Once we were able to start guiding again here in May I was fortunate enough to guide a father daughter duo that I guided nearly seven years ago. This got me thinking about all the knowledge I have gained since that first time guided Cliff and Aiden, its alot! Much of it is experiential learning, learning on my own via reading, but mostly its people. So this begins a 6 week series highlighting the individuals who have influenced me as a guide over the last six years.
The first person I want to highlight is James Conner. James aka "Harry" is a local legend in my mind. He is born and raised in Swain County and always has amazing stories to tell. James has been tying fishing flies for probably more years than he is old which I think he is aournd 75! When I wanted to take fly fishing seriously I knew i had to learn the craft. James was eager to let me sit down at this vise and learn me few patterns. Even though my first fly was ugly, he was still so positive and told me "It'll fish!" Thus began my time learning to tie flies. James was also a great connection to the next person on this list which I will detail next week. I am forever grateful to Brenda and James. For their time teaching me fly patterns, gardening, home heating with wood, all over coffee and biscuits! If you have purchased dry flies from the shop over the last almost 7 years, you have fished some of James' patterns!