Fly Fishing Community Initiatives

For decades the fly fishing community has been finding ways to give back to various organizations and support conservation efforts nationwide. I have seen first hand the power of these organizations and how support from the community drives their missions forward. Every organization supports something different, from safe handing of fish to river clean ups or getting survivors on the river. This community of anglers is centered around helping! Helping other anglers, helping the community, helping the environment, helping build this incredible network!

This is far from a complete list of organization, this is simply a snapshot of popular ones I have come in contact with. If you have others that you LOVE, leave them in a comment below! Together we can bring awareness to all the fantastic organizations out there supporting fly fishing!

 

Keepemwet 

Keepemwet® is about releasing fish in the best condition possible. It’s a motto for minimizing air exposure, eliminating contact with dry surfaces, and reducing handling. It’s a movement to empower anglers to take small, simple steps to responsibly enjoy and share fishing experiences. Our goal is to minimize the impact of catch & release angling on fisheries by uniting conscientious anglers, organizations and companies to promote science based practices for handling fish that are released. 

Keepemwet Principles 

1. Minimize Air Exposure 

2. Eliminate Contact With Dry Surfaces 

3. Reduce Handling 

Share The Movement #keepemwet

Want More Information? https://www.keepemwet.org


Photo By Holly Finn (@hollyfinnfishes)

Photo By Holly Finn (@hollyfinnfishes)

Fill the Net 

 

A movement of elegant simplicity. One net, full of trash, every time you go.

 Share the Movement #fillthenet

Want More Information: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1779147678790626/about/

 


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#5050onthewater 

From women-specific gear development, to education & adventure experiences, to nonprofit partnerships and women-centric storytelling, 50/50 On the Water is here to inspire and celebrate women in the sport we all love.

 

Share the Movement #5050onthewater

What More Information https://5050onthewater.orvis.com

Registered Events https://5050onthewater.orvis.com/events/


Casting for Recovery 

Casting for Recovery (CfR) provides healing outdoor retreats for women with breast cancer, at no cost to the participants. CfR’s retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life, and experience healing connections with other women and nature. The retreats are open to women with breast cancer of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery. For over 20 years, women from all walks of life have benefitted from CfR’s inspiring program model.

 

Why fly fishing and breast cancer?

Our healing program is unique! For women who have had surgery or radiation as part of their breast cancer treatment, the gentle motion of fly casting can be good physical therapy for increasing mobility in the arm and upper body. Couple that with the emotional benefits of connecting with nature, and you’ve got powerful medicine. Our retreats are unconventional and described by many women as life-changing.

 

Share the Movement #castingforrecovery

Want More Information https://castingforrecovery.org/about-casting-for-recovery/

 


Project Healing Waters

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc.™ is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) began in 2005 serving wounded military service members at Walter Reed Army Medical Center returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since then, PHWFF has expanded nationwide, establishing its highly successful program in Department of Defense hospitals, Warrior Transition Units, and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and clinics.

Project Healing Waters brings a high-quality, full-spectrum fly fishing program to an ever-expanding number of disabled active military service personnel across the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, in Military Hospitals and the Warrior Transition Command. We focus our resources wherever the need is greatest and expand our partner base in the process. PHWFF has become recognized as an innovative leader and model in the field of therapeutic outdoor recreation for the disabled, through its successful application of the sport of fly fishing as a rehabilitation tool.

 

Share the Project #projecthealingwaters

Want More Information http://projecthealingwaters.org


The Mayfly Project

Our mission is to build relationships with children in foster care through fly fishing and introduce them to their local water ecosystems, with a hope that connecting them to a rewarding hobby will provide an opportunity for foster children to have fun, feel supported, and develop a meaningful connection with the outdoors.  

 

The Mayfly Project's standard program is to mentor a foster child through five sessions we call "stages", just like the life cycle of a Mayfly.  Within these stages, the children learn line management, casting techniques, knot tying, some etymology, river safety, mending tactics, hook setting, catch and release tactics, and the value of conservation. At the end of the five stages the child is given his or her very own fly rod, reel, pack, fly box, flies, tippet, indicators, etc. Our hope is for the child to continue to pursue fly fishing and to have a tool to access the outdoors.  Each project is unique and may contain more or less stages, but the goal is to provide a well-rounded and safe fly fishing experience for children in foster care. 

Looking For a Project in your Area? Find One Here

Share the Project #themayflyproject

Want More Information: https://www.themayflyproject.com


Stream Access Now 

Public Waters Access Pledge!

All Americans should have the opportunity to enjoy our nation’s great outdoors. Access to our public waters is crucial to upholding our outdoor traditions. While private property rights must be respected, I believe that everyone should be able to access our rivers and streams. The ability to hunt, fish and float these waterways should not depend on an individual’s economic means or social standing. I pledge to defend our opportunities to access America’s waterways and to join others in sustaining our outdoor legacy. 

Looking for your local chapter? Find Your Chapter Here

Want More Information https://www.backcountryhunters.org/stream_access_report


Trout Unlimited

Today TU is a national organization with about 300,000 members and supporters organized into over 400 chapters and councils from Maine to Montana to Alaska. This dedicated grassroots army is matched by a respected staff of lawyers, policy experts and scientists, who work out of more than 30 offices nationwide. These conservation professionals ensure that TU is at the forefront of fisheries restoration work at the local, state and national levels.

The organization remains committed to applying "the very best information and thinking available" in its conservation work and has developed cutting-edge tools such as the Conservation Success Index (CSI), a sophisticated framework for assessing the health of coldwater fish species throughout their native range. Whether this range encompasses a few hundred miles or multiple states, the CSI helps the organization target its efforts toward those populations most in need of protection or restoration.

The CSI also enables TU to measure its progress in achieving the bold goals laid out in its mission and vision. These goals require the organization to work at increasingly larger scales, and to collaborate with other conservation interests, local communities and state and federal partners to begin to rebuild the natural resiliency of watersheds. Such efforts are crucial if North America's trout and salmon are to survive climate change and the host of threats facing them at the start of the 21st century.

Nearly 50 years after its founding, no other conservation organization is as well placed as TU to make a difference for the nation's coldwater fisheries.  

Our Mission

To conserve, protect and restore North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

Our Vision

By the next generation, Trout Unlimited will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their North American range, so that our children can enjoy healthy fisheries in their home waters.

 

Looking For Your Local Chapter: https://www.tu.org 


Take Me Fishing 

Get your fish on and plan your next fishing and boating adventure here. 

Need State Specific Information - Locate Your State Here

Get Your Fishing License - Purchase Online Here

Want More Information: https://www.takemefishing.org

 
 

** Information about the above organizations was taken directly from their websites **

Best Catch 2018 | Upper Delaware Brown Trout

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Upper Delaware River System in NY & PA

"Angling is extremely time-consuming. That's sort of the whole point." 
Thomas McGuane

Fly fishing brings people together, there is simply no other way to put it. This story started in April 2017 in Craig, Montana. In one of only two bars in that iconic town, I met a friend who was from my home state and even close my region. 2600 miles away from home, fly fishing brings people together. Now both back on Pennsylvania water in May of 2018, I had the chance to get out and fish with Justin Lyle.

This particular day in May was extremely hot, the sky resembled the color of bluebirds and there was certainly no escaping that early summer sun. We aimed to put in around noon - choosing to fish into the evening - hoping to catch that late hatch of the day. This was my first time floating the Upper Delaware River, to say it was serene would be an understatement. The float started out slow, the heat kept a lot of fish hanging low in the water column & in pockets of shade formed by low hanging trees. About 3 hours into the day, Justin anchored on the edge of a rising pod. With the Mayfly hatch in full bloom & the abundance of spinners floating in the water… a Rusty Spinner was my fly of choice.

The quote “Angling is extremely time-consuming. That's sort of the whole point” never made more sense than in this moment. For what felt like 2 hours, we worked this pod, cast after cast, drift after drift, counting when they were rising for food, I changed the size of my fly a few times; 16 to 18, 18 to 16. Until finally just when I was ready to give up and start looking for other heads… a TAKE & a SET! Just like that, this beautiful brown and I were connected.

Landing this beaut was more than another catch, it was proof that when you wait long enough it will happen. Trout are picky, simply put. This Upper Delaware Brown Trout tested me mentally and made me work for it! It is rewarding days like this on the water that I am reminded just how much fishing is less about the fish and more about the art of angling.

2019 | Reaching Higher

Time so down! I can remember sitting at my desk writing out my 2018 plan as clear as day. Now, a year later, I sit doing the same time for 2019. 2018 was a monumental year for Outdoors With Her and for me personally. In 2018 there was a lot of changes, growth, learning moments, even more fun & fishing!

I knew at one point I would need to make a decision about where to put my focus. 2018 proved to be that year. I went into January with the word “fruition” on my mind. How can I create - execute- and see the rewards of all my efforts within the 12 months I had. My 2018 goals were lofty, they were bold, they pushed me out of my comfort zone multiple times but they were so rewarding!


Attend 4 Industry Related Shows as Staff - DONE

SHOT - Outdoors With Her

GAOS - DSG Hunting

VA FF & Wine - Green Top Hunting and Fishing

The Fly Fishing Show, Edison NJ - Orvis #5050onthewater booth

Green Top Kayak Days


Teach 5+ Fly Fishing 101 Classes - DONE

Orvis Women’s 101 Class

2 Ohio Classes

2 Virginia Classes


Build Programs for Fly Fishing - WORK IN PROGRESS


Get More Involved with My Local Conservation Community  - WORK IN PROGRESS

Joined my local TU & BHA chapters


Grow my Firearms Knowledge - WORK IN PROGRESS


Throughout 2018 I found that education & mentorship were at the heart of everything I was doing. It is mentorship, that keeps propelling me forward. Seeing growth & learning in other people is what continues to keep me teaching, sharing, and running this business! There are a few goals I did not get to fully accomplish and that is OK! That is why they are WORKS IN PROGRESS!


in·ten·tion - noun - a thing intended; an aim or plan.

I choose the word “intention” for 2019. My focus this year is to execute each of my goals with intention. Do more things with intention and be intentional about what I choose to spend my time on. With that being said, here are a few of my public goals.

Teach 10 Fly Fishing 101 + 201 Classes 

Build More Programs for Fly Fishing

Get More Involved with My Local Conservation Community  

Continue Growing my Firearms Knowledge 

Shoot a PA & MD Eastern Turkey

Work on Tying my Top 10 Nymph Patterns

Hunt & Harvest in A New State

Help with The Mayfly Project - PA

Provide More Weekly & Monthly Content

The New Year is already off to a great start for Outdoors With Her & myself! What are some of your goals or resolutions for 2019?

Gift Guide | Stocking Stuffers

 

One of my favorite memories of Christmas morning was always when my sister and I would wake up early and run straight to our stockings in the kitchen! Unlike the presents wrapped tight under the tree, it was easy to sneak a peek in our stockings before Mom and Dad woke up. If you’re stuffing a stocking for the angler in your life, show them you know them well by including a little something personal. I’ve pulled together some of my small favorites for any angler!

 

indicators // nippers // floatant // hand warmers

Orvis CORQS Strike Indicators $5

Dr. Slick XBC Mitten Scissor Clamps $18

Yellowstone Fly Goods Fly Agra Floatant $13

HotHands Hand Warmer Value Pack $12

 

little red knot book // buff // chums // bone broth

Angler's Book Supply Little Red Fishing Knot Book $6

Buff UV Headband $18

Chums Original Cotton Standard End Eyewear $8

LonoLife Grass-Fed Beef Bone Broth Powder $5

 

bug book // socks // mitten clamps // Down By The River Book

The Bug Book: A Fly Fisher's Guide to Trout Stream Insects $8

Wingo Belts Unisex Fish Skin Socks $15

Dr. Slick XBC Mitten Scissor Clamps $18

Down By the River $18



Want to shop the entire Very Merry Fishy Christmas collection? All of the items in the curated collection can be found on Amazon.

Gift Guide | Under $50

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When I think about what brings me the most joy consistently throughout the year, my time on the water is the first thing that comes to mind immediately. This affordable gift guide is chock full of gifts for your fishy friends or loved ones. Look through this one slowly! There’s a lot of good stuff here to consider! I’m sure you’ll find something that works for the fishy friend in your life.

bugger box // wader bag // hat // travel rod case

Cliff Outdoors: Bugger Beast Junior $40

Orvis Safe Passage Wader Tote $49

RepYourWater Five Rivers Collab Hat Mesh Back Hat $27

Redington Double Rod Case $50

 

net // fly box // wading bet // water bottle

Goture Fly Fishing Landing Trout Net Catch Release Net $37

Orvis Tacky Predator Box $49

Wingo Belts Wading Belts $30

Pelican Bottle $30

 

guide nippers // micro case // sunglasses

Simms Guide Nippers $40

Waterproof Case | Pelican 1060 Micro Case $29

Viking Peyton Sunglasses $44

** use code laurelviking20 for an additional 20% off all Viking Eyewear**



Want to shop the entire Very Merry Fishy Christmas collection? All of the items in the curated collection can be found on Amazon.

Gift Guide | Under $100

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We all have that person in our life whose impulsivity goes off the charts with gift giving (in my family… that would be me.) As an angler and avid outdoorsmen sometimes my family struggles to find me those perfect gifts. These gift ideas are just for that! While it might seem like they have it all, an angler ALWAYS has their eyes set on the latest and greatest gear!

 

net // tying vise // xtrafuf boots // hip pack

Rising Fly Fishing Brookie Net $99

Orvis Ez Rotary Vise $70

Xtratuf 6" Ankle Deck Boots $95

Orvis Safe Passage Hip Pack $89

 

loaded lanyard // sunglasses // fly tying tool kit // fly line

Orvis Loaded River Mountain Lanyard $90

Smith Founder Slim ChromaPop Polarized Sunglasses $99

Loon Fly Tying Tool Kit $89

RIO InTouch Big Nasty Fly Line $100

 

reel // nippers

Redington i.D Fly Fishing Reel $70

Abel Nipper $100



WANT TO SHOP THE ENTIRE VERY MERRY FISHY CHRISTMAS COLLECTION? ALL OF THE ITEMS IN THE CURATED COLLECTION CAN BE FOUND ON AMAZON.

Gift Guide | Under $500

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If you know an angler, you know that fly fishing is not the cheapest outdoor activity. Since a lot of these gifts are investments, I always feel that it’s better to get this guide out as early as possible so you can plan and set aside money throughout the entire season to ensure you’re walking into these purchases comfortably. This guide is for the angler in your life who the finest gear out there! I’ve rounded up a bunch of fantastic things at all different price points ($200-$500) to satisfy their craving and I hope it helps you shop for that special someone!

 

women’s | waders // nano puff // wading boots // wading jacket

Orvis Women's Ultralight Convertible Wader $298

Patagonia Women's Nano Puff Insulated Jacket $199

Orvis Women's Ultralight Wading Boot $169

Orvis Women's Pro Wading Jacket $349

 

men’s | waders // wading jacket // wading boots // nano puff

Orvis Men's Ultralight Convertible Wader $298

Orvis Men's Pro Wading Jacket $349

Orvis Men's Ultralight Wading Boot $169

Patagonia Men's Nano Puff Jacket $199

 

dry bag // sun glasses // pliers // reel

Watershed Yukon Duffel $144

Costa Unisex Rincon $206

Hatch Outdoors Nomad Fishing Pliers $300

Redington RISE Fly Fishing Reel $220

 

rod // sunglasses // premium vise // cooler

Orvis Recon 5-Weight 9' Fly Rod $425

Costa Del Mar Rafael Sunglasses $259

Regal Medallion Fly Tying Vise $275

Pelican Elite Soft Cooler $278



WANT TO SHOP THE ENTIRE VERY MERRY FISHY CHRISTMAS COLLECTION? ALL OF THE ITEMS IN THE CURATED COLLECTION CAN BE FOUND ON AMAZON.

Venator Camo Fall Round Up

The start of fall has certainly been off to a hot start on the East Coast. And not hot, as in the best deer movement to date, hot as in, it’s early October and we still have nights into the low 80’s. While it reminds me of turkey season and all the nostalgia that comes with hunting in the heat, I will certainly be welcoming those cooler mornings and night sits as the season draws on. Because nothing says Whitetail season quite like a little frost on your nose from sitting in the stand all day.

Thankfully, this year I have rock solid gear that gets me through all the seasons, hot or cold! I first heard about Rocky Boot’s new camouflage pattern, Venator Camo in the summer of 2016. I was already wearing a digital pattern, but not completely satisfied. Furthermore, I was looking for something with darker brown and green tones, not grey. Insert Venator Camo!

I got my first pieces in late November 2016. I was wrapping up Whitetail season in Pennsylvania and figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. Immediately I was surprised by the quietness, durability, and versatility of the pieces. I was able to choose between layers, mix and match, and find the gear that worked for me on any given day. Over the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to try out almost every piece from the collection. My Venator gear has since traveled with me to hunt Elk in Montana, Whitetail and Black Bear in West Virginia, Turkey in Maryland, and back to Pennsylvania for Whitetail season.

You will be hard pressed to find another camouflage pattern that can get you through all seasons, withstand the conditions, and provide great comfort and warmth all while keeping you concealed in the field. I have rounded up some of my favorites by season. Everyone layers up differently, for me this works! The biggest advantage with Venator is the packable jackets and tops that make layering up in the stand or in the field easy! Rocky has been generous enough to extend a discount code if you are looking to scoop up a few pieces of your own! Use code Laurel25 at checkout for 25% off your purchase.

 

Early Season

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MidSeason

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Late Season

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Boots

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Successful harvests from 2017 and 2018 in my Rocky Venator Camo. Since 2016, I have never had to worry about having the right gear with me when I am in the field. It is a relief knowing Rocky Boots has thought through all their gear and created pieces that can transition between seasons. If you are in the market for new camouflage or simply want to see what all the hype is about, head over to RockyBoots.com and check it out, use code Laurel25 at checkout to sweeten the deal!

Maryland Turkey: A Success

The red lights on the alarm clock flashed 1:58am I should have been sleeping, but the anticipation for my 3:30am wake-up had me on edge. Nestled in the heart of the Eastern Shore, the Manor at Schraders is an iconic plantation style estate offering wing shooting, hunting, and fishing opportunities. 

As I settled into my balcony view room, a plush king size bed summoned. As I lay there, I couldn't help but feel the history of the Manor. All 11 bedrooms, carry the name of a previous owner, offering a glimpse into this Victorian Manor's past life. The three-story Manor House provides an atmosphere of casual elegance and includes a library, living room, kitchen, dining room, sitting room, screened porch and a wide selection of comfortable bedrooms, each with its own private bath.

Thanks to Trish Boone & Andrew Farrow, I was here to hopefully harvest my first Eastern Turkey; a milestone I had been working towards for a few years

 
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The combination of the nerves and the midnight hour made donuts and Sprite at 4:30am the perfect pre-hunt breakfast. 4:45am, Andrew pulled up in the truck, it was go-time! 

A quick drive to the back of the property near the Sporting Clays course, we parked the truck and gathered our gear. Walking in the woods before the world wakes up is a serial experience every time. For those 5 minutes during the walk everything is quiet, only the sounds of Andrew and I's footstep as we headed toward the blind. Andrew had been in this spot last night, he knew there was an older bird roosted in the corner. The plan, wait for the woods to slowly wake up, then draw him in. We were all settled in, facing a logging road next to a large pond. Just before daybreak, we heard the first turkey wakeup off in the distance. Andrew called to the bird, no response. He called to the turkey again, again nothing in return. The bird we were after, suddenly had shut up. 

He and the rest of the woods. After what seemed like hours, Andrew decided it was time to go find a bird, on the carpet. He was confident they were in the woods and if they wouldn't come to us, we would go to them. 

So back to the truck and off to the next farm we went. 

This time, we parked on a sand logging road near the quarry. Time to walk, as we made our way into the woods, there were signs of birds all over the sand. Fresh tracks lay insight but no audible sounds anywhere.

A quick set up of the blind, several calls and still no answer. If the birds were there, they were not answering us. Clucks, yelps, purrs, gobbles, any call Andrew made, was not being returned. Maybe it was a combination of the heat or the light wind, but these birds were locked up. With time ticking down, we packed up once again an headed back toward the truck.

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Onto the third and final farm. Time for boots on the ground, walk a bit, sit a bit, call a few times, and repeat. That was the game plan for close to 2 hours, working our way through the farm. After a unanimous decision to try the swamp, "that just looked like where they would live", to the swamp we went. As we sat down at the base of a large tree and settled in, our spirits were lifted. Laughing and sharing commentary back and forth about Whitetail season. A text came in on my phone around 10:40am,  from a mutual friend asking how the hunt was going. Just then Andrew threw out a Hail Mary on the glass call... The call you save when you really need to sweet talk them. 

And just like that, things escalated very quickly. The first real gobble we heard all day came from the right! Andrew quickly instructed "get ready, gun up",  as he saw two Jakes working in towards us on a string. 50 yards, 40 yards, 30 yards, 25 yards, I still couldn't see either bird, I was focused off to the right where the first gobble came from. It was not until they came from around the back of a tree of my left that I had them in my sights.  

Seeing only their white heads coming through the brush, Andrew whispered again "get ready...get ready"... then SHOOT. 

Without hesitation, the safety was off and the Jake in my sights was flipped backward rolling in the dirt. Three years, multiple states, hours and hours of hunting, it had finally come to this. I had successfully made a connection with my first Eastern Turkey! Three farms, close to four miles walked, and with an hour to spare, Andrew had put me on a beauty of a bird! Time to celebrate! BIRD ON THE GROUND! 

 
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With the empty shell in my pocket, we snapped a few quick quick photos and I couldn't stop smiling! I was shaking with excitement and in that moment, I knew exactly why everyone says, "You will be hooked".  I was, I wanted more, another bird, another opportunity to shoot. Excitement and adrenaline were running through my body. We headed back toward the truck, bird in hand, to fill out tags. 

 

If you are looking for an incredible experience on the Eastern Shore, Schraders Outdoors is a must! From the first few moments of the hunt to cleaning my first bird, Andrew was fantastic! You will be hard pressed to find another guide who has the same passion for the woods, the birds, and teaching others about hunting. I highly recommend booking a hunt with them this fall! 

The Year of Fruition | 6 Month Check In

Your life is not a competition with others, it is a journey with YOURSELF!
 

In the fall of 17', my dear friend Brooke (@brooke.averill) challenged me to find a word that would represent my goals for 2018. I initially thought she was crazy then as I let it sink in, I realized how motivational it would be to pick one word and intentionally work toward setting and making goals with a purpose. The word I choose;

 

fru·i·tion: noun. the point at which a plan or project is realized

 

In my blog, Coming to Fruition, I set a handful of goals for twenty-eighteen. As I round out the end of six months since I set those goals, I wanted to do a quick check in to see how far I have come! 

 

Attend 4 Industry Related Shows as Staff - DONE 

Teach 5+ Fly Fishing 101 Classes - DONE

Build Programs for Fly Fishing & Hunting  - under construction 

Guide 80 + Days of the Water - getting there! 

Continue Growing my Firearms Knowledge - coming soon 

 

Just as I started to get comfortable in the New Year, God laughed and decided to teach me life lesson, the lesson of walking away. For years, when things hit the fan I would RUN away, I would turn on my heels and sprint in the opposite direction without looking back. This time, He taught me how to walk away with my eyes wide open. To see the negative in the situation and to deal with it the healthy way. It was within this lesson, I learned to walk away from the negative people, the negative situations, the negative behaviors and clean up the negative areas lingering in my life. And you know what? The minute I rationally walked about from all the negative in my life, I found an overwhelming sense of relief. For the first time in a long time, I was truly happy with where I was, not only from a business standpoint but in my personal life. I no longer felt like I had to carry the burden of other peoples negativity & my own self negativity. I made a choice to realign with what truly matters. 

It has been six months of truly believing in the power of self-love, self-care, and building even more self-confidence in who I am. As I begin to tell my story on a more public platform later this year, I will be sharing snippets of "my story" and how I continue to find motivation and inspiration in my daily life. 



I had always known I wanted a non-traditional career, always. As a kid I dreamed of having one of the "fun" jobs; marine biologist, dolphin trainer, zookeeper. If it was out of the ordinary, I wanted to do it. Fast forward two decades, my career may not be any of those jobs. But it is so much more than I could have dreamt up. I am no longer chasing my dream job; I am living my dream life. I set my own rules, my own hours, my own schedule & I absorb the outdoors on a daily basis. 

In 2015 when I decided to pursue a career in the outdoor industry full time, I was terrified. There I was at 25 years old, managing a customer service division, living in my parents home, and longing to be on an adventure rather than at work. I spent the larger part of the four years after college in the Insurance Industry living the "American or Cooperate Dream" climbing the ladder, shaking hands, and for what? A corner office one day? That was not enough. I wanted to break the mold, go my own direction and create the life I wanted, free of restrictions and boundaries. I simply wanted a life I did not need a vacation from. 

"


 

Need Inspiration? I Do! 

 

How do I juggle it all? The outdoors is my life - but what sits at the cornerstone? My story is unlike others, it is unique. I created this life, I forged the way for where I am. But now what? I am good at so many things, but a master at none {or some} ... And in today's world, is that enough? 


I think everyone battles with that same question, what is enough? Have I done enough? Have I accomplished enough? The varying forms of this question go around and around in my head on an almost daily basis. When the pressure of trying to answer that question builds up and I begin to feel overwhelmed, I turn to Youtube & Podcasts. My first stop... a video by Eric Thomas.

 

How Bad Do you Want It? 

 

For me, I need the reminder to stop seeking a reward for what I am going to do, to stop seeking validation for what I am trying to do. My feelings of being overwhelmed come when my focus has shifted from my why and on to my how. When I let the unnecessary parts of my business take control, the reminder that it is not about the product, but rather the process, I can regain the control. It will ALWAYS be enough if you are giving all of yourself to the process. Not the end goal, not the pot of goal at the end of the rainbow, but the process. 

This is your life, this is the life you are creating! In the moment that you understand that life is a gift you elevate yourself to that standard. This "process" is about the legacy you are trying to leave, the good you are doing for other people, the positivity you outpour to others, not the approval of everyone and the collection of things. 

The process is the rapture of being alive. 


What do you use to maintain daily motivation? What do you do to consistently get better. Let me know! 

xo

Summer Bucket List

Hello SUMMER... well the unofficial start of summer! Memorial Day Weekend has always marked the start of summer for me. The weather changes, my mood changes and all things fun are on the horizon & this summer is no different. Being on the East Coast this summer, means more family time, more time to relax, a bit more freedom, a TON more fishing and more outdoor EVERYTHING. Last summer I was too busy... surviving... just kidding... I was too busy living life that I never made a summer bucket list. 

This summer, my main goal...

Do more fun shit! Say YES to more nights out, YES to new adventures, YES to more family time, YES to treating myself and YES to more travel! 

 

Several items on my Summer List can be crossed off in a few weeks, but y'all know I get so much satisfaction from crossing things off a list. That movement of sliding a pen across a piece of paper is such a feeling of accomplishment! Here, I electronically cross off bucket list items as I reach each one & I will write about each one as I complete them! 


Wild Game Dinner 

Explore Local Hiking Trail 

Change up Fitness Routine 

Find Perfect Swimsuit 

Family Vacation

Pick Berries With My Mom

Fly Fish a New River in a New State 

Paint Night  

Finish a Wood Working Project 

Concerts

Camping 

Vineyard Tours 

Shoot a 3D Tournament 

Get New Bow Dialed into 60 Yards 

Beach Trip


Have you made your list yet? What are you waiting for? 

Make a list & make it an epic summer! 

In My Waders | Front Pocket Essentials

Fly fishing has become the most popular sport in recent years, drawing nearly 46 million Americans to the water each year.

For the new angler, knowing where to start with gear can be overwhelming! If you have ever walked into your local fly shop or a Bass Pro Shop, you will find endless isles adorned with small tools, flies, and multiple options for every single thing imaginable. The best advise I can recommend is to K.I.S.S. { Keep It Simple Silly } When you first start fly fishing, keep to the basics. Spend your money on what you need to get started and save the upgrades or more specific gear for later down the line. For every high end option there is a less expensive option that will do just FINE. 

Every angler has a different set-up or list of must have gear. Personally I choose to keep my must-haves in the front pocket of my waders. The less I have to access my backpack the better! Keep the things closest that you will need the most(est)... 

 

Here are a few of my recommendations 👇🏼


Fly Box... Two... or Three 

I have tried many types of boxes, from waterproof to sticky boxes. And I keep several types in my sling pack and boat bag. To me each box serves a purpose and some are better for certain situations. 

Midge Box: 

While touted as a “midge” fly box, this one is my go-to for my nymphs.  The slit foam strips on either side hold tons of nymphs up to about size 14. One box can hold most of the flies I need for a day on the river. The downside is that this box is slightly heavy and is more “water resistant” than “water proof”.

Tacky Fly Box: 

  • Holds flies tighter

  • Withstands extemes in temperatures

  • Light, sleek, yet extremely durable polycarbonate box

  • Clear lid for visible access to flies

  • Off-set slit design comfortably holds 168 flies

  • Latch-less magnetic closure system

    • Long lasting strength

    • Durability tested

 

Scissor Clamps & Nippers 

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Mitten Clamps:

Same basic concept as mitten clamps, but with a serrated scissor mounted behind the jaws. This addition allows for cutting tippet/leader material, trimming flies streamside or opening your favorite snack when your hands are too cold. 

Cost Effective Nippers:

  • Are easy to replace if you misplace them, or they get lost.

  • Have minimal versatility, but if you fish a particular way, such as mostly fishing 2x-5x tippet will do just fine cutting tippet and leaders.

  • If you dont get out quite as much as you would like, they will last at least a season

  • Typically cost between 3-10 dollar

High Quality Nippers:

  • If you fish quite a bit, these will not need to be replaced as often and can last multiple seasons without getting dull

  • Have much more versatility. High quality nippers will be able to cut 40lb saltwater mono filament when your out chasing tarpon, as well as be able to cut 7x tippet fine enough to thread through a size 24 midge

  • Are generally more corrosion resistant. They wont rust out if you take care of them even after a heavy dosage of saltwater.

  • Typically companies such as Orvis, Abel, Simms, and Hatch are good about replacing blades if they do become dull, increasing the lifetime of your nippers

  • Typically run between 30-100 dollars

 

Leader & Tippet

Tippet is a specific gauge monofilament line that is attached to the end of the leader, to which you tie the fly. The tippet is usually the smallest gauge line on your rig and is virtually invisible to the fish. ... By tying on tippet, you can avoid losing taper. The fly is tied to the end of the tippet.

 

Indicators

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Air-Lock Strike Indicator

The Air-Lock is a new favorite strike indicator. It's super-buoyant, visible, durable, and easy to adjust. The best part about the Air-Lock Indicator is that it won't slip, kink, or leave your leader a mess. Easy on-and-off operation will make this your next go-to strike indicator. 

  • Secure, adjustable, and kinkless strike indicator won't slip or tangle

  • Easy on-and-off action saves time on the water

  • Simply loosen and slide indicator for on-the-fly depth adjustment

THINGAMABOBBER (my personal favorite)

Inspired by western guides using small balloons as strike indicators to improve buoyancy and sensitivity. The Thingamabobber combines all of the best strike indicator elements in one simple design.

  • Highly visible

  • Ultra sensitive

  • Casts like a champ in any weather condition

  • Easy to attach and adjust yet stays in place on your line

  • Never sinks and requires no floatant

Indicator descriptions were taken directly from manufacturers website.

 

& The Random Items

  • Chapstick

  • Snacks

  • Hothands

  • Cell Phone

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Everything else goes into my Animas Watershed Dry Bag backpack. 

Need More? Read what I keep in my go-to dry bag for proper layering and what I keep on hand for emergencies. 

Best Catch 2017 | Missouri River Rainbow Trout

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Craig, Montana --- Missouri River

‘Big Sky Country’ where unobstructed skyline meets hundreds of miles of fishable water.

Last spring I was fortunate enough to take a break from the fly shop to spend a week fishing and learning the Missouri River in Craig, Montana. This mecca of fly fishing is positioned at the headwaters of one of the longest river in the United States. Along this stretch of pristine fishy water, you will experience some of the most prolific hatches, big trout (seriously huge fish), easy access with over 14 boat ramps, and the most welcoming small town you happen upon in the west. 


Spring fishing on the Mo' means learning to adapt to changes in flows, sometimes daily. Having a few different set-ups in the boat proves to be the most productive. A nymph rig, streamer rod, and dry fly set-ups are key. This particular catch, we were floating down a small side channel, I was fishing river left toward the small island behind me. I was casting a 9' 5wt nymph rig with a #16 Rainbow Sow Bug drifting at the end of my line. In the middle of the drift, my line went tight and boy was this is hook-up a beauty! Nothing compares to shoulder days on the Missouri River. Trout like this are more common than not while floating along this incredible fishery! If you are in the west and looking for some incredible fishing, be sure to check out the Missouri River & all it has to offer! 

 

 

The Toll It Takes

It seems so far away. It's been 4 months since I left the west, and I feel different. 

Montana changed me; it broke me, but it also made me whole again. It breathed life back into my body. Death breaks you, it changes you, it rewrites the very fibers of your being. I did not know it at the time, hell I still don't feel it changing me, but it has. The west gave me the ability to cope. 

Since being back on the East Coast, I have become inspired. My desire to produce meaningful evergreen content has never been stronger. With this desire comes an internal struggle to sort out the purpose of it all, the "why". 

I was given a voice, a platform one could say. But what do I do with it? Am I good enough to have my story told? Or am I just a farm kid with a dream to do something great, something different than everyone else. 

I crave to live a life I do not need a vacation from.

When I look at my life presently; Do I want to guide full time forever? No - I'd be broke. Do I want to fly fish, hunt, hike, travel & explore the world, fly through the sky in the cockpit of a helicopter - damn right I do, but how do I capture the essence of my career and turn it into a cause? How do I use this platform for education to inspire others to live out their dreams? If I am not truly exclusive to one sector, how do I own the right to make a stand in that industry? Isn't that cheating? I am going for broke but as a whole, not just one part of me. I am an advocate, a resource, but how am I giving back? How do I corner this market from a different angle? 

How does one juggle it all; this is my life. The outdoors is my life - but what sits at the cornerstone? My story is unlike others, it is unique, it is genuine, it is mine. I created this life, I forged the way for where I am. But now what? I am good at so many, a master at some... and in today's world, is that enough? 

I'd be lying if only talked about the aspirations of inspiration. This path of entrepreneurship has its hurdles. 

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Time, money, resources, where does it all collide? What is the cost? 

Late nights, early mornings 

Lots of associates, very few friends

You will be misunderstood 

You will be single, unless you're lucky enough to find someone who understands your lifestyle 

People will want you to do good, but never better than them 

The price it pays? For these reasons, you will do many things alone. 

 

As I move further and further into this unchartered world of self-employment the quote above becomes truer. You see the highlights on my social media accounts, the picture perfect seconds that were captured. What you do not see, are the weeks of insomnia that follow a writing stretch, the friends who turn on you after a win, the nights at home not out spending money, rather saving for what matters. I won't ever complain about any of it, it is those negatives that keep me driving forward. It fuels me to be more, find more, & surround myself with more people who share the same mindset.

This may seem like wild ramblings, but I urge you to find your own truth in it all. Choose a path that begins to light a fire in your soul. You were given this one life to make a difference and to live it out at your own discretion. When you take steps to design and build your new life, people may not understand, but keep building. For today you will do what other's won't, so tomorrow you can do what others cannot. 


Over the next few weeks, I will be releasing content about finding inspiration, getting the most out of your life, and some how-to guides for what has worked for me so far.  

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4 Things You Need to Know About DSG

Outerwear That Truly Fits a Woman

 

Are you looking for functional yet fashionable hunting clothing for all climates & all seasons that is ACTUALLY made for a woman?  

Let me introduce you to DSG {Doing Something Great}!  DSG Hunting focuses 100% on women's clothing and puts a strong emphasis on fit as well as function, so that the outerwear and lifestyle clothing not only keeps you warm, but truly fits your body.

DSG offers head to toe outfits with multiple layering systems! Jackets, bibs/pants, lightweight sets, layers, gloves, boots, socks, accessories, luggage, and more!

 

In August I was preparing for the start of elk season in Montana, still wearing camo designed for men. It was 2017 and to date only one other company had released a full line up of women's hunting gear; that was until DSG. After some research and multiple conversations, I placed my first order. Within weeks, I had one oversized box of women's specific gear on my doorstep. From Montana to Pennsylvania and Maryland, DSG has held up time and time again. If you are considering purchasing new gear for 2018 DSG should be the first & last place you shop. 

 

Size is Everything... Right? 

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One unique differentiator is our sizing, which DSG worked very diligently on. It starts with fit models of all shapes & sizes to make sure our styles work for every woman looking to stay comfortable while hunting {all seasons} or enjoying any other winter or outdoor activity.

 

Patterns

DSG has cornered the market when it comes to patterns. DSG gear is offered in two great patterns by Realtree; Realtree Xtra & the new Realtree Edge. 

 

More Than Just Clothing 

What excited me most about DSG was the way the ambassadors & owners described the workshops and teaching opportunities on our first team conference call. DSG is committed to being involved in the community; through workshops & hunting trips. I thought to myself, what an incredible way for DSG to not only be a clothing company, but actually be a brand that gives back, gets involved in fostering this lifestyle and being the mentors that so many of us needed when we were younger. I look forward to these workshops; whether that be hunting, fishing, shooting, trapping, etc. It is ideas/trainings like this that truly emerge brands into all areas of the industry. 

 

Setting Trends

If you stopped by the DSG booth at any trade shows this season, you have seen the Blaze Pink! It has been the talk of the show, the eye catcher & the cause for some raised eyebrows. DSG was founded in Wisconsin, the first state to legalize Blaze Pink. DSG was then in turn the first company to design & release a full Blaze Pink hunting set for women. (see full release below)

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Within the all new DSG Outerwear hunting line released late summer of 2017, you will find everything from highly functional performance layering pieces to insulated jackets that are perfect for all types of hunting.  August 2018 will bring 3 new fully functional sets to the market along with additional casual & layer peices. All designed to enhance ladies performance in the outdoors.

Join us in Doing Something Great! 

 

Let's Get Social.

More and more frequently I get asked,  "how do I do this on Instagram, I want mine to look like that" or "tell me your secrets". Well, I am finally sharing some of them with you! I have been in the professional Social Media/Brand Management industry for over 5 years, I know the ins & outs of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., & I can tell you with 100% certainty they CHANGE ALL THE TIME. However, these 5 apps have remained constant and are key applications to keeping me on track, consistent, and ahead of the game. Keeping up with social media can he hard, but it is not impossible. Life was meant to be enjoyed off your phone... so do it, plan ahead, use tools to help & get to living

** Descriptions of apps are taken from iTunes -- no use reinventing the wheel

 

VSCO



For creators, by creators, the VSCO app helps you reach your creative potential within a community that values honest and imaginative expression above all else.

As a member of the VSCO community, you can: 

Create — Use VSCO’s creative photo editing and journal tools to share your unique perspective. 

Discover — Draw inspiration from content curated by the VSCO team, as well as stories told by fellow community members.

Connect — Follow and engage with a diverse group of creators from around the world. 

Fees: Yearly subscription of $19.99

 

 

Typorama

Typorama lets you create amazing visuals by "automagically" transforming your text and photos into beautiful typographic designs. No design skills needed!

Just choose a background, type in your words and your creative typography is ready!

Use Typorama to:
- Make beautiful typographic text layouts
- Create Instagram, Facebook, Twitter posts with stylish text designs
- Create flyers and posters for your events or organization
- Make headers for your blog or wallpapers for your iPhone
- Enrich your family photos adding creative text styles and share your love

Features: 
- 47 different, randomly generating typographic text styles
- More than a hundred different fonts and typefaces from the world's top designers
- Badges, ribbons, curved text and artistic ornaments enriching your designs
- Ability to 3D distort, apply gradient colors, shadows to your text
- Ability to gradually delete parts of text, useful for placing your text designs behind other elements in your photos
- Professional photo filters, overlays and adjustment tools to polish your photo backgrounds
- Hundreds of pre-installed quotes to inspire you
- Fun color combinations for your words
- Thousands of completely free stock photography from Pixabay
- Endless stylish randomizations
- 2048 x 2048 high resolution super crisp output
- Advanced crop options to create the perfect size pictures for social media posts, wallpapers, posters, flyers and postcards.
 

Fees: FREE

 

Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a simple to-do list and task manager app that helps you get stuff done. Whether you’re sharing a grocery list with a loved one, working on a project, or planning a vacation, Wunderlist makes it easy to capture, share and complete your to-dos. Wunderlist instantly syncs between your phone, tablet and computer, so you can access your to-dos from anywhere.

Key Wunderlist Features:


• Add, organize and schedule your to-dos from your phone, tablet or computer
• Set due dates and reminders to ensure you never forget important deadlines (or birthday gifts) again
• Use subtasks, notes, files and comments to add important details to your to-dos
• Create lists to help sort your to-dos for home, work and everything in between
• Share lists and collaborate on your to-dos with family, friends and colleagues
• Be productive from anywhere, thanks to Wunderlist’s apps for your phone, smart watch, tablet and computer
• Swipe down from any app to get a glance of your due to-dos with our Today widget
• Quickly capture to-dos, and peek & pop tasks with 3D Touch on your iPhone 6S
• Save web pages and articles for later with the Add to Wunderlist sharing extension

Fees: Wunderlist is free to download and use. Wunderlist Pro upgrades your experience and gives you unlimited access to Files, Assigning and Subtasks to help you accomplish even more for $4.99 a month through an auto-renewing subscription.


Planoly 

Planoly is the first visual planner and scheduler for Instagram. We're the end to end visual management platform for Instagram. 

Manage your Instagram’s marketing campaigns and content visually before pushing it live. View your data and engagement rates for each post. Track and reply back to comments directly on the app. 


WHY PLANOLY IS THE BEST:
• The complete end to end platform for your Instagram account.
• Visually see how your Instagram profile feed will look like with our drag and drop feature. 
• Effectively manage all your content on our web dashboard or phone app.
• Schedule your Instagram posts days, weeks, or months in advance.
• Upload all your photos and videos directly from your computer, Dropbox, Google Drive, or phone.
• Upload multiple photos at once. 
• Upload videos and gifs.  
• Splitter feature to splice up a photo to create mini-campaigns.
• Discover user-generated content.
• Auto-populate #hashtags and @Instagram handles. 
• Manage multiple Instagram accounts.
• Add team members to help manage. 
• View your engagements for each post. 
• Track and reply to your comments.
• Plan your Instagram Stories.
• Create multiple Draft grids to play with the layout.
• Plan your Carousel multiple media posts.
• Create and save Hashtag groups to reuse

Fees: 

All accounts will start off with the FREE plan. You can upgrade to a paid plan at any time.

FREE plan features:
• 1 Instagram account
• 30/mo upload limit
• 1 month of Metrics and Analytics
• 5 latest posts for Comment Inbox

SOLO Plan features:
• 1 Instagram account
• Unlimited uploads
• 1 year of Metrics and Analytics
• 15 latest posts for Comment Inbox
• Subscriptions are available at a rate of $8.99 monthly or $22.99 for 3 months. 
 


Hootsuite

Share and schedule posts from your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn accounts all from one app.

Hootsuite is the world's most popular social media management app and is FREE for up to 3 social network accounts.

Use the Hootsuite Mobile App to:

* Bring the power of Hootsuite into the palm of your hand
* Post messages to your favourite social networks within one app
* Use AutoSchedule to spread messages out over a number of days, which is great for time management
* View and manage all of your favourite social networks from one place
* Use the Ow.ly link shortener to track click-through stats

Fee: Start your free trial or upgrade to Hootsuite Professional for $29 USD per month. This will give you access to manage more social networks, remove ads, and access additional powerful features on the web.
 

Filter AV8. Find a filter you love or two filters you love, use them consistently on ALL your photos. This creates a more visually pleasing account.

Filter AV8. Find a filter you love or two filters you love, use them consistently on ALL your photos. This creates a more visually pleasing account.

 
Add beautiful text to images, overlay images with 47 different text styles.

Add beautiful text to images, overlay images with 47 different text styles.

Stock option from Typorama background library.

Stock option from Typorama background library.

 
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My top 5! My gift to you! These apps keep my life, my business and my brand growing without a huge sacrifice on time! Spend more time working your business than working in your business! Not all apps are free, but for a nominal fee you can simply your time and be more intentional about your screen time. If you found this useful or would like more content about Social Media, leave me a comment

Tricks of the Trade. SHOT Show 2018

Did you read that title twice, I sure did when I wrote it. Sounds crazy right? Vegas & budget usually are not synonymous or at least used infrequently in the same sentence. For most vacation is the time to splurge, forget the budget & dive into relaxation! But for those in the outdoor industry budget is our best friend! With 8 plus weeks of show season, watching your budget is a must. Uber/Lyft, Food, Shows; it all adds up and very quickly when in the city that never sleeps. Now I am no expert, but I did just manage to come home from a week in Sin City, feeling relaxed and with a few extra dollars in my pocket.
 


Food //

My best kept non-secret... planning ahead. When traveling, I pre-plan breakfast, lunch & snacks and do all my shopping before I even leave home. This usually costs me between $30-$40 depending on the duration of my trip. Doing it this way, allows me to stay on track with my eating habits, avoid over eating, eating the brands I am used to and not spend $20 on pancakes. As for dinner budget roughly $30- $50 for a decent meal out. That range accounts for a main entree and a drink. If you are in town for meetings - coordinate them over the dinner hour or plan to eat in a large group. Portions can be large, so sharing is always an option. The dining options in Vegas are world-renowned, so with one easy step before you even get to town you can enjoy a delicious meal of your choice every night guilt free!

 

Transportation //

Travel in packs! Uber or Lyft are the best bet when getting around town. A typical ride from one end of strip to the next is $8-10. The benefit of using one of these services is that the meter is not running while waiting in traffic. And trust me... traffic never ends. 

 

Use THIS code for a FREE ride with Uber or code laurelm222ue

Use THIS code for a $5.00 ride credit with Lyft or code laurelmcode

 

Gifts //

avoid them! Unless you are there to shop, you don't need it! Sightsee, walk through the shops, hotel lobbies or take a gondola through the Venetian. There is so much to see that spending money on gifts should be the last thing on your mind. 

 

Extras //

This is what Vegas is known for! Shows! See them! Chances are that if you plan ahead and use apps like StubHub or TicketMaster you can find killer deals on some of the hottest shows in town. 

 

Alcohol //

This can blow your budget. If you do drink, I would suggest finding a shot machine or table of choice and spend a few dollars. As long as you are gambling the drinks are free for you and your group. (they usually only serve 3-4 guests with you). 


Choosing Brands

It is that time of year again; the season for change. From November to February the outdoor industry erupts; with contract renewals on the table, the newest and most innovative products hitting showroom floors, and influencers starting to look for new brands & companies looking for new professionals to promote their products. For some this is a welcomed season; new partnerships, new products, exciting opportunities for the year ahead. But for others, it is an uneasy season and not all good change. I have been on both the positive and the negative side of this season over the past several years. I have made mistakes and have learned some valuable lessons along the way when it comes to choosing brands. I am no expert when it comes to influencer marketing but when it comes to choosing brands I follow the big 3. 


B.A.G.

My simple acronym for choosing the right brands 


Be Authentic

Chances are if you picked up your phone, scrolled to Instagram and opened your account; you would see thousands, if not tens of thousand of followers watching your every move. They look to your account for your latest adventure, your go-to products, or who you are wearing. (let's be honest we all do this) Your audience follows you for a specific reason, whatever it be, they chose to actively partake in your social life. When choosing a new brand, be conscious of your audience! After all are they the ones you should be taking into consideration; they are the ones who will aid you in spreading the word about what you are promoting and purchase items using your discount code (if you have one). If you choose to partner with a new company, how much will you have to change? Will you be giving up your authentic vibe in exchange for product? Will you lose your authentic value just to post 2-4 times per month for a company? 

 

Add Value

Value. This may be the single most important item when choosing to partner with a new brand. What value will this bring to you, your business, personal brand, company, etc? Will this product/company add any value to your audience? If the answer is yes; it will enhance my audience's education, awareness, skill set, then go for it! That sounds like the perfect brand to align with. If the answer is no, step back. If this is a one time partnership, or a product for post, or sponsored post, think about the people who look up to you for advice. Does this brand help you gain anything or did you simply say yes to gain free product? Let me pause. I am NOT saying your followers are the only people you should aim to please, but as an influence marketer or a "InstaFamous Celebrity" your focus should be on producing the best, most current content you can provide. Adding value serves your audience in an authentic way, which in turn makes you more successful. 

choosing brands should be like dating. get to know one another, develop a connection, decide if you want to move forward.
— Me

 

Go Deeper - Not Wider 

Who am I kidding, we all love receiving the emails or DM's offering us free products, hunts, gear, etc. You name it, Instagram has now made it possible to sell anything using influencer marketing. Now more than ever, it is crucial to choose brands that deepen your connection to your industry. For instance, if you are fully emerged in the outdoor industry, dig deeper into that! Do not start picking up companies like; Skinny Tea, Vitamin Gummies, or Teeth Whitening Devices. What value does this add? Rather, choose companies that will enhance your outdoor experience, whether that be a new pack or new bow, choose a brand that will build on your well laid foundation, not spread you thin.  

 

Social media marketing is not a race, let me repeat, IT IS NOT A RACE. It is also not a competition! There are 10's of thousands of outdoor companies, clothing companies, footwear companies, you name it, they are using social media influencers to develop their brands. There is enough to go around! And there are brands out there that are suited for different people. You are unique, you bring a different skill set, mind set, and background than the person next to you. Take the time to find companies that fit; both for you and for them. As an influence marketer, it is your job to be the voice for your audience. They have chosen to follow along with your journey for who you are, not who you are wearing or what fly rod you have in your hand. Be authentic! Choose brands that add value, align with your personal values, and brands that build up your foundation.

 

These are simply my options, my thought process, and what has proven to work for me. It may not work for you and it may not be your style, and that is 100% ok!

Essentials for Late Season. How to Stay Warm!

The "Bitter Blast" swept through the majority of the East Coast, bringing temperatures in the area as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The cold "blast" shut down schools, businesses, and transportation, but it didn't stop hunters from braving the arctic like conditions. As a hunter, this is the weather we pray for, what we hope for all season; "extra" days off during season to fill our tags! While hunting in negative degree weather may not be ideal, some great products can help us stay warm & hunt longer on those extra cold days.

I've rounded up my essential gear for staying warm in the field this late season. & when all else fails, it is ok to call it an early day, head inside and enjoy a warm cup of coffee! Let's face it, we all get cold sometimes. 


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Outerwear: (Shell Layer)

The weather protection later. The purpose of an outer layer (shell layer) is to protect you from the elements; rain, snow, wind. During late season, waterproof/breathable shells with a layer of insulation are key. (Gore-Tex falls into this category.) Look for jackets/pants treated with DWR (durable water repellent) and taped seams. 

My Go To

Jacket: Kylie 3-in-1

Bibs: Kylie Convertible Pant/Bib 

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Layers:

Moisture Management & Insulation

Your next-to-skin layer helps regulate body temperature, moving perspiration away from skin. For the most warmth, merino wool, synthetic fabrics, or silk are recommended. 

Your insulation layer helps to retain heat by trapping air close to your body. Fleece or natural fibers are great for this middle layer.  

My GO TO

Base Layer Top: D-Tech Base Layer

Leggings: Capilene Thermal Weight

Middle Layer: Performance Fleece


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No Cold Toes Here

Let's face it. The minute our feet get cold, it is game over. First things is first. Once the temperature drops and moisture enters the air, it is time to put away your regular season hunting boots and break out the insulated Muck Boot (or similar product). Look for boots that are "heavy-duty", 100% waterproof, provide heat retention properties, and have a lining (the above pair is rated -60 to 30). Merino wool socks are a must! Do not, I repeat, do not skimp on good late season socks. Pick socks with a heavy cushion, this will absorb moisture and keep your toes warmer than standard socks. Personally, I size up my late season boots a 1/2 size, this allows for an "air pocket" in the toe of my boot; trapping in all the warm air, also allowing me to move my toes around with easy. 


This is a no brainer. The #1 product we all carry. HotHands. Find your style & stock up. I never leave the house without them. Two large "super warmer" go into each jacket pocket, it not only keeps heat close to my chest, but creates an oven for my hands when my gloves are off.

This is a no brainer. The #1 product we all carry. HotHands. Find your style & stock up. I never leave the house without them. Two large "super warmer" go into each jacket pocket, it not only keeps heat close to my chest, but creates an oven for my hands when my gloves are off.

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Accessories

The greatest invention ever? Buffs or neck gaiters. Whatever you call them, buy them. They are sold in almost every color & fabric combination. I prefer synthetics, fleece or wool depending on the situation. Every year I battle with finding functional gloves that keep my hands warm. I do shoot in gloves, so finding a pair that can easily be pulled off in a moments notice is key. I picked these gloves up at the start of the "bitter blast" and they have not disappointed. 

MY GO TO:

Buff: UV Realtree

Gloves: Shooting Gloves

We all wish for successful early seasons and ruts, but when faced with filling tags, we gear up and head out in late season. With some planning, the right gear, and a positive attitude, late season hunting can be tolerable & enjoyable. Good luck to everyone still trying to keep the tag soup at bay. Only a few more weeks, keep putting in those hours! 

Coming to Fruition. 2018 Goals

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him

At times it feels like I am an imposter, living a life that is foreign to me. I didn't grow up in a bait and bullet family, I didn't hunt with my dad, or spend hours in the woods learning calls as a kid. I did however choose to explore the "world" of hunting and fly fishing. It was an active decision to alter my life, for the better, and create a legacy of my own. When I started getting more involved in fly fishing and hunting, I did not have many female role models, or male role models for that matter. I had myself and some really nice people at the sporting goods store. If I wanted to know how to do something, I sought out my own answers. I can remember sitting on the floor in Barnes & Noble reading book after book (purchasing way too many of them), spending hours watching YouTube videos, searching Instagram for the girls who were providing informational content, and calling and asking companies for advice. That was my foundation. I built it. It was not an over night job, it took me years to feel comfortable with my abilities! Thankfully now I have the tools I need to teach others, run my business, hunt different species and be educated while doing so. & I surround myself with the smartest people in the industry. You know that ole' saying, you are the company you keep? Well I keep my tribe full of highly qualified badass people! 

I get asked time and time again, "How are you qualified to guide?" "What makes you a guide?" "How do I become a guide?" My answer to all of that? It is my FOUNDATION. I run my guide service and my outdoor career just like I would a Corporate 9-5. I have a development plan, I have career goals I set for myself, trainings I schedule to better myself, workshops I attend, and a whole list of other bullet points. And every state I work in requires that I provide documentation backing up the above (they check that you are capable of guiding). I have a Bachelors in Biology, I studied Trout Entomology, I went to a reputable guide school, I applied for my guide license, and I show up everyday at my Outfitters ready to be the best "employee" possible. Do I know everything about fly fishing or hunting? HECK NO! But then again who does? I have a passion for aiding people in the outdoors, teaching them how enjoy the outdoors on their own, and I keep them safe while doing it. And at the end of the day, that is what being a qualified guide is. 


fru·i·tion: noun. the point at which a plan or project is realized

2018 is all about seeing my plans come to fruition. Twenty-seventeen was a milestone, I made a few very good business decisions that enabled me to be where I am right now. While I cannot share them all just yet, I will be sharing more soon! Here are some of the goals for this year that I can share: 

Attend 4 Industry Related Shows as Staff

Teach 5+ Fly Fishing 101 Classes 

Build Programs for Fly Fishing & Hunting 

Help with Raise Em' Outdoors Camp

Get More Involved with My Local Conservation Community  

Guide 80 + Days of the Water 

Continue Growing my Firearms Knowledge 

Complete Grand Slam for Turkey 

Get Better at Tying My Own Flies

While that list is short, I ensure you, most of those will take up months if not the entire year to complete. I encourage everyone of you to make a list of goals for the year. Not resolutions, goals. Create a plan, make actionable step, and then work on them. You are in charge of your growth, your education, and your foundation. Lay the ground work & get to work!