Ode to Fishing Buddies Everywhere
There are times when I need to get away from everything and everyone and enjoy the therapy that nature and solitude provides. However, most of the time I prefer to fish with a friend. A a good fishing buddy is something that is hard to come by. The qualities each of us look for in a fishing buddy vary. I have spent countless hours on the water with my fishing buddies. They have been a formative part of my evolution as an angler and as a person. Ten months out of the year I am a weekend warrior so my time on the water is sacred and not something that I share lightly with others. Here are some of the qualities I look for in a fishing buddy as well as some of my fishing buddies past a present.
Share the Stoke:
Whether it is catching a great fish, a cool eat, or taking a good photo, a good fishing buddy will always be stoked for you and you for them. This is the primary reason I prefer fishing with someone else. I love to catch big brown trout in small creeks. My most memorable moments and fish have all been shared with someone else. There is something special about the reciprocal stoke shared between good friends over shared passion; it enhances everything about my fly fishing experience. Often times it is not even about who catches the best fish but about a good fish being caught regardless of who has the honor of landing it. Being able to share the stoke is a must have for a fishing partner.
One of the things I enjoy most about fly fishing is finding and exploring new water. All of my fishing buddies are always down to hike into the remote creeks and streams that we have mapped out on our prospective spots. A sense of adventure is one of the reasons I love fly fishing. What better way to experience the wild spaces here in Western North Carolina than to pick a blue line on the map and do whatever it takes to get there. Even if there are no fish, the reward is seeing nature as it should be, untouched.
I am all for a dedicated streamer or mouse mission but I will always do what it takes to catch fish that day. As such, I look for the same adaptive quality in my fishing buddies. I need a group of fishing buddies who are able to fish proficiently in a wide array of fishing techniques at a moments notice.Sometimes that means putting on a dry when you really want to throw a streamer.
I only want to fish with other people that are as passionate about the sport as I am. That can be a difficult thing because I consider myself borderline obsessed with the sport. I want my friends to push and challenge me to be a better angler, to get better and try new things, and go to new water. It is the passion that drives us to all of those things and I want to surround myself with people like that.
Here is a shoutout to my fishing buddies, past and present, who all embody these characteristics. Jeff bowers for teaching me how to fly fish and instilling in me a passion for wild brown trout. Clark McAden and Vance Hostetter for always being down to explore and go after the wild fish in the most wild places. Shea Tuberty for giving me a glimpse of my future as an educator and a fly fisherman. Jeff Dean for his constant support through the years. Adam Harman for tying the best bugs in the game and inspiring me to be a better fly tyer. Collin KP and JP for always being down for anything and throwing streamers for the big boys. Holden Russel for always being down to take a trip to new water or a new place. Kole Ulveling for being my small stream streamer buddy. CJ Lord for being a kindred spirit in almost all aspects of fly fishing, loving small water, targeting big browns in small water, and finding those secret places where the giants live. Most of I’d like to thank my Dad for being my very first fishing buddy, for teaching me how to read water, and giving me the love for nature that I have today. Here's to fishing buddies past, present, and future.