Fly fishing grabbed my attention through the competitive nature of the sport; when I miss a hit, I’m laser-focused on making the connection the next time. But, I got hooked on fly fishing because of the beautiful places I’ve experience and the incredible people I have met in the angling community. As cliche as it sounds, being on the water is my happy place. It allows for decompression from daily life and helps me feel more connected to my environment. I fish every day I can, sometimes racing out to the water after work trying to beat the setting sun. Even if I can only get a few casts in, fly-fishing instantly makes me happier.
Fly fishing is more than just catching fish. It’s a way for me to connect with and feel empowered by other women. It’s a stress-relief outlet, where the focus required makes it easy to forget about the day-to-day stressors. On the other hand, it’s frustrating and an endless journey of learning, failing, and sometimes succeeding.
I was lucky enough to have a dad who wanted to share the extraordinary sport of fly fishing with his kids. Every weekend in high school, we would drive three hours down to the Texas Coast to chase redfish. It wasn’t until I started college that I saw the impact fly fishing had had on me. I had a stronger connection with my dad, had more self-confidence and patience, and truly understood what it meant to work hard at something and see it pay off. Fly fishing is a passion of mine, but I’d like to think it is so much more than that. It has brought me my best friends, taken me to new places on this earth, given me a few tan lines here and there, and has shown me how incredible this planet we call home truly is.
During my time in college, I have done as much as I can to give back to the sport that has given so much to me. I’m the President of my university’s Trout Unlimited chapter. I’m proud to be a part of the Fish for Change program. I make short films about the impact fly fishing can have on you to try and further the participation in the sport. If more people fly-fished, more people would care about and fight to save our environment.
I first got into fly fishing when my husband and I started dating. Fly fishing is his biggest passion. Initially, I just wanted to show some interest in what he liked, so I asked him to teach me. It has grown into a love of mine, as well. Now it is something that we get to do together and challenge each other in the sport!
I learned how to fly-fish just few years ago. Coming from a big city–Caracas, Venezuela–I was never exposed to fly fishing until I moved to Colorado and met my husband. He taught me and instilled that passion for fly fishing, on rivers in Colorado and Wyoming. Now we enjoy fishing together–not only locally, but also abroad in fun places like Mexico, Alaska, and Scotland.
Jack is 12 years old and loves to fish for steelhead on the swing. Steelheading is a passion for both Jack and his dad. Jack was introduced to fishing at a young age and has loved fishing ever since.
Cuyler works in emergency medicine as an EMT, and she found that she needed an outlet–a way to clear her mind, calm her down, and get her outside more often. Fly fishing has allowed her to grow as a person in ways that she couldn’t imagine. Cuyler lives for the fresh air, for the beautiful colors of the fish, and for the amazing community that involves fly fishing and conservation. She’s been fly fishing her whole life, but really fell in love with it about a year ago. It’s strengthened relationships, and she’s able to share so many aspects of fly fishing with the people she loves in my life.
Elizabeth’s passion for fly fishing began when she was a small girl playing in the rocks and pools while her father fished for trout and steelhead. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it was easy to fish local rivers and lakes for trout and Puget Sound for salmon, and as she grew older Elizabeth was able to get out on her own.
She wanted to spend her free time in nature, and fishing was her conduit to experience the magic of the outdoors. It was the experience that filled her soul and that she loves to share with friends, family, and fellow fishers.
Her passion for fishing inspired a move from being a communications professional in Seattle to wanting to teach more women to fish in Sun Valley, Idaho. A single mom, Elizabeth moved her two children from Seattle to Sun Valley and has been sharing the joys and experiences of exploring our local waters and catching a variety of trout species ever since. It gave her special memories with her kids and loved ones, and it introduced her to new friends. She’s seen how fishing brought out the love of a mother and daughter that were struggling before they found common ground casting to fish together, and she’s shared the delight and captured the smiles of women, men, and kids who hooked into their first fish. One of her favorite guiding trips was teaching a 90-year-old woman and her 16-year-old great granddaughter to fish at the same time—both caught fish with the entire family watching on the riverbank.
Fly fishing has taken Elizabeth to parts of the world–the Everglades and Key West in Florida, Alaska, the Bahamas, the Yucatan, Montana, Wyoming, and many others–that she might have never visited. It has opened her life in ways that continue to ripple outward. She loves when her kids come home for a few days of fishing. Someday there will be grandkids in tow, and Elizabeth is waiting to share with them this amazing way to connect with others and with nature.
Moe Newman is the owner of Journey South Outfitters in Venice, Louisiana, where she also guides. She grew up fishing primarily with conventional gear and catching some amazing species doing so, but she needed to find another way to challenge herself. In 2011, she picked up her first fly rod, starting small, with a 12-weight. LOL. Once she figured out the basics, within a few casts she hooked up to a nice 25-pound blackfin tuna for her first fish on fly. Since then, fly fishing has rejuvenated her love for fishing. She now guides more and more fly trips each season, and on her days off, she tries to chase some fish with the fly rod. It has now become the love for the chase and not so much the catch.
Fly fishing has sculpted and continues to sculpt Rachel’s life. She was fortunate enough to be born into the fishiest of fly-fishing families: to say that her grandfather was fly-fishing-obsessed is a bit of an understatement, and her father was a fly-fishing guide. Casting lessons started at age 12 in a vacant lot near Rachel’s grandfather’s, fly tying started before that, she started working in the local fly shop in exchange for gear at a very young age. Fly fishing is forever woven into her personal and professional life; to say that fly fishing is a passion feels to minimize the impact that it has had on who she has become, the life she leads, and how she plans for the future. Fly fishing is one of the constants in her life that lifts her up, pushes her forward, and shakes the world down into perspective and focus. Life on the water is her best life.