This month’s Instagram Takeover features Virginia-based fly fisherman, photographer and all around outdoorsman Kyle LaFerriere. Kyle has taken a slightly different approach to his takeover, using his photos to tell a story about how he found himself immersed in the world of fly fishing and the friendship that ensued. Read on!
Dinner with friends was something that my wife and I did every Thursday this past year. We were always excited for newcomers, but when one showed up and said he liked to fish, I got really excited.
Zach and his fiance had just moved from Colorado where he spent the last three years as a fly fishing guide. I quickly bombarded him with questions, told him about the shad fishing in Richmond and how it was just about to get going. I asked him if he wanted to fish in two days, told him where I would be at 6am and that I was going to take photos of him. I explained it would be cold and maybe miserable, but we would catch fish. To my surprise, he showed up and our friendship began.
Fly fishing was always something I adored from afar. I hoped to someday be good at it and dreamed of being an old man teaching my grandson how to cast a fly rod. I had a few friends that did it, but for some reason I stayed comfortable with a spinning rod.
When @Zjmadison spoke of a place nestled up in the mountains where a dirt road led you to native brook trout in steams as wide as a school bus, I was a bit skeptical, but I got in the car and drove to the Radian River. Zach had a fly rod ready for me and was willing to teach me his ways. I remember thinking, “Well, if we don’t catch any fish… at least we can hangout in the woods and be outside.”
During our trip to the Radian River, I was soon humbled by my early thoughts of doubt, toes in the icy cold water and watching @zjmadison create art with a fly rod. It was something I had never seen. You could say I was mesmerized. The sun began to peer through the secluded forest around us and it all began.
The perfectly placed fly in front of a small waterfall was the needed temptation for our first Brookie. An explosion of water and a hook of the fish. Watching Zach fight this fish was like watching an eight year old on Christmas morning. You could see the joy written on his face. He pulled this gorgeous spotted fish above the water and said, “Im Healed.”
I was a bit confused about his statement, but soon remembered that his previous life in Colorado had consisted of fishing 6 days a week for 8 hours a day. This lifestyle was engrained in him. These experiences were something that he missed dearly. Later that night under a campfire I asked him why he left life of being a guide in exchange for a job behind a desk. He softly answered, “Theres more to life than catching fish. I can’t do that forever, I wanted to settle down and begin a new life. Now I’m in Richmond catching fish with you.”
When my wife told me she was leaving for a girls weekend to the beach with @Zjmadison’s fiance, I quickly knew what that meant for my weekend. I had to call Zach.We left at 3:30am in hopes of receiving 2 of 4 permits to fish Beaver Creek. We missed getting the permits by minutes, but knew of a spot on the near by Mossy Creek, where we could walk around on farm land, get pestered by cows and eventually get to the water. “Don’t worry though, we will still catch fish,” he said. After our first excursion on the Rapidan River, I quickly learned not to doubt him and his ideas. Zach was right again. We were pestered by cows while pulling brown trout from the spring fed creek all day. Made the 3:30am wake up call well worth it.
In the summer months, during the lull of trout fishing, we started a Wednesday night fishing group. We darted around the James River, that runs straight through Richmond, VA, in hopes of finding smallmouth.
We were all successful, Zach still catching the biggest fish, but I learned that it’s not always just about the fishing. The memories that I shared with a friend who I have only known for 6 months and the fishing summer of 2016 will be engrained in my head. @Zjmadison not only pushes me to catch better fish, but he pushes me to be a better man. We share the struggles and joyous times of our everyday life on and off the water.
Through the camera lens and from the fly rod, I do things outside to see and experience beauty in nature, but I also do these things to experience friendships and create lasting memories to one day pass on to my kids and theirs.