Profiles

Beverly Smith

Beverly is Vice President for Volunteer Operations at Trout Unlimited, where she has been working for over a decade. Before her TU days, Beverly worked for a local conservation organization and for a short time at the Orvis Jackson Hole store, where she met her husband and many of her best friends. Marrying her two passions, conservation and fishing, she’s working her dream job helping TU volunteers across the country implement the TU mission locally. When not behind her desk or on the road for work, Beverly can be found exploring the wild country of Wyoming and Idaho with her husband, Shawn; two daughters, Virginia and Harriet; and Springer Spaniel, Pants.

Fishing, for Beverly, is much more than a sport. It’s connecting. There’s no better way to get to know someone than to spend a day on a drift boat with them. For so many of us, our best friends are our fishing friends, and Beverly is no exception. She explains that fishing connects her to nature as an active participant, something she feels results in a deeper connection than just observing it. Plus, fishing connects communities. It’s that feeling of being “at home” when you walk into a fly shop, whether that’s in West Yellowstone or in Heber Springs, Arkansas. It’s the casual conversations with folks carrying fly rods through the airport. And, it’s those early Saturday mornings picking up trash with your TU chapter on your local stream. Fishing connects us.

Profiles

Ava Befus

Ava Befus has been involved in fly fishing since she was a young girl. Her family has always enjoyed the serenity of slipping away from the daily tasks and responsibilities of life to the peace of enjoying each other’s company while fishing. Today, fly fishing is still one of Ava’s favorite hobbies, alongside teaching friends and youth about the sport–so they, too, are able to enjoy an activity that can take them on many adventures, to many places, and into creation. She also enjoys being a part of her local Trout Unlimited chapter where she is able to learn about the importance of protecting the resource so that the sport of fly fishing can travel through many generations to come. One of Ava’s favorite things about fly fishing is being able to spend time in the outdoors, while creating special moments with family and friends and chasing after different species of fish which always present a new challenge, allowing her to continually learn about the sport.
Profiles

Amelia Jensen

Amelia Jensen’s work life and play time revolve around fly fishing and time spent behind a camera. She and her husband, Dave, are a team. Through video and photo productions, they inspire and provide instructional content for fly fishers throughout the world.
Profiles

Ali Gentry Flota

I began fly-fishing as a child with my grandfather, father, and brother for trout in the Poconos of Pennsylvania.  After college, my brother took his first saltwater trip to El Pescador Lodge on Ambergris Caye in Belize. I followed him shortly thereafter and have spent most my adult life there.  Enjoying the outdoors and conserving the environment for future generations, including my three daughters, is a motivating factor in my life.
Profiles

Amanda Gibson

Growing up on the Jersey Shore, I was constantly surrounded by the sights and sounds of the ocean. Living on the coast was something that I didn’t fully appreciate until I moved to northwestern Connecticut after college and felt landlocked for the first time. Soon after the move, I started working at Orvis in Avon, Connecticut, where I was offered the chance to connect with a different body of water. The store staff, management and the local guide had me out on the Farmington River several days a week, and before I knew it their passion for fly fishing quickly became mine. Fly fishing connected me to the outdoors in a way that I had never been before. When I wasn’t on the water I soon began helping instruct introductory classes and absorbing every bit of product knowledge about fly fishing I could. This soon led to a move to the Orvis Home Office in Vermont, where I now get to work with fishing products every day, connect with other anglers, and promote getting more women involved in a sport that completely altered my view of what it means to be outdoors.
Profiles

Abbie Mahurin

I grew up in southeastern Missouri, along the Mississippi River, fishing with my dad for largemouth bass, crappie, bluegills, and catfish. It was not until a few years ago, when I met my husband, Andy, that I began fly fishing. It did not take long for me to fall in love with the sport. Once I started working for Orvis in 2017, I found this wonderful community of women who love spending time on the water. Through fly fishing and through this community, I have connected with nature in a deeper way and have become the best version of myself. Fly fishing has taken me to some amazing places. Most importantly, it has brought me to these Green Mountains of southern Vermont. I am excited to see what adventures are on the horizon, and I look forward to experiencing the future of this amazing sport!
STORIES

Katie Cahn

When not guiding, Katie spends her free time at her metalsmithing bench creating jewelry that depicts her love of life in the mountains and on the river for her Etsy shop Dirt Road Wares. She is actively involved in the conservation of her native Chattooga River Watershed, has developed a near obsession with vegan butter and spends as much time as possible on the water with her husband Daniel and their dog, Beans.

Article by Catie Webster, a writer and fly-fisher based in Boulder, Colorado.

Katie Cahn is a natural. When she wants to do something, she just does it, in the most straightforward way possible, learning through trial and error. “My mom gets a lot of the credit here—she got me a kayak when I was 12. I’d just take it down to the river without a spray skirt and get totally beat up. When I was 13 she invited some of her river-rat friends for dinner, and I thought they were so cool; I wanted to be just like them.”

Growing up amidst mountains and rivers, Katie’s course has often followed theirs. After kayaking, she started guiding, running jet boats, taking photos. A natural progression, if you’re Katie Cahn. She was well on her way to being a river-rat, and the more time she spent on the water, the more she recognized how it changes you, how it has a strange ability to be coming and going simultaneously that inevitably brings about a shift.

After years of working on the river, Katie felt that shift. While her love of the water hadn’t changed, the way she wanted to experience it had.

“I moved away from kayaking because I was tired of being nervous every time I put my helmet on. I just kept thinking that there had to be something else out there that I could be good at, that made me feel good about myself.”

Her college campus in western North Carolina sat on the banks of the Tuckasegee River, and she picked up a fly rod and learned to fish much the same way she learned to kayak—by doing it. She asked friends for tips and advice, Googled “how to cast” and watched countless YouTube videos, but more than anything else, she went fishing. The river was 500 yards from her front door. So, before class, between classes, after class, she fished.

“I’d just be out there trying to get knots out for hours, and I’d catch one fish and it would all be worth it. But then I’d have to hike back to my truck.” She laughs at this. “I’d always go further than I meant to, than I wanted to sometimes, because I’m always wondering what’s behind that boulder. Half the time I was probably trespassing because I figured no one would get mad at me, just this girl trying to fly fish.”

Not one to play it safe, she hopped fences, accidentally discovered the timing of dam releases, and learned which property owners cared about a young woman with a fly rod traipsing across their property.

“Sometimes I’d get into these ridiculous situations. This one time a storm hit, and I was way up this gorge, and it flooded, and all these trees started washing down, and I was a mile and a half upriver with no one around. I had to cross a few times to get out and it was so sketchy. I’d taken my backpack off before the storm and then couldn’t find it. So, I got back to the truck and then had to go back out to find my backpack and saw a rattlesnake the size of a boa constrictor—like the size of one of those ones in the rainforest. That’s when I realized that fly fishing isn’t just this old man’s sport.”

In the fall of 2016, Katie had taken on a new adventure, marriage, when she found out she had cancer. Three weeks after her wedding, she was being prepped for a radical nephrectomy, and nine weeks after that she was on the operating table again, fearful that the cancer had returned. Though the second tumor was benign, she had her appendix and left ovary removed as a precaution. What was supposed to be one of the happiest times of her life was waylaid by fear and uncertainty. What if the cancer returned? What if it was incurable?

Battling depression, and even thinking about ways to end the pain quickly, she yearned for the old Katie, the carefree-just-married Katie that was planning fishing trips with her husband, not the one stuck in a hospital attached to an IV.

While she’d never be the Katie who never had cancer, she could be a Katie who’d beat it. She made her health her top priority, and, as with anything else she’d done, Katie took action. She gave up alcohol and meat. She refused to spend her days stuck in meetings about meetings, sitting under fluorescent lights and breathing stale air. This Katie would make a life that allowed her to move through the world in a way that helped her navigate fear and uncertainty with a firm grasp on her health and the future she would create.

And so, in February of 2017, when a call came from Headwaters Outfitters, just south of Brevard, NC, she was uniquely prepared to answer it.

The shop owner was looking for a female guide, just a day or two a week. Having completed her final surgery only weeks before, Katie’s schedule was wide open. “Not many people are able to quit their jobs to guide a couple days a week, but for me it was the perfect opportunity. When the shop reached out I was just like, “ME, I’LL DO IT!” I didn’t have anything going at that point, and it was perfect timing really. I was looking for a new kind of environment for myself.”

And she’s found it in the one that has always felt like home. “The best part for me personally is not being enclosed, not having four walls around me all the time. It feels good, especially in my recovery, to be outside, breathing fresh air, and I feel like I’m healing more and more every time I go to work. And getting to share that with clients, seeing them outside and able to decompress away from their jobs—I know that’s as memorable for them as it is for me.”

A life of reading water, first as a kayaker, then as a rafting guide, and now as an angler, has given her a unique perspective. “I look at life kind of like a river—sometimes you’ve got to eddy out, you know? Take a break. And then sometimes you’ve just got to go for it and not think too much. I’ve learned to take life as it comes—be patient, but also just roll with it. I’m still amazed, every time I go to the river, how it makes me feel and what it does to me. I feel at home in most rivers; it feels like I’m at my mom’s house.”

As spring turned into summer, Katie guided more and more, eventually transitioning to full time. When recalling her first day with Headwaters, she says that she went out with one of the guides and when they returned to the shop, all he had to say was “she’s a natural.”

She is most certainly that.

Photos by Becca Skinner. http://www.beccaskinnerphotography.com/
VIDEOS

Wildness

[fvplayer src=”Q8IX7TNqRQM”] Brought to you by TwoFisted Heart Productions and ORVIS, wildness is a poetic escape to our favorite places in life. Fly fishing is often the vehicle to experience wonderment and joy in the natural world. As Kami Swingle writes, “The trailhead has a toll: leave pretenses and anxieties here. With each step on the dirt path and each swoosh of the fly rod, the tempo of the high country is unmistakable. It is here that my wildness is restored.” To view new fly fishing gear and apparal, please visit our online store here.
VIDEOS

Pippa and Els Go Fishing

[fvplayer src=”xw7_6003KA0″] For Els, motherhood isn’t just a state of being. It’s a journey, filled with small adventures along the way to a life well-lived with family. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, here’s to Moms everywhere! Our first teachers. Our first role models. Our first guides. Our first loves. With incredible Moms like Els, maybe even our first trout while fly fishing. With every share of this video with the tag #LongLiveMoms, Orvis will donate $1 up to $10,000 to Casting For Recovery. CFR enhances the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique retreat program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. To view some of the gear used in this video, please visit our web store here.
VIDEOS

Toe to Toe

[fvplayer src=”Wux0UTS9hlg”] Meet Marty Loudder– associate dean and professor at Texas A&M. With the help of Chris Taylor, of Fishheads of the San Juan, Marty has overcome the difficulties of her physical limitations due to childhood Polio so that she can enjoy time on the water with her family. This incredible story of determination and perseverance is an inspiration for us all to never let anything deter us from following our passions. Marty has some amazing techniques that enable her to fly fish confidently and successfully. Seeing the whole family light up with joy is proof positive that there is so much more to fly fishing than catching a few fish. The clothing that Marty wears in this video comes from the ORVIS Women’s Fly fishing collection and can be viewed: Here
#5050onthewater
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