First of all, no work would get done anywhere. Ever. I have been contemplating more lately about how I missed my window to be a Troutbum. I get to fish, a lot actually, and spend way to much time doing things that are directly related to fly fishing like this blog, or tying flies. But I don’t consider myself to be a real Troutbum.
I figure to be one you need something and have to lack some others. If you are a real Troutbum you are probably in or on the fringe of the fishing industry. If you are a guide you are already in. If you are a rep or somehow involved with the big companies or rod building you are probably in as your passion has turned into your job. The line had blurred between your professional and personal life.
I think for the rest of us, too many other things have gotten in the way. A job, or a kids have a detrimental effect to being a Troutbum. I also realized that youth may have a little something to do with it. When I was eighteen I could have packed up everything I owned into my truck and beat feet out west. But my youth also made me stupid. I was so caught up with other things, that I couldn’t see the trout for the hatch of co-eds and college parties. I thought fishing a few times a year made me a “fisherman”. I was wrong.
Time is also a cruel mistress for becoming a bum in two ways. As time moved on, jobs, student loans, family gets you farther away from getting that goal if you really want it. I also wasn’t as learned in the ways of fly fishing as I am now. And even now I still have tons to learn and enjoy learning more about fly fishing then I ever have, but at that point I wouldn’t have even been a successful bum. I surely couldn’t have guided anyone, nonetheless have succeeded at trying to live that life.
The window may be closed to become a true Troutbum for some of the reasons above. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy my semi-bum kinda life. They say too much of a good thing is bad, and maybe that’s the case here. Some guides burn out and hardly ever fish again. At some point, the 18-year-old Troutbum turns into the 30-year-old that ponders family and retirement. I still dream of fishing and have butterflies when I go fishing somewhere new. Maybe that wouldn’t be there if I fished every day and was guiding some jerks from back east. I think this balancing act has turned out well. I fish a lot every year (for me), and am lucky enough to live somewhere with gorgeous views and lots of wild trout. Someday I may even get to retire and become a true Troutbum. For now I consider myself blessed and I get to have my 3-weight and fish it too.