I started fly fishing when I was 20 on a small, trout-stocked lake in Southwestern Pennsylvania. To be quite frank, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Over the next few years, if I caught a fish, it was definitely a pure stroke of luck. However, I loved it as I have always enjoyed a variety of outdoor pursuits. It wasn’t my “passion” though. At least not yet.

In 2007, I was offered a job at the Fly Fishing Show. It’s a large consumer trade show that travels the country promoting fly fishing. I definitely didn’t earn that job because of my casting skills, but my socializing skills proved to be a good fit.

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Photo by Rick De Paiva

A couple years later I started to travel with the shows to various venues. In Somerset, NJ, I observed my first live casting demonstration. I won’t name drop, but I was mesmerized by the demonstration presented by a tall, handsome man with a heavy German accent. He had a rod and reel that was far more bad ass than the little trout set up I had. I was even more intrigued by the fact that he was using two hands, which eliminated his need for an overhead cast. “Whatever that guy is doing I want to do,” I said to myself.

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Photo by Michael Mauri