When I read Todd Tanner’s Fly Fishing is Ultimately About Connections, especially the part about guiding, it resonated strongly with me. Rather than a quick reply or share on Facebook, it merited a bit more commentary.
If you’ve spent much time around fly-fishing guides, or if you’ve worn the yoke yourself on occasion, you know that guides can be a close-knit bunch. Rivalries and egos aside, the vast majority of guides share a common love for the sport.”Todd Tanner
A number of this struck me about Tanner’s column.
First, he notes that guides are a close-knit bunch. The crew at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing, where I have the privilege to guide (although this season, COVID-19 disease has robbed me of some of that), are like brothers. It is a fraternal bond that is seated in a common purpose; to provide our guests the best possible experience. We willing help each other to see that happen. And while we horse around and mercilessly tease each other, I know each would do all in their power to help me as I would them. That is a connection that I treasure, and a big part of the physic income I derive from guiding.
Second, Tanner notes our love of the sport. I have yet to meet a guide that doesn’t fit that description. Frankly, the love of sport is unavoidable. The willingness to share that love is, for me and I suspect my fellow guides as well, what gets us out on the water. We flat out dig the sport and we love to share it. I take great joy in seeing my guests succeed and come away from their time on the water with a desire to return and enjoy the experience again. You need only look at the smiles on the faces of guides when their guests succeed to know this is true.
Tanner points out, “If there’s a palpable difference between guides and the general fly-fishing community, it’s likely in the degree of sheer, unbridled passion.” Sure it can be a hassle to guide and put in the long hours of pre-game preparation and post-game resets. But it is that passion that makes me sign up to guide another trip and is fed by that physic reward I mentioned.
Finally, and Tanner touches on this as he wraps up, there is the connection to the natural world. For the better part of 25 years I have been directly engaged in advocating on resource conservation policy at the federal level. As a lobbyist and a journalist I have to connect complex public policy to meaningful, real world impacts. Guiding has made me better at doing that.
Tanner’s column goes beyond the points I note here. He explores his own connections to the sport and where they have led him. It is worth you time.