I have done my best to NOT write about Hurricane Harvey, guessing that others in this publication will be, and I wanted to provide you all with something a little more lighthearted. With that being said, I am sorry but the weather of 2017 is at the forefront of my, sadly overly simplified mind.
Sitting here writing on September 7, THE YEAR OF THE HURRICANE as I am calling it, a week and change from the day that Harvey began devastating literally half the Texas coast, I am watching and stressing over my second home and the friends I have there as Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.) So, suffice to say, my heart and prayers go out to ALL of those lives that have been touched and might soon be touched by these horrific events.
Moving on. Late last year I started writing a book. The premise of which was to document through interviews the lives of fly fishing guides all over the country. In doing so I would share with the reader the trials and tribulations of a business that is not nearly as glamorous as it seems. I know all about these hard times because I have lived and relived them too many times. So, last year I mustered the courage to finally begin assembling words. This is the introduction—
You never know when inspiration will hit you like a ton of bricks. It is December 13, 2016. I just got off of the water. The skiff is on the trailer and I am inspired. Mostly because, that while out fishing for fun…I have come to the conclusion that I am in fact about to face my most challenging year yet to come. Folks, 2017 is going to be a bitch. It will in fact make or break me – not only as a person – but as an individual hoping to make a place in this world for himself.
You see, I never wanted to be a full-time fishing guide. It is just something that I eventually had to do because at the age of 26, the only work that I had enjoyed up to that point in my life had been my days on the water as a member of the United States Coast Guard, and as a part-time waterfowl guide. Everything else that I had tried made me miserable. It was the only logical choice but, if I was going to do it, it was going to be on my terms.
The long and short of it – my choice to become a guide was not as much about making money but more of a lifestyle choice. I was going to decide the who, how, when and where.
Now, when I wrote the above, I said that the year 2017 would be my most challenging year yet to come. I had no idea that Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma could and have turned my life upside down. I was speaking more in terms of balancing love, family, career and finance. But hey, that is what hurricanes do. They come in and mix everything up and, like Mother Nature, we pick up the pieces and put it all back together, hopefully better than before.
That is exactly what has happened so far. My relationships with my immediate family as well as with my girlfriend are much, much stronger. As for career and finance, well those areas have taken a big hit and will take a little longer to fix.
You see, many of us will not be able to fish for a while. This has not only affected guides but the many of you and others who hire guides. But it also affects the people who manufacture or sell gear to those of you that fish on your own and, again, the guided angler. Not too long ago I wrote about the Business of Fly Fishing and am not sure that I said what I am about to but- The business of fly fishing relies on the symbiotic relationship between the manufacturer, retailer, guide and consumer. And, it is safe to say, if you are reading this, you fit into at least one of these categories.
The point is, we all need to support each other to fix things and make things better. But, at the same time, do not forget about the bait fishermen – they need help too. LOL.
Right now, Mother Nature just did her thing to make the bays better and we need to be patient and careful while she finishes her job. A lot of things have changed and there is a lot of man-made crap floating around out there. Please be careful out there.
And, while I know it is easier said than done right now- If you are one of the many affected by this mess and life seems be overwhelming you, pick up your rod and go fishing. If you cannot make it to the coast try to find a pond. If that does not work, just go out in the yard and get some casting practice, or just call me if you want to talk about fly fishing. Sometimes that helps too.God Bless the USA. God Bless Texas. And, more importantly, God Bless all of you.