A conversation with a fly-fisherman

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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
Biggest fish?
Also a red fish. It was probably 12 pounds.  
Do you have a favorite fish?
Cutthroat trout
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. 

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Travel Tuesday: Wyoming

A few years ago my brother was living and working in Wyoming between Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. He absolutely loved it and I was lucky enough to be able to visit him twice.

I visited once in summer and once in winter. My parents and I went during the winter and it was incredible. The mountains, views were breathtaking. While we were there we went snowmobiling through Yellowstone (with my brother as our guide), saw Old Faithful, toured Jackson Hole and more.

When I went to see him in the summer it was after my senior year of high school. My brother worked as a guide on a ranch leading people on snowmobiles in the winter (like us), but in the summer he was a fly-fish guide and also took people on raft trips. In fact the first time I went fly fishing it was in Wyoming and my brother took me to his favorite spot – in the middle of nowhere – and when we were almost to the water he said we had to go all the way back to the car because he forgot the bear spray (Yes, we were fishing in an area that required bear spray). I also went hiking, rode horses, fished more and went to a bonfire by a lake.

In the past I had always headed south to Fla. on spring breaks and vacations but it was truly incredible to be able to visit Wyoming and I would suggest it for people looking for something different.

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Tetons

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Yellowstone

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winter

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My brother and I

Travel Tuesday: State of Independence

I had an internship in Hazleton, Penn. this summer. The positive thing about moving to a new city in a new state without knowing anyone is you find yourself seeking things to do, places to visit. I found many great places this summer. A few of my favorites: Jim Thorpe, Delaware water gap, Big Creek Vineyard and Eckley Miners’ village.

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Jim Thorpe looks like a cute town that has been dropped in the mountains (It placed fourth on USA Today’s most beautiful cities this year).

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It’s also nice to have visitors 🙂

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One of my favorite places to visit – the Delaware Water Gap – was gorgeous. The water went right up to the mountains.

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Eckley Miner’s Village

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Found some entertaining wine labels/brands.

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Waterfall at Bushkill Falls

“Not all those who wander are lost”

After ten or more hours of driving my mother and I made it to Hazleton, Pennsylvania. It took two atlases, a GPS we sometimes listened to, numerous cups of coffee/coke/diet coke, a cooler full of snacks, and many stops along the way- but I loved every minute of it. Here are some of the pictures that I snapped along the way, and yes some are blurry- I blame the caffeine overload.

Note from my mother, it reads:

“To: A.E. Sites
RE: Travel
Per our agreement, we shall continue our journey. Please provide coffee soon.

J. Sites, Head Cheese”

And coffee she received! Image

Mountains in the distance…getting closer.

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Before we realized they were just tucked in we thought they gave us two small pillows

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One of the stops we made for food: Dutch Pantry

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We finally made it. “Smile. You’re in Pennsylvania. State of Independence.”

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