I’m a few days away from starting my thirteenth year as a trout fishing guide.
Where have all the years gone? It seems like it was just yesterday that I was just hired on by Upper Hi Fly shop in Hiawassee, Ga. Man, a lot has changed since then. That once prospering fly shop is no longer in business and many of the guides I shared the water with during my early days have moved on to other vocations or retired. My trout water as a whole has taken a beating over the years from the population booms, poor land development practices and year after year drought conditions. Hatches aren’t as consistent anymore and traffic on the water has increased on my home waters. My trout water that used to be beginner friendly now has become technical and moody. Our cost of living has increased, gas prices are higher than ever and hatcheries are either shutting down or running at a fraction of their capacity from their lack of funding. It’s not always been easy over the years. If it wasn’t for my deep passion for the sport and my personal belief that guiding is my true calling in life I don’t think I’d still be at it today. Its got me through the tough times wearing a smile on my face damn near every trip. I’ve done what many businessmen have had to do to keep the doors open during these challenging times. I’ve trimmed the fat and shrunk my region of operations (guiding) to maintain profitability and keep my trips closer to home, so I’ve got more time to spend with my growing family.
Sometimes, I wonder if I made the right decision when I chose to guide in my home state. But then again, when you guide, it always seem like there’s greener pastures afar. When I find myself having those thoughts, I just reflect back on why I chose North Georgia for my guiding in the first place. It’s where I’m from and its the closest place trout live to my family. I could just as easily be guiding on blue ribbon trout streams with wild trout galore and epic hatches, but then I’d be forced to be far away from my family and friends. And when I really think about my purpose as a guide, it’s really not about the catching it’s about the teaching anyways. I don’t have to be guiding on the cream of the crop water to make a difference with my clients. It’s about what I bring to the table and the hard work I put into teaching that provides value and success to my clients. And for that, I look forward to 2013 with my head up and my spirits high. I’m right where I want to be–sharing my passion with the people who understand it and never straying far from my loved ones that give my life meaning and reward. For all of you out there that have been feeling down about all the negatives around you lately, start focusing on the positives. Life is too short to dwell on the past. Don’t let it steal your present. Always live for the future and you’ll get the most out of life. Happy New Year everyone.
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