Competitive fly fishing techniques and gear for the mainstream angler.
If you've found our site then you likely love to fly fish. While fly fishermen and women like to tout that fly fishing is much more than just about catching fish (and it is), I doubt there are many of us who wouldn't like to fill the net with a few more fish each day. This site is dedicated to helping you do just that. We've lived in the world of competitive fly fishing for over ten years, where catching one more fish is often the difference between a medal and a finish in the middle of the pack. Even if you don't compete, one more fish may be just the way to cap off your day on a positive note. We often have a hard time leaving without just one more.....And you never know, that one last fish might be the one whose memory and photo hangs on your wall for a lifetime. We want to help you catch that fish and make that memory. By imparting our hard earned knowledge of domestic and foreign competition-inspired fly fishing and tying tactics, and supplying you with the gear needed to master them, we aim to make your days in the water more productive and, in turn, more memorable. We promise that the gear we sell is the gear we use. It's the gear we trust to give us a competitive edge and we believe you can trust it too.
Founder and Obsessed Fly Fisherman
I started fly fishing at age 9. I will never forget my first day where I caught a cutthroat on an ant in the first meadow of the famed Slough Creek in Yellowstone on a hand me down fiberglass 7 weight! Though I’d been fishing with hardware since I was a toddler, that day started an addiction to fly fishing that I can't seem to shake. When I fished against Lance Egan and Ryan Barnes in the former Outdoor Life Network’s Fly Fishing Master’s in 2004, I knew I had to find a way to compete in the sport I loved. It was serendipitous that I worked with both these anglers a year later after they had made Fly Fishing Team USA. I fished in my first regional and made the team myself in 2006. The ensuing years have been more educational than I could have ever imagined and I'm as hopelessly obsessed with fly fishing today as I've ever been. This obsession has brought dedication, which has helped me to have competitive success domestically and abroad. The year 2022 marked my 12thth consecutive berth as an angler for Fly Fishing Team USA in the Fips Mouche World Fly Fishing Championships in Spain. In 2015 I was incredibly fortunate to finish with the individual bronze medal and even more fortunate to have been a part of the squad that won the first team medal (a silver) for the USA at the world fly fishing championship in Bosnia. In 2016 we followed that feat with a team bronze in Vail, Colorado. Fly fishing competitions have exposed me to tactics and techniques from incredible teammates and fellow fly anglers from across the globe. Away from competitive fishing, fish have sculpted my professional life as well. I hold a bachelor's degree in ecology and a master's degree in fisheries science and spent 3 years working as a fisheries biologist before taking on Tactical Fly Fisher as a full time business in 2017. I have a wonderful wife Julia and two great kids showing some early interest in fishing. What more could a guy ask for?
Shop General Manager and Co-obsessed Fly Fisherman
My fly-fishing story is a bit backward compared to most people’s, I think. I had a few materials handed down to me from a grandfather when I was about 11 or 12 and by the time I was 13 I was tying small orders for a couple of my local shops and had set up my own business, complete with business license and a federal employer identification number. It didn’t take me long to figure out I wasn’t going to be able to compete with the big boys, but I kept tying consistently for myself for years, even though I didn’t have the time and/or money to actually start fly fishing till I was in my 20’s.
I started working full time in construction when I was 17, had a couple other jobs, and then joined the Navy when I was 21. I spent eight years in the Navy as an avionics tech and maintenance shop manager and got the opportunity to fish conventional and fly gear in Florida, Washington, and Japan during my time in. I continued to tie flies throughout this time and threw myself into catching up all the trout fishing I’d missed out on for years when I got out of the Navy and returned to Colorado. I was running my own construction company (unhappily I might add) and seriously looking to find a way into the fishing industry when the opportunity to work at Tactical Fly Fisher arose earlier this year as they relocated the warehouse and needed a new shop manager.
I am a hardcore tinkerer/experimenter and love constantly trying new things, whether that’s leader formulas, flies, species pursued, techniques, gear, etc. I do believe that anything worth doing is worth doing well, and fishing is certainly the thing I’ve found that is worth doing for me, so I’m constantly trying to find ways to do it better. I cannot describe how thankful I am for the fish and the pursuit of fishing that has always been a bright spot in my life.
Warehouse Manager and Co-obsessed Fly Fisherman
Fishing is much more than just a hobby for me, it has consumed my life entirely. It has made my life much better, and I have met most of my best friends through fishing. Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to drop a line in any body of water I could find. My dad wasn’t much of a fisherman, but he did introduce me to the outdoors through hiking and camping. My fishing baptism came when my older neighbor invited me to go fish one summer evening on the golf course we lived on. We went to the pond, and I cast out a red rooster tail. To my excitement I hooked a large pike on my first cast, it bit through my line. It was then that I knew all I ever wanted to do was fish, it didn’t matter what species. Although, after seeing that pike, my attention was always toward predatory fish.
I spent most of my childhood chasing largemouth bass in the ponds behind my house in the summer. It wasn’t until I got my license that my fishing obsession was in full force. I was lucky enough to live just 10 minutes away from a Lake Erie tributary, where I would catch steelhead with my fly rod from early fall until May. I fell in love with chasing steelhead and smallmouth bass on the fly on that tributary. I chose to attend college at Niagara University, strictly because I could fish steelhead and lake trout in the lower Niagara River before and after my classes. I would skip classes if the fishing was too good, so I missed quite a few.
Throughout college, I worked at a local tackle shop This shop was mainly a steelhead shop, with all tackle including fly fishing. I became the fly fishing manager for the store and loved bringing in new fly tying materials for customers and myself to try. I became fascinated by musky flies. I started tying musky streamers before I even had a rod and reel. This fascination started after watching Jeremy Wade on River Monsters and watching Larry Dahlberg’s “Hunt for Big Fish”. After attending a showing of the Fly Fishing Film Tour in 2016, I won 2 Musky T-bones in a raffle. All I wanted to do was fish for musky. I bought a rod and reel, tied as many flies as humanly possible and booked my first musky trip with Shane in Virginia. After getting a follow on a fly I tied at the takeout, I was all in. I spent all my money on musky trips with Chris Willen and learned everything I could from him. We caught plenty of fish together, and I learned everything you need to know about musky from one of the best in the industry. It was through Chris and Schultzy of Schultz Outfitters, along with Blane Chocklett that allowed me to really step foot in the fly fishing industry. They are my biggest mentors and still ask them for fishing advice to this day.
It was because of my mentors and watching how much they enjoy their jobs and lives, that I knew I wanted to have a career in the fly fishing industry. As an avid/commercial fly tier I wanted something to do with fly tying. This led me to the Tactical Fly Fisher, and I love everything about this company. I take pride in all the products we carry and enjoy using all the products we have. I’m looking forward to bringing some predator fly tying products into the shop and seeing where it takes us!