Welcome to our series called “Trout Bum of the Week,” in which we highlight some of the guys 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.
Grant Bench guides for Falcon’s Ledge, in Altamont, Utah, and he also ties flies under the name Fly Ninja. He has appeared on this blog several times, so it’s great to finally get a full profile of the man.
1. When did you start fly fishing?
I started flyfishing at the age of 16. A buddy showed me how to roll-cast a balsa popper along the cattails of a local farm pond, and instantly I was enthralled.
2. What’s your favorite water?
My favorite piece of water is one where natives roam, miles away from any concrete raceways, wi-fi, or cell towers.
3. What’s your favorite species to chase with a fly rod and why?
Cutthroats. They are deliberate, intentional, and forgiving.
4. What’s your most memorable fly-fishing moment?
Teaching my son, G2, how to cast, tie knots, select a fly, and maintain proper thread tension at the vise.
5. What’s your most forgettable fly-fishing moment?
[Editor’s note: this story involves bad food, intestinal distress, and a Port-A-Potty at a train station in the Carpathian Mountain range of Western Ukraine. Trust me: you don’t wanna know.]
6. What do you love most about fly fishing?
Like any other art form, the artist has his own particular style, and style can’t be learned or duplicated. I love that each and every angler is unique in his/her own way. . .just like fish.
7. What’s your favorite piece of gear and why?
My favorite piece of gear is anything from the Trout Bum collection because it’s just so golldurn comfortable. . .or my Whiting capes.
8. What’s your go-to fly when nothing else is working?
Simple Soft Hackles.
9. What was your favorite fly-fishing trip?
They’re all a blur at this point. If I had to pin one of those moments down, it would be catching an Arctic grayling during my first float down the Big Hole River.
10. How do you define the difference between someone who loves fly fishing and a true trout bum?
- If you have ever skipped paying your cell phone bill because you want a few of those new Tacky Boxes, you might be a trout bum.
- If you have ever flossed your teeth with 5x (or 4x or 3x, hey I don’t judge) you might be a trout bum.
- If you’ve ever spent a week straight in your waders, you might be a trout bum.
- If you’ve ever found a tungsten bead in your belly button, you might be a trout bum.
- Non-slip mono loop is usually a good tell-tale sign of a trout bum.
- If your reel collection is worth more than your 401k, you might be a trout bum.
- If you’ve ever had to shamelessly ask for directions to “Nunya Creek” because you can’t find it on the map, you’re not a trout bum.
- If you’ve ever blown part of your student loan to get that hot new 3-weight, you might be a trout bum.
- If you’ve ever sold flies out of the back of your vehicle to pay for beer, you might be a trout bum.
- If you’ve ever tipped your waitress with a half-used spool of flouro, you might be a trout bum.
- If you’ve ever been saved from homelessness by marriage, you might be a trout bum.