Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lunch Anyone?

Well..... it's finally time to begin the onslaught of fall guide trips after the long (and HOT) summer hiatus. The oldest daughter is in kindergarten and the trees are beginning to show their fall colors. This is one of my favorite times of the year. I always enjoy the lazy summers in the air conditioning, hanging with the family, and tying away in the shop but miss being in my office on the water. Not to mention, I need to work on reducing the beer induced greater omentum that was created this summer.

In the southeast, our trout season is a lot different than that of the west. Sure, we can battle poisonous snakes, heat, rhododendron, and walk miles to catch a few wily small stream trout (and char); but, for the most part, once mid June hits many southern trout anglers either hang it up for the summer, travel to troutopia (tailraces of Tennessee, Montana, Colorado, etc.), or fish for various warm-water species.

Then, September arrives. September in the southeast means cool nights, perfect days and the change of the seasons. Anglers begin gearing up for one of the longest trout seasons that I know- September through June. This is the period that I prefer to be on the water, either fishing for fun or chaperoning other anglers because this is the time of year when trout are most active; with the exception of the cold snaps in dead winter.

For many, a guided fishing trip is a treat. It's an opportunity to fish new water, meet others that share the same passion, and maybe even learn a thing or two. Fly fishing is a hobby, a passion, a religion, a way of life, or whatever you want to call it. Many people enjoy it because it's an activity that we are always learning new tactics, techniques, and methods. It's an activity in which we're always on the move. Those that reach a plateau and believe that they've Mastered it are doomed. Every fly angler needs to have an open mind and learn whatever they can, when they can, for their entire existence.

Some anglers believe that hiring a guide only means one thing; catching fish. I know I'm in for a long day when someone asks, "how many fish are we going to catch today?". Sure, that's the underlying reason of why we are out there (and some hire guides); however, as guides all we can really guarantee is hope and the "experience". After all, it's called fishing, not catching. Regardless of how good the catching is, I want my friends/clients to go away with the best "experience" imaginable. Catching fish is something I work hard to achieve but so many factors weigh in on a continual basis.

I've been a guide/instructor for over 20 years now and guiding for me is about meeting new people, seeing old friends, teaching what I know, experiencing what Mother Nature has to offer, blah, blah, blah. Some anglers are beginners, some are advanced, and others fall somewhere in between. Whatever the case, I always strive to provide the best experience possible.

Part of the "experience" is knowing a little geography, history, hydrology, science, culinary arts, you name it. As a guide, I have to be a Jack of all trades and Master of none. Call me a net boy, cameraman, chef, psychiatrist, knot tier, de-tangler, Saint, tree trimmer, etc. but it's what I do to create the ultimate "experience".

Whether the morning has been tough, average, or a barn burner, lunch always seems to settle the smoke. It's a time to recoup, hydrate, and energize oneself (in actuality, most are ready for a nap after). I take a lot of pride in my lunches and work diligently to make them another piece of the puzzle. Some guides may find this offensive but a soggy, 6 day old deli sandwich and a bag of chips purchased from the 711 usually isn't a good route to take as far as lunch is concerned.

It's about being treated special. Just like the feeling you get when you go over to grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner. Some days it's grilled beef tenderloin, fresh green beans, and homemade chicken noodle soup, others it's grilled chicken breast, fresh asparagus, and homemade white chili, and others it's crock-pot beef roast, mixed vegetables, and potatoes. Regardless of the flavor, it's about putting the extra work in and showing the friends/clients that they are an important part of the "experience".

After all, life's not about having the most and best toys, it's about the "experiences" we encounter though life. He/she who dies with the most and best "experiences" always wins.

Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide

Casters Fly Shop Fly Fishing Guide Service


  1. The first time i ever tasted your white chili on the bank of big cedar in virgina was pretty damn awesome. Two inches of snow on the ground, froze to the core after a great morning of watching a 12 year old who got to lay out of school catc...h pig after pig the largest smile on his face ever. He would not have known it was was freezing if he was in his underware! lol. But i swear i remember that chili more than anything Dave can hook up some damn good white chili.

  2. There was also fresh asparagas and a nice ribeye to go along with the chili and im sure it was awesome as well but all i can remember is that white chili lets just say HIGHLY RECOMENDED!!!!!

  3. Looking forward to putting your culinary skills to the test in December!

  4. I try not to burn the soup but sometimes I get side tracked.

  5. Nice write up. A little G2G. How about that chilli recipe?

  6. Well, uhm, tommorrow it's a six-day old deli sandwich and a bag of chips for me. But, come November, I'll be looking for a ribeye and some white chicken chili.