This week I had the pleasure of talking to Eric, a 26-year-old guy who wants to open up his own fly-fishing guide service in Jackson, Wyoming or New Orleans.
Eric isn’t a stranger to twenty something life-altering changes. He packed up his blazer and moved 1800 miles away from home when he was 21 years old. He hasn’t let anything stop him from following his dreams and he plans to continue working to make them come true.
Eric, an Ind. native, who has lived in Jackson, Tucson, Ariz., and Baton Rouge, La., is taking classes to complete a business degree so he can learn everything he needs to open his business.
He said accounting has been the most helpful and he plans to focus on small-business classes before wrapping up his degree.
He first got in to fly-fishing when he was 17 years old.
“I saw ‘A River Runs Through It’ and liked it,” he said. “I decided to try it before a big fishing trip to Michigan and have been ever since.”
He said his favorite part of having the business would be being able to be outside all day.
When asked what the hardest thing about fly-fishing was, he said ‘All of it. The patience is the hardest, but it’s probably the best thing about it too.’
He admits he sticks with it because it’s addicting.
The best advice he ever received was from a coworker, Dan Sowers, who helped show him all the spots to fish and how to read the water in Jackson.
The worst piece of advice he received was when he was in a drift boat in a river in Jackson and even though it looked like there was a complete log jam across the river he was told there was a wide enough gap to get through. He dropped everyone out on the bank and went through it by himself, without a life jacket, and said the drift boat was ‘like a pin ball machine going through the gap and I screamed like a girl,’ he said.
Eric said the scariest thing he has ever done is move to Jackson alone when he was 21. He said moving west is also his proudest accomplishment.
In Jackson he worked as a fly-fish guide, camp jack at hunting camp, snow mobile guide in Yellowstone during the winter and participated in activities at a ranch as well.
“What I remember the most is the campfires, hanging out with people and fishing with my friends Myles, Dan, Todd and Zach,” he said.
He said he fished every day in the summer and every once in awhile in the winter.
August or September is his favorite time to fish because it’s hopper (grass hopper) season.
“You use big flies and big fish go dumb for big hoppers,” he said.
Since moving west, he has developed more of an environmental viewpoint.
“I like stories about helping the environment, dam removal and more,” he said.
Although he said fisherman don’t share their favorite fishing spots, he said he has fly-fished in Jackson, Louisiana, New Zealand, Michigan, Idaho and Indiana.
“The spots I fish rarely are fished, so I usually have the river to myself,” he said. “I don’t want to give my spots away.”
Advice he has for other twenty-somethings is to do what they have a passion for.
“Stick with it and don’t be afraid to go against what other people think is normal,” he said.
A look at some of the questions:
Favorite fish you’ve caught?
A Red fish in Louisiana. it took us five days to catch it because the conditions were so bad
Also a red fish. It was probably 12 pounds.
Do you have a favorite fish?
What is something you had while fishing in Jackson?
I always carried bear spray. I never had to use it, but I tested it to see what it would do one time and it was an orange plume that shot 30 feet out.
What is your dream job?
CEO of Patagonia
When did you first know you wanted to be able to fly-fish daily?
My first day in Jackson in 2007
Where do you get your inspiration ?
I really like Yvon Chouinard’s story (he founded Patagonia)
What is something scary that happened while fishing?
I was walking along the edge once and didn’t realize the ground was brittle. I slid 30 feet down the side of a hill and landed in the water.