Welcome to our series called Trout Bum of the Week,” in which we highlight some of the folks living the good life. . .of a sort. (See the bottom of this post for a link to the previous installments.) Most of the subjects are guides who have turned their passion into a vocation, spending their time in an outdoor “office” that may include a drift boat, gorgeous mountain scenery, and crystal clear water. Others do have day jobs but manage to spend every other available minute on the water with a fly rod in hand. Whether you aspire to one lifestyle or the other, it’s illuminating to explore the different paths these men and women have taken on their way to achieving “trout bum” status.
Sara Serrata is a passionate fly fisher, mother, and preschool teacher. She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, but she now lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Northern California. Sara is an ambassador for Brown Folks Fishing, a collective that seeks to cultivate the visibility, representation, and inclusion of people of color in fishing and its industry.
1. When did you start fly fishing?
About 2.5 years ago, I had conventionally fished for about 3 years before that.
2. What’s your favorite water?
The Truckee River in Northern California.
3. What’s your favorite species to chase with a fly rod?
My favorite fish are brown trout, although they elude me on a pretty regular basis.
4. What’s your most memorable fly fishing moment?
Catching a tiger trout in Utah last summer. My friends and I had been camping out and fishing without luck for a couple days. The tigers weren’t shy; they were cruising right in front of us. The air was so dry and the heat was intense. A couple hours before we left for the airport I stripped a Rusty Squirrel Leech slower than I had ever tried in my life. And it worked! A tiger turned, took my fly, and my heart leapt. I could hardly speak until that fish was in the net. I tend to go quiet when I’m fighting a good fish, and I wanted this one so badly. I never want to jinx myself by exclaiming my excitement. I’ll never forget that day, and being surrounded by three fly-fishing women I respect so much was the icing on the cake.
5. What’s your most forgettable fly fishing moment?
I’d love to forget my ignorance of fish-handling in the beginning of my fishing life–gripping too hard, not keeping fish wet properly, and so on.
6. What do you love most about fly fishing?
Fly fishing is simultaneously the most meditative and exciting event in one–combining the beauty and serenity of nature, the sense of accomplishment of tricking these fish into coming out to play, and the joyful surprise with every catch. It’s like Christmas morning every time I go out on the water.
7. What is your favorite piece of gear?
I’m a big fan of being dry and warm, so I’ll go with my waders.
8. What’s your go-to fly when nothing else is working?
A tiny red zebra midge with gold wire.
9. What was your favorite fly fishing trip?
I absolutely have loved all my trips, but fishing for stripers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was something I haven’t stopped wanting to replicate.
10. How do you define the difference between someone who loves fly fishing and a true trout bum?
There are people who love fly fishing and are very accomplished, but who at some point lost their excitement and can’t appreciate a fish unless it’s over 22 inches. A trout bum, to me, lives to fish, thinks and dreams about the trout, and needs to feel a fish on the line to the point where they might compromise socializing and employment to be on the water.