Jeff Currier is an active member of the Scientific Anglers, Ross Product and Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures Professional Advisory Team as well as a fly fishing lecturer and well known fish artist and author. He is constantly traveling and developing techniques for catching the most exotic fish imaginable in places where even the most avid adventurer refuses to go. He is also an IGFA World Record holder and National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame Record holder who has fished in over forty-five countries and caught over 300 species of fish on the fly. His articles, photographs and artwork have graced the pages of magazines, catalogs, brochures and books. Jeff is also a featured angler in the popular fly fishing movies made by Confluence Films, Connect and Waypoints.
1) When did you start fly-fishing? Can you tell us about your memories from those times? I started fly fishing at the early age of 7. It was convenient for me. Before I was born, my grandfather owned an outdoor store and he was an Orvis dealer. When I came along, our basement was full of fly rods and reels left over from after he closed his store. My dad took me worm fishing when I was a mere 3 for sunfish. I had lots of action with those little fish and my interest in fishing blossomed. When I was 6 I was worm fishing for trout in the front of our canoe. Dad was in back with his fly rod and caught way more fish than I did. That was it. Next summer I pulled my first fly rod out from the basement and taught myself how to fly fish on the local warm water species near our Massachusetts home.
2) How did your career in fly-fishing begin?Let’s just say I wasn’t made to be an “Office Boy”. Despite my dad wishing I was, he knew too I wasn’t office job material and actually encouraged me to get a job in a fly shop near Yellowstone. He encouraged this for two reasons. I think first that he knew if I lived near Yellowstone he’d have a place to stay when he came out to fish. And of course he knew how much I loved to fly fish. I started at the bottom of the barrel at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. First I sold fishing licenses and told folks where to go fishing. Then I moved up to selling rods and reels and giving casting lessons. I just kept moving along and went as far as being a guide. But guiding wasn’t what I expected. I never fished enough as a guide and soon learned that managing the fly shop was best. I managed the Jack Dennis Fly Shop from 1992 until 2009. My boss and shop owner, Jack Dennis, fly fished all over the world and made a living speaking about fly fishing. It looked like a lot of fun so I watched and learned. Following Jack’s footsteps started very very slowly. But like anything, if you put your heart into your dream, eventually it can happen. Now look. I’m so busy I can’t believe it.
3) Did you ever consider not working in the fly-fishing industry?
No. I’m truly stubborn.
4) You have been travelling all over the world for many years because of fly-fishing.
A. What are the strangest spots where you have caught fish at?
The strangest place I catch fish are the manmade canals around Phoenix, Arizona. I fish grass carp (white Amur) here amongst traffic and pollution. The fish are big and fight hard. Its amazing you can catch fish in such a place!
B. Are there any places you would like to go back to every year?
Man, a lot of places. I like most and would love to go every year to all of them. But like most of us I don’t have near enough money or time. If I had to pick three, that’s tough but let’s go with the Amazon, Christmas Island and Tanzania.
C. Which species were the most surprising to you?
Fish have worked me over enough that I’m no longer surprised but rather “always prepared”. But obviously I used to be surprised before my present experience. My most memorable ass whipping from a fish was a 13lb cubera snapper in Belize. He came out of nowhere and crushed my popper then proceeded to pull so hard that our entire skiff got dragged and smashed into the mangroves. That was on my 10-weight! And yes, we got the fish thanks to a guide that swam for him.
D. Could you tell us some of your best memories from your trips? Any risky or funny situation that you recall?
When you’ve traveled as much as I have there are numerous stories and experiences that are both funny and frightening. The most memorable near horrific situation is easy. It came when I was within one step of being eaten by a Bengal tiger. It’s a long but incredible story. I have to tell it over beers because honestly it terrifies me every time I relive the experience. You can read the short version on my website - http://www.jeffcurrier.com/wp-content/articles/pre... Oh, and by the way, before meeting the tiger that day, I landed a world record golden mahseer. This was the most amazing fishing day of my life and it nearly ended!
5) You have fished all kinds of waters with different techniques, but is there a particular river or technique you prefer?
Down and across dry fly fishing to huge selective rising rainbows on the Henry’s Fork.
6) What are your next plans? Do you have spots and species in your bucket list?
As you know I’m headed for Africa this week. I’m hosting clients for tigerfish. As for a personal trip, my next big one will be to the Red Sea in Sudan with my South African friends. It may not sound like much but I’m after the Indian Ocean triggerfish. I love catching the triggers of the Atlantic Ocean. They are tough to fool, hard to land and spectacular to look at. The Indian Ocean triggers are possibly more beautiful. I leave on this trip in March. Keep an eye on my blog to see if we succeed.
7) Apart from catching fish, what do you enjoy the most about your job?
Definitely, meeting people. I love to chat with nice folks and I especially enjoy listening to their personal fishing problems and helping them solve them. I like to help others catch more fish.
8) How do you envision the future of this sport?
I expect fly fishing to continue to grow at a steady pace. While many anglers fear this means more crowded waters, I think that it means people will be more creative. I expect the growth to appear more with chasing warmwater species and in the salt.
9) As a final point, what does fly-fishing mean for you?
Fly fishing means a life of being greatly entertained in the outdoors. Its challenging therefore continues to give me a reason to go. There’s a never ending list of new places to experience along with returning to my favorite places. And there will always be a new species to catch unless I live to be a 1000!