When I was young, my father and grandfather took me fishing and instilled in me a sense of purpose. It was hazy at first and I couldn’t grasp what drew me to the water’s edge. As I got older, things slowly began to come into focus. I think this culminated when I unsheathed my first fly rod in front of my grandfather. It was like I was heading down a road he always wanted to travel but never got around to. My first trout on fly came a little while later, this time with my proud father watching over my shoulder. I was hooked to say the least.
As the seeds of addiction sowed themselves deep in my soul, I learned the hard way through trial and error on the backwood streams of my youth. The do it yourself mentality manifested itself entirely and it became the only way to do things for me, fly tying included. The sport began taking me places I never would have gone before embracing a fly rod. I literally found my outlet. I realized that being on the water and in the moment is what fly fishing is all about. The fish that reside and call that moment home are just icing on the cake. I’ve since been on a constant quest to feed my soul and enrich my life by being on the water and in the moment as much as possible.
I consider myself an equal opportunity fly fishermen. I’ll fly fish for anything that swims, but I would have to say that my personal favorite species to target are carp and steelhead. I consider sight fishing to be the pinnacle of the sport and since carp are the smartest gamefish I have ever targeted, they rule that roost. On the other end of the spectrum resides the anticipation of the unknown. Swinging flies for steelhead has captivated me since I set my first sustained anchor. When that fly begins its swing, you can only imagine what is taking place under the water column. When that big pull comes, it releases an entirely different set of feelings compared to when a fish visibly eats your fly. I live for those two moments.
I am pumped to be a part of the Catch Fly Fishing Design Team and look forward to bringing some of my “go to” patterns to anglers across the globe.
(Mark also runs www.thisriveriswild.com and is a contributing blogger at www.flyfishingnation.de and www.skinnywaterculture.com)