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Exploring New Paths
The past month I have taken a lot of time to explore the state of North Carolina. I have spent lots of time here but mostly at Wrightsville Beach. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I have been tying many trout flies, and I decided I wanted to put them to use. For the past month or two, I have looked at the weather in the mountains every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday hoping for the ideal fishing weather on my days off. Finally, the days and weather lined up, and I packed my car with food, camping supplies, fly rods, and my handmade flies. I drove out of Wrightsville Beach at 3:00 am and began my journey. I planned to take one stop, but this didn’t work as expected. I was supposed to arrive in Cherokee at 10:00 am, but unfortunately, after three stops, I arrived at 11:30 am. I drove to a small fly shop and purchased my Cherokee tribal fishing license, which is required for the waters on the reservation. I had never been to the mountains of North Carolina before, but a coworker of mine at the tackle shop in Wilmington gave me some advice on where to go.
I decided to stay in the mountains only for Wednesday and Thursday and drive back Thursday night. My first day of fishing was honestly a sharp learning curve. I hadn’t fished for trout in about ten months and had to take some time to get in the groove of things. After an hour of messing around, honing in my casts, and trying different flies, I caught my first fish. Catching a fish anytime is always rewarding, but this was an incredible feeling. I was in a new place alone and caught a fish on a fly I tied with my own two hands. This made the 7 hours of driving that morning well worth it and energized me. After a few hours of fishing, I caught three more trout and called it a day. I drove for about 30 minutes and found a gorgeous campsite where I spent the night. I quickly fell asleep and woke up early to fish a stream until noon, when I wanted to drive back home. On my second day of fishing, I was making great casts and feeling much more connected to nature. I caught five fish before noon, all on my own flies, and hiked back to the car energized and happy. I drove back to Wrightsville that night and already have plans to explore a different set of mountains this week! Before this year, I never had done much traveling or exploring on my own. This year has been an amazing time for me to grow and become very independent.
A Time for Creative Growth
The past month has been an excellent time for my creative growth! I have been able to pursue my passions like cinematography and fly tying in between working full time. As I have previously discussed, I have spent a lot of time filming surfing, leading to other opportunities, even shooting videos for brands! I have made many trips to the Outer Banks, South Carolina, and my local beaches when filming. In North Carolina, most of our big swells come with high winds and rain. Being a filmmaker, it’s quite the experience to be standing for hours filming in heavy rain and 30 mph winds in the pursuit of a shot. I keep doing this, though, because I love to have a piece of media that makes me proud and that the surfer will value and cherish. Editing with surfers has helped me with my communication skills a lot. Many are relatively far from me, so we cannot sit down and edit together. Instead, I have to do this over the phone, which can be challenging. I’ve been able to get a good workflow, though, where I can communicate with people all around the world and collaborate on work efficiently and effectively. This is a skill I know I will carry on to whatever job I will have after college, and I am grateful for this.
The second skill I have been honing in has been my fly tying. I have always loved fly fishing because it is a way to connect to nature like nothing else. It is a sport that makes you a part of an ecosystem and requires you to study it and have a deep understanding of everything around you. For example, if you are fishing a piece of water, you have to know how to read the water, where to cast, what to throw, and how to present the fly, and this is all before you even have hooked the fish. Those who want to take things deeper can decide to tie their own flies. I have learned the life cycles and species of many insects in the United States located on trout streams and work to craft patterns just like them. It really is an art form that is hard to master, but I am trying very hard and also touching up on my entomology. Below I attached a picture of one of my favorite flies I have tied. It is called a “Purple Haze” and is a variation of a “Parachute Adams” fly pattern. This is meant to imitate a Mayfly in the Dun stage. This is essentially the young adult stage in terms of its life cycle. I cannot wait to spend some time up in the mountains when the mayflies start hatching, putting these flies to work!