Fishing The True Cast Trout Talk

The True Cast - catch an angler this season.

Nobody gets to where they are in the fly-fishing world without a little nudge, or connection, or instruction, or inspiration.

As such, when I am fishing, I often think about mentors like my dad, who put the first fly rod in my hands when we lived on the banks of the Little Lehigh in Pennsylvania. I think of my late father-in-law, who really taught me how to fly fish (as I tried to impress him and, most of all, his daughter, now my wife of 35 years) on the Baldwin River in Michigan.

Teaching others is extremely rewarding.

I’ve been lucky enough to make a living by writing about amazing fishing adventures all over the world. (Someone had to take one for the team!). But that didn’t happen by chance. That door was opened for me by others. So, I also think about other writers with whom I shared fishing “junkets.”  Tom Bie, from The Drake, and Chris Santella, who dragged me along on amazing trips to Ireland, Russia, Kodiak Island in Alaska, and elsewhere. I think about Conway Bowman, who blew my mind by hooking me on mako shark fishing, which led to a story that helped us both and bonded us forever. I think of my “hermanos de selva” who showed me the mysteries of South American jungle fishing.

The cast of characters is almost endless and growing every time I hit the water. The more I fish, the clearer it becomes that fishing isn’t just about water and fish… it’s about the miles you roll, the places you experience and the people you meet along the way.

It’s important to pay it forward. You never know where mentorship might lead. It manifests in many forms—some obvious, and others very subtle. But they all matter.

Mentorship is critical for the future of our sport

Not long ago, I got an e-mail from a young man, whom I had fished with since he was little. Even back then, I knew the kid just “had it.”  He was, and is, a fly-fishing prodigy. And now, he’s on his way to a lodge in Alaska to start working in a field he already loves. I know he’s going to be very successful. And I know there’s another young person waiting in the wings to bump into him some day, and he will inspire and pay things forward.

The “mentor factor” is 1,000 times more valuable and important than any fish you might catch. When you “catch an angler” and prompt them to care at least a little bit about the rivers, the water, the fish and the fishing community, that’s a win that offers far, far more gratification than any trophy fish photo might provide.

Starting young is a great way to foster lifelong mentors. Photo by Flylords.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have plenty of “fishy” goals for the months ahead. And I hope you have a long list yourself. Goals that get you out on the water, exploring new places—and meeting new people—are great.

Just remember that the greatest “trophy” and the greatest impact any angler can ever aspire to achieve, is a meaningful mentorship. So, make it a top goal to find someone, get them fired up and watch as they start to care. And you don’t necessarily have to be asked.

Catch a big fish, and you’ll no doubt enjoy the moment and maybe impress a few friends along the way. Catch an angler with your mentorship, and you’ll change the world in ways that last forever.