Joshua Hutchins is a master of an ancient and beautiful art. This deadly pastime, once crucial for the very survival of our species, takes him deep into some of the most wild, rugged and extreme environments on the planet. To succeed he has to be equal parts, hunter, strategist, adventurer and craftsman. So what is this ultimate intense extreme sport?
Naked BASE Jump Knife Fighting. Fishing. That’s right. Fishing.
“Many people think about ‘fishing’ as something boring and slow – throw your bait in and wait – but fly fishing is so much more. Fly fishing requires you to hunt the fish, strategize, plan and then cast with meticulous precision… It involves mental and technical skill and, when the fish finally comes up to feed on your fly, it’s an exhilarating experience.”- JH
Joshy is a total legend, one of the best blokes you’ll ever meet, and now, through his new business ‘Aussie Fly Fisher‘, you too can taste the exhilaration and share in his passion…
DSM: What even is fly fishing, and how’d you get into it originally?
JH: Fly fishing is a type of fishing that uses an artificial fly (not a real one as some people think!) in the hope of fooling and ultimately catching, a fish. It’s often referred to as an art form due to the intricacy of the hand-tied flies and complexity of the cast.
Fly fishing initially targeted fish such as trout, grayling and salmon, but is now used all over the world for just about every fish species.
The main difference between fly fishing and conventional fishing is the type of equipment. Fly fishing uses a heavily weighted line and particular types of rods to cast a practically weightless fly and present it to the fish.
I was first shown a fly rod when I was 13 by a Scottish mate of my Grandfathers’ on the Ovens River in Victoria. I asked my parents for a fly fishing kit the following Christmas and, with an already unhealthy obsession for fishing, the rest was history.
DSM: What do you love about it and why do you reckon people are jumping on board with Aussie Fly Fisher in such a big way?
JH: Many people think about ‘fishing’ as something boring and slow – throw your bait in and wait – but fly fishing is so much more. Fly fishing requires you to hunt the fish, strategize, plan and then cast with meticulous precision. The sport demands a perfect imitation of a fish’s natural feeding environment in order to coax them into thinking it’s an ordinary bug floating towards them, ready for their dinner. It involves mental and technical skill and when the fish finally comes up to feed on your fly, it’s an exhilarating experience. But fly fishing is about more than just the fish. Fly fishing has taken me to so many beautiful places, whether it was fishing a highland lake in Bolivia or walking the backcountry of New Zealand.
“The best fly fishing always seems to be in the world’s most beautiful locations!”
When I am packing for a trip, I am thinking about the fish I might catch, but I am also dreaming of the whole adventure – the mountains, the rivers, the crackling camp fire, the stars, the fresh air. I have always been a sucker for the outdoors and fly fishing satisfies that in such a huge way.
“With Aussie Fly Fisher (AFF) I’m just there to share the adventure and tell the story. I am not trying to push that you need to be an absolute ‘gun fish-catcher’ to have a good time – you just need to be up for the experience.”
And I think that’s why people are digging it. In the same way, when I am having a low day in the office, seeing someone else’s adventure inspires me to get outside and enjoy life!
AFF started out simply sharing images through social media and it has grown from there. From the very beginning, I made sure I was uploading new, original content every day and was sharing as much knowledge, tips and fishing locations as I could. I think people are looking for content and individuals who are positive, authentic and willing to help. I have a genuine passion for other people to enjoy fly fishing as much as I do, and I think (and hope) that comes across
DSM: Is it mean to the fishies?
Fly fisherman are generally the most conscious about conserving the environment as well as the fish they catch. I am personally committed to catch and release, and we do our best to return any fish we catch unharmed. Because of this I use barbless hooks, and ensure the fish is kept in the water as much as possible. This is especially important for trout – poor handling can easily kill the fish.
‘Basically, I want future generations to enjoy the sport as much as I do, so I need to ensure the fish, and their environment are protected.’
DSM: How’d you make the jump from taking something from a fun hobby to a successful business?
JH: The transition from hobby to business certainly wasn’t on purpose. After creating the AFF social media pages, things just seemed to grow quickly. People started following the page, and the online community grew. I noticed that people weren’t just liking the photos but they were asking for information, tips and advice.
My guiding business started after followers kept asking if I could take them on guided fishing trips or teach them how to fly fish. Although I knew the need was there, it wasn’t an easy transition. It can be much easier catching fish yourself, than having to teach someone else! Australia has also experienced some very dry seasons over the last few years, which makes the fishing tougher. But I work hard to locate fish for my clients and in general we have had excellent results. And with these catches being promoted on my site, the word of mouth continues to grow.
DSM: What’s the plan for the future for AFF?
JH: My other passion is outdoor and fishing photography. I have so many destinations on my bucket list that I want to fish, photograph and then share the stories.
Along with my local teaching and guiding of fly fishing I am also planning to take people on epic international adventures and share some of the things I’ve experienced. In 2015 I’m hosting fishing trips to New Zealand, Patagonia and Mongolia. Who knows where we will go next, I’ll just take it as it comes and invite others along for the ride.
“Although fly fishing is what I love, I know it’s not the only thing out there. But you’ve got to find your thing.
I can’t handle when people don’t have a passion or hobby – and I don’t think watching TV or going shopping is a hobby. I want to live my life doing things I enjoy; for me that’s fly fishing, for others that’s something else. You just have to find that something.
Ultimately I think adventure is when you leave your comfort zone – and that’s where I want to live!”
Want to give it a shot? Contact Mr Hutchins himself through Aussie Fly Fisher!