For the love of the sport… or for the gram?

This subject has been weighing heavy on my heart for quite a while now. I frequently get asked for advice on how I grew my following in the fly fishing/outdoor industry, and for that I don’t have a simple answer.

So here goes: I never intended on having a “following.” I never dreamed of being an “influencer.” My purpose in fly fishing has never been to entertain.

I started fly fishing long before it was trending on Instagram. My main purpose was to get outside with good company, catch fish, and learn as much as I possibly could.  I was on the water every spare second I had and didn’t have a thought in my mind about my social media presence.

I took an occasional picture and didn’t question if it was good enough to post. It simply started as a burning passion that I wanted to share with others, and I used Instagram to learn from other anglers and to dream about all the different things I want to accomplish as a fly fisherwoman.

How did I grow my followers? The only thing I can boil it down to is passion.

If you need affirmation from the amount of followers you have or how many likes you get on a picture, you probably need to find a medium other than fly fishing to do it. Using fly fishing as a way to promote your own agenda is disrespectful and objectifying to everything this community stands for.

In the end, the amount of followers you have in this industry doesn’t make you a better fly fisherman. It doesn’t mean you’re better than anyone else. It doesn’t mean you know more about the sport.

Every day I see more and more accounts trying to grow their following, whether it be for free gear and sponsorships, getting paid for posts, or maybe for their own personal affirmations. If this is all your signed on for, all I’ve got to say is that you sure are missing out.

Put down the phone and enjoy your time on the water.


Douglas Outdoors: The Beginning

I’m no stranger to receiving inquiries from companies about becoming an ambassador for their products.

A lot of these requests ultimately get turned down because I feel like it’s an easy way for companies to get free user-generated content only at the cost of sending their products. I can see the appeal; small investment, big return. My personal problem with this is that in a lot of cases it just makes me feel used, and that I’m only valued by the number of followers I have.

I have held off on getting involved with a rod company because I didn’t just want to be another notch on a company’s long belt of “ambassadors.”

When Douglas Outdoors first contacted me, it was through a direct message on Instagram. For the first time ever, I was asked if I wanted to TALK… yep, like actually have a conversation on the phone rather than sending emails, texts, or direct messages back and forth.

When I answered the phone, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the voice of another woman. Up to this point I hadn’t had the opportunity to work with a fly fishing company that is partially woman-owned and operated, so this was something that really excited me.

We discussed our goals and she told me a little bit about their company, and she actually wanted me to try their products out before I agreed to work with them. Most companies expect a done-deal when they send you their products and immediately expect content. Unfortunately when you receive gear you don’t like, you’re sometimes stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I received my Douglas Outdoors SKY Series 9′ 5wt rod and Nexus 5/6 wt reel in the mail within the week. When I picked up the SKY and cast it for the first time I immediately knew this company was the real deal and not just another company buying rod blanks from china and slapping their logo on it (which is something I’m always on the lookout for, you should be too.) Their philosophy is to avoid mass produced, high volume, low cost rods and reels.

Working with Douglas Outdoors has been one of the best decisions I’ve made because they are truly invested in my success and not just their own. When you buy products from Douglas Outdoors, you aren’t lining the pockets of corporate executives, but fueling the passion of a family that wants the best for the fly fishing community.

There is a lot more I have to say about Douglas Outdoors and their products, so stay tuned!

What you don’t see.

Today I wanted to write a short blog post to tell you all a little bit of my fishing habits and what I do to make sure I am always practicing the best catch and release techniques.

When you see a still shot on my Instagram page, I know what it can look like – the fish is far out of the water and being held up in front of a camera. Here’s what you don’t see – holding the fish in the net, submerged in water, until the very last second that I am ready to take the picture. After I take a shot, it goes right back into the water. I’ll do a quick review to make sure I like the image (while the fish is still in the water,) maybe do a retake, and then make sure the fish has fully regained it’s strength before it is released. The fish is out of water no more than a few seconds before it is released.

I never fish during spawning and make sure to alert other anglers when they are too close to the redds.

I have been a member of Trout Unlimited for many years, and have spent countless hours making sure my waters, trout, and ecosystem maintain the highest integrity.

Before you make assumptions and write hateful comments on my posts, just know that Instagram will never be able to show the whole picture. If you ever have a question about my pictures, feel free to send me a message. 


Hateful comments will not be tolerated on my page.


Behind the scenes

It’s easy to watch a well filmed video and be inspired. The scenery is beautiful, the action is dynamic, and it seems like all the pieces fit together perfectly.

While filming my first professionally produced video with Cumberland Marketing, the goal was to capture the beauty of the South Holston River and talk a little about my passion for fly fishing. What I didn’t realize is that it is nothing like what you see in movies and there were a few challenges we faced throughout the day.

-Dancing around each other in the raft

My StealthCraft Hooligan XL has room for three people, fishing gear, a cooler, and two dry boxes that fit nicely under the seats. What it does not have room for are three people, all of the other aforementioned gear, AND large camera boxes and equipment. We would have to switch places often for me to get in the back so I could fish, and juggling camera equipment around water is scary.

-Rowing shots

To get footage of me rowing the first time, the videographer in the back seat had to hunch over and hide behind me for an extended period of time.

The second time, I let the videographers out of the boat (who almost fell getting out) down the river and rowed back up the river in the current. After that I was hot, sweating, and out of breath.

-Hot, sweating, and out of breath

The combination of playing musical chairs, excessive rowing, retaking shots, and being out in the 85 degree burning sun was quite the experience.

-Bad interview skills

I haven’t done many interviews in my life, and you could tell. I didn’t know it would be so hard to talk about my biggest passion in life, so it was easier for me to show it. Luckily Cumberland Marketing’s video production team was phenomenal at picking out the good parts and left out all of the screw ups, curses, and other mishaps.

-The Blooper Reel

Enjoy the blooper real here for a funny look behind the scenes.


To see the finished version go here.


A day on the South Holston

The South Holston River in Tennessee is home to more than 9,000 trout per mile and is known for its legendary dry fly action. Check out this video for a glimpse of the beauty I get to experience nearly every day.

If you’re planning on making a trip this way I’d be happy to give you a few pointers!