Ty Goodwin says he's on the fringe of the fly-fishing world with his craving for catch-and-release carp, but he learned the fundamentals from some of the best in the business, spending several years as an instructor at various fly-fishing schools for LL Bean and Orvis. He's worked as a part-time guide in the Tellico River Basin and is a certified casting instructor with the Federation of Fly Fishers.
How long have you been fly fishing and how did you get started?
My dad took my brother and me fishing early on, so I've been fishing more or less my entire life. My fly fishing though began about 15 years ago when my wife bought a fly rod combo kit for my birthday. I attended a couple of beginner fly-fishing classes here locally and I've been, um, hooked ever since.
How did you become an Orvis and LL Bean instructor?
With LL Bean, another instructor I knew suggested that I apply. So I called them up and threw my name in the hat for any openings. I went through a couple of phone interviews, as well as a face-to-face interview with the school coordinator for that area and one of the current instructors. It was a more rigorous process than I expected. They asked me to execute certain casts and demonstrate my instructing methods. We did all of this in a grassy area outside of their Tyson's Corner, Va., store in a heavy downpour. People driving by looked at us like we were insane.
It was a similar process with Orvis. A phone interview followed by another interview with casting, instruction, etc.
I was impressed with the interview process in both cases. Both Bean and Orvis really made sure you knew what you were talking about before they put you on their instructor staffs.
What is the best tip you can give someone getting started in the sport?
Get personal instruction. Getting instruction on the front end will save you many hours of frustration and greatly reduce your learning curve. Attend a fly-fishing school or book a guided trip on a river you plan on fishing often. Or if you know someone who is an experienced fly fisher, ask him or her to show you the ropes.
Read more about Ty Goodwin's fishing adventures at finewater.blogspot.com
Where is your favorite place to fish in this area, and where is the best place you've ever been fly fishing?
That's hard to nail down since we have so many great rivers and lakes around here. My favorite places tend to be off the beaten path. I like remote streams that require a bit of a hike to reach, or quiet backwaters on lakes and rivers. A good map and a willingness to do a little legwork is all you need to find these places.
As far as the best place I've ever been fishing, I guess I would give the nod to Montana. Yes, the fishing was great and everything I expected, but I put Montana up there because of the beautiful terrain. Hard to get your head around all of that space.
Where is one place you most want to go?
I'd like to do more saltwater fishing, and I've always wanted to go to Christmas Island and chase bonefish. A close second would be Beaver Island in Michigan. I hear the carp fishing up there is ridiculous.
What is different about fly fishing for carp versus trout?
Carp are much more difficult to catch. Carp require a stealthy approach, highly accurate casting and a delicate presentation of the fly. Even if you do all of those things right, you often come up empty-handed. Trout are more forgiving, usually, on all counts. Carp are just tough, tough fish to take on a fly.
Not to mention that they're bigger and stronger than trout. A 10-pound trout will get your picture in the paper around here. A 10-pound carp on the other hand is no big deal at all.
What is the biggest carp and biggest trout you've ever landed?
I've landed a few grass carp that were over 30 inches or so. Landing a big grassie can be a lot like trying to land a bulldozer - just one long relentless pull. I've caught a few 20-plus-inch trout on East Tennessee tailwaters, including the Hiwassee just north of here. But the trout I remember most is a big brown I hooked on the Beaverhead in Montana. Broke me off once he got a head of steam up. That one still keeps me up at night.
What is your favorite piece of equipment and why?
Probably my canoe. I just like being on the water, whether I'm floating a river or paddling around a lake or pond. Canoes and fly fishing were made for each other.
What other outdoor sports do you participate in?
I love to hike and camp. It's great to live in a place where I can leave my house and be on a trail within 20 or 30 minutes.