fly fishing community, I’m always curious about the person behind the computer screen. I think we can get a general ‘impression’ of what a person is like through their written words and photos, but one never knows how well preconceived notions will match up face to face.
Since I’ve had the opportunity to jump from computer screen to in person with so many amazing people lately, I’m inclined to write about them on a personal level. That’s the thing about hanging out with Fly Fishing Bloggers, Everything is fair game…
For all the people I’ve fished with this year, yes, this means I’m going to write about you.
I’m a firm believer in Just Do It and Ask for Forgiveness Later…
Today, I’m putting just one person on the spot.
I think there’s a general rule out there when it comes to fishing with someone. You get one shot and if you don’t jive together, chances are you’ll never fish with them again.
Chris and I musta passed the mutual test…(despite showing him my bad side the first time)…because we fished again this summer during the Trout Unlimited Yellowstone Blogger Tour for a solid week.
Chris is the National Director of Communications for Trout Unlimited, and he writes the Fly Fishing blog Eat More Brook Trout. He authored the book Shin Deep: A Fly Fisher’s Love For Moving Water.
Chris also travels the world promoting Conservation, he goes to Washington D.C. to advocate for causes and he seems to know just about everyone and more in the Fly Fishing Industry.
The good news, for me, is I didn’t know or realize all that the first time I fished with him. A conversation I had with someone shortly after that first time:
Someone: Were you nervous or intimidated fishing with Chris considering all the influence he holds in the Fly Fishing world?
Me: Umm… I guess not, he just seemed like a regular guy to me.
Someone: You do realize a ton of guys would give up their best fly rod to spend a whole day on the river with him, right?
Me: Well…again, I guess not…
Chris netting a Monster Lake Trout with a big old grin of Accomplishment
I suppose the reason I didn’t realize the influence Chris had in Fly Fishing is because you’d never know it from talking with him or hanging out with him. Maybe he is the Peter Parker/Spiderman of the Fly Fishing world and he just knows how to handle the ‘with great power comes great responsibility‘ with grace.
When I fished with Chris this summer, my first impression of him remained. He’s just a regular guy who is passionate about fly fishing, conservation and connecting with like minded individuals.
No ego, no airs, nothing to raise an eyebrow at…if anything, the only thing larger than life about Chris is his size and personality. At around 6’5″ with a dose of fantastic charisma to match, he can charm a room full of guys and gals.
I say a room full of gals because I witnessed that ability a few months ago at a Women’s Fly Fishing club…
He has a great sense of humor and a belly laugh that is contagious. If you ever get a chance to fish with Chris, be sure to bring your A-game in jokes because he loves a solid punch line.
For all Chris’s worldly fishing experiences, connections and alike, what people might not know about him is that he enjoys fishing alone, exploring tiny off the beaten track streams and creeks.
His close proximity to Yellowstone gives him plenty of water to explore and this summer while we were driving around, I don’t think we passed a piece of water…3 feet wide to 30 feet wide…that Chris didn’t point out and tell us how it fished.
Photo By Steve Zakur
I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Chris over the last 2 years. I’ve fished in tight quarters with him where we’ve chatted it up between casts and I’ve spent an entire afternoon with him working our way up a stream hardly speaking at all.
If you get the chance, I highly recommend spending the day on the water with Chris.
Get on his good side and call him Sasquatch, he likes that…a lot
Thank you Chris, for everything.