With a busy Texas trout season drawing to a close, I finally had a chance to sit down and crack open “Not all Trout are Geniuses,” by fly fishing author, Mark Usyk. From the first chapter, I was drawn in…not only by the vivid storytelling, but by the easy, conversational tenor of his writing. And I was sure I needed to convince him to come on the podcast.
As he joined our virtual meeting from his den, he was accompanied by Masters of the Universe and Star Wars action figures, Kermit the frog, and an 18-inch statue of the Incredible Hulk holding a trout plaque. So yeah, I knew this was going to be good.
We’ll talk about the release of his third book, a little about fly fishing, and a fair bit about the path of transformation from hot rod builder and and cell tower climber to published outdoor author.
JP Ross is thoughtful guy. I’m not talking about the “oh, isn’t he nice?” kind of thoughtful, though he’s probably that, too. I mean to say that from what I can tell, he approaches everything he does with focus and a great deal of thought. As though it matters. Because to him, it does. He’s also a rod designer and builder who believes, passionately, that a fly rod is more than merely a tool to catch fish, it’s an instrument of zen. Which is probably why we hit it off from the start.
My interview with him meandered from a doctor’s office parking lot in Utica, NY, where he was first introduced to fly fishing as a child, to his experience owning a fly shop and designing fly rods, and ultimately, to a discussion about the human and Devine forces that compel him. Terms you don’t often hear in conversations about fishing came up—like happiness, belonging, and believe it or not, even enchantment.
In this installment, I have a heart-to-heart with Kate and Danielle Nolan of DNK Presents, Brown County Bikes, and a nonprofit called Live Adventurously. Like Episode #4 of my recent conversation with fellow van camper, Stephanie Burks, there wasn’t a set agenda for this interview. I wanted to just allow these ladies to talk about what they are passionate about. And believe me, there’s plenty. But the main thread that runs through our exchange is a focus on empowering and educating others, especially women, to embrace their sprit of adventure and self-reliance. To reconnect with themselves be immersing themselves in nature. Sound familiar?
When I heard that an old friend was having her MINIvan professionally outfitted for camping, I was intrigued—about the mechanics and the motivation. So when fate found me both 2000 miles from my home and 20 miles from hers within weeks of her taking delivery of her shiny new coach, I was determined to find a time to camp together. She was equally excited. So as the sun began to descend on a warm September evening, we headed out of the city and into the forest.