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Speakers

Mac Brown of Mac Brown Fly Fishing & Guide School was the first full-time fly fishing guide in Western North Carolina. Educating fly anglers is Brown’s burning passion; he fulfills that role as an Associate Professor at Western Carolina University. He is the author of Casting Angles, and in 2017 was inducted into the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians Hall of Fame. When not on campus or on the stream, Brown teaches specialty casting classes all over the country. He’s a certified Master Casting Instructor with Fly Fishers International, and has served as a coach for multiple fly casting competitive anglers. Brown is on the pro-staff of Regal Vice, Simms, and Ross Reels, among other national brands. This year we are delighted to offer Brown’s “Advanced Fly Casting for Instructors” class. This specialty class will be held at the festival hotel on Friday, the day before the festival. This day-long class has very limited seating and includes a weekend pass to the festival. Brown will also be speaking at the festival.  To check availability for Mac’s classes click here.

Fly fishing guide and author George Daniel cut his teeth on some of the most technical streams in Pennsylvania. At only 16, his idol Joe Humphreys began instructing Daniel in the art of the cast. He earned a degree in natural resource management from Lock Haven University before qualifying for Fly Fishing Team USA. Daniel competed in six World Fly Fishing Championships and coached both the US Youth Team and Fly Fishing Team USA in four World Championships. He is a two-time US National Fly Fishing Champion and was ranked as high as fifth in the world. Daniel’s true passion is fly fishing education. He provides seminars to clubs and fly fishing shows all over the country (though he still logs more than 280 days a year on trout waters near and far). He is the author of two highly regarded, best-selling books as well as articles in Fly Fisherman, American Angler, and Fly Tyer. He is a pro-staffer for numerous companies including Orvis, Tacky Fly Boxes, FlyCraft Boats, Regal Vices, Competitive Angler Tying Supplies, Golden Trout Lanyads, and Loon. He is a fly designer and brand ambassador for Holly Flies. Don’t miss Daniel’s class on “Seductive Streamer Strategies.” To sign up for his specialty class on nyphing click here.

Pat Dorsey is the head guide and co-owner of the Blue Quill Angler fly shop in Evergreen, Colorado where he has guided for 30 years. He oversees and trains more than 25 guides, setting the standard for integrity and professionalism in the Blue Quill Angler guide operation. Dorsey also, maintains an online stream report that monitors stream flows and conditions for the Blue, Colorado, South Platte (Cheesman, Deckers, Spinney Mountain Ranch, and Elevenmile Canyon), North Fork of the South Platte, and Williams Fork Rivers. He is a Simms Ambassador, a member of the Sage Elite Pro Team, Fishpond Ambassador, Orvis Pro Team Member, Yeti Pro staff, and Scientific Anglers pro staff. Pat Dorsey is the Southwest Field Editor for Fly Fisherman Magazine. In 2005, Pat authored the book, A Fly Fishing Guide to the South Platte River, a complete how-to fly fishing manual for the entire South Platte River drainage. It encompasses a thorough look at each section of the river detailing the hatches and recommended fly patterns for each of the four seasons of the year. Don’t miss his specialty class Fly Fishing Tailwaters it has limited seating for availability check here.

As a child Kaitlin Groundwater chased smallmouth bass on a fly rod in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in International Relations (and minors in French and Chemistry), Groundwater went to work for Orvis teaching fly-casting and fly-tying classes; she also taught several on-the-water fly-fishing schools on techniques for fishing for trout and bass. Heading West, Groundwater managed Madison Valley Ranch–an Orvis-endorsed fly fishing lodge in Ennis, Montana–and explored Southwest Montana’s finest trout fisheries including the Madison, Yellowstone, Big Hole, and Missouri rivers. Since then Groundwater has returned to her fly fishing roots: She founded Hook Set Fly Fishing, through which she offers everything from beginner casting classes to fly-tying classes to guided trips on rivers and streams throughout the DC-MD-VA region. She is eager to share her knowledge of fly fishing and Virginia streams with anglers of all skill levels.

John Morgan has been devoted to fly fishing with bamboo rods for as long as he can remember. At the Atlanta architectural firm he worked for, Morgan met coworker Jeff Purdy–and immediately recognized another avid fly angler. Over many years of friendship, Morgan and Purdy have fished all over North America: Yellowstone and the Northwest for western cutthroat trout; the Southeast intercoastal waters for reds and sea trout; the Florida Keys and Mexico for bonefish, permit, and baby tarpon; and Canada for smallmouth bass, pike, and muskie. Both Morgan and Purdy fish with the high-quality custom rods they themselves have built, crafted especially for the fish they’re seeking. Together they run ARC Fly Rods located in Roswell, Georgia.

 

Tim O’Neill, who began fly fishing at ten, is the founder and owner of O’Neill’s Fly Fishing, an online community dedicated to all aspects of fly fishing culture. For three decades his passion for the quiet sport has carried him through many parts of the industry including retail sales, commercial fly tying, lecturing, seminar teaching, and guiding. He recently became the owner of the Nor-vise fly tying system. O’Neill’s fly fishing exploits have been published in Out and About Delaware and Delaware Today, and he’s also been a guest on NPR. O’Neill considers himself an educator first: he loves nothing better than to help others learn more about this great sport. When asked what is his favorite fish to catch, his response is always the same: “The one on the end of my tippet.” Don’t miss Tim’s class on Tactic’s for Steelhead. Attendees can reach O’Neill to discuss all things fly fishing at tim@oneillsflyfishing.com.

Rod-building might have begun as a hobby for Jeff Purdy–but that hobby quickly became a passion. Purdy has been repairing and crafting bamboo rods since 1990. For 30 years he and business partner and friend John Morgan have applied an architect’s commitment to detail to craft their elegant, high-quality, durable split cane fly rods. Located in historic Roswell, Georgia, ARC Fly Rods, which opened its doors in late 2019, offers professional instruction, rod-building workshops, and custom bamboo rods for sale. Purdy and Morgan take every opportunity to share their rod-building and fly-fishing expertise and love of the quiet sport with their customers.

Lauren Riggleman (@BabyHooch) is a Distiller & the General Manager for Silverback Distillery. A second generation distiller, Lauren received her Master’s Degree in Fermentation Sciences: Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. While spending a year in Scotland, Lauren became a member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and spent time researching the similarities and differences between Scottish and American distilling and brewing practices. Lauren loves to get involved with all things whiskey on social media, and has appeared on the ABV Network’s podcast The Bourbon Daily a number of times. She joined her mother in the ABV Network’s Hall of Fame as the 39th inductee. Lauren is also teaching the first ever General Certificate in Distilling Course starting at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville. She’s been busy of late having become not only a first time parent along with her husband Brant, but recently becoming a Master Distiller. You can check out Lauren’s Bourbon & Bass Bugs Class which has limited seating and is only offered on Saturday by clicking here.

At three years old Captain Scott Tuck was introduced to the salt; it has never left him. He has spent over 15,000 hours on a skiff helping others hunt down saltwater fish on the fly. Tuck has been an Orvis-Endorsed Guide in South Carolina’s Lowcountry since 2004, specifically with Bay Street Outfitters in Beaufort, South Carolina. He fishes from a Maverick 17 HPX-S Technical Poling Skiff and uses this same skiff to perform presentations and to share the knowledge he has obtained from time on his home waters as well as the many other saltwater destinations he has fished. Tuck runs hosted trips and also joins others on trips as an expert consultant on the group’s equipment, rigging, and preparation. Tuck has dedicated his career to guiding and teaching others to become better anglers through experience and education about the sport.

Retired Marine Chris Thompson is the Chairman of the Board for the Cape Lookout Albacore and Redfish Festival, which benefits Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF). Thompson serves his fellow Veterans through PHWFF. He is currently the Program Lead for the Camp Lejeune PHWFF Program. He fly fishes as much as he can and is a Temple Fork Outfitters Ambassador and member of Team Hobie Fishing. Thompson and his wife Kellie, his primary fishing partner, have five children. If you’re looking for an edge with false albacore on the fly, don’t miss Thompson’s class!

Although Jess Westbrook has been fly fishing since he was six years old, the quiet sport took on new importance in 2014 after he and his wife Laura welcomed their first child, son Kase. For the first time in his life, Westbrook began experiencing intense anxiety attacks; over a six-month period he lost 30 pounds, frequently missed work, and distanced himself from loved ones. “A friend I admired kept getting me out on the river, where I found that I forgot about everything but fishing,” Westbrook explains. At the same time, Westbrook began mentoring foster children through an organization at his church. In 2016, he and his wife partnered with Kaitlin Barnhart in Idaho, who was also taking children in foster care fly fishing. The three found that they fundamentally agreed on the power of the quiet sport in the often chaotic, rootless life of a foster child: the outdoors can provide an anchor and the river a home. The Mayfly Project “is based on the mayfly life cycle,” says Westbrook. “The kids go through different stages. Each stage is different and has its own rewards. These sessions, or stages, include fly-tying lessons, fly-casting instructions, and fishing outings. For the fifth and final session, the kids and mentor go out for a daylong fishing trip. We want to make the last session a big deal.”

Dusty Wissmath grew up in Missouri, started fly fishing when he was eight years old, and spent his formative years highly distracted by the sport. He began guiding and teaching fly fishing in the early seventies while working on a degree in Wildlife Biology at the University of Wyoming. Living in Jackson after dropping out of law school, he tied commercially for High Country Flies and guided the Snake, Green and New Fork Rivers and in Yellowstone National Park.In 1996 he founded the Dusty Wissmath Fly Fishing School & Guide Service in the hills near Mercersburg, PA where it quickly earned a reputation as a professional, yet easygoing fly fishing school. Dusty manages the TCO Fly Shop in Boiling Springs, PA where his school is now based.  As well as directing his own school, he is the lead instructor at the Orvis Fly Fishing School in Boiling Springs and an instructor at the Wulff School of Fly Fishing.  He guides in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Montana and hosts trips to fly fishing destinations worldwide. Dusty  is a Simms Guide Ambassador and a Pro Staff member of Scott Fly Rods, Hatch Reels, Hyde Drift Boats, ARC Fishing and a royalty tier for Holly Flies. His writing and photography can been found in several fly fishing publications. To sign up for Dusty’s Beginner Fly Casting Classes click here.  

Featured Fly Tyers

At eight years old, Braden Miller taught himself to tie flies by watching Youtube and Instagram videos. Now 14, Miller has traveled the country chasing fish with his TFO fly rods and hand-tied flies. Current fave prey: muskie! He has tied flies at the Fly Fishing Expo in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Lefty Kreh’s Tie Fest, and The International Fly Tyers Symposium. Miller was the youngest competitor in last summer’s iCast Iron Fly Competition in Orlando, and tied flies for the Project Healing Waters 2-Fly Tournament at Virginia’s Rose River Farms. This year he started a fishing club at his middle school, and with the support of his principal and science teacher, helped bring in Trout in the Classroom, which teaches students about fishing and conservation. Miller is TFO’s first Junior Ambassador, a Norvise team member, and an ambassador/pro-staff member for Fly Life Company, Flymen Fishing Co., District Angling, Fair Flies, and most recently, Catch Cam Nets. Follow Miller on Instagram at flyfisher0906, on Facebook as Braden.Miller.0906–and watch for his upcoming YouTube channel!

Allen Rupp has been tying flies for almost 30 years. Growing up around the District of Columbia, his first fish on the fly were Potomac River smallies. Rupp now owns and operates Fly On The Water, and while he lives in New York City, his flies have caught fish all over the world–from Belize, Chile, Canada, Mexico, and the UK to Colorado, Montana, New York, Wisconsin, and beyond. Lately saltwater fish–and especially snook–have been taking up most of his time. This is Rupp’s first appearance at the Texas Fly Fishing & Brew Festival, and we are pleased to have him. He’ll be tying flies and doing demos at this booth throughout the weekend.

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For more information, contact Beau Beasley at (703) 402-8338 or fishutopia@comcast.net