Your name or any nicknames you have?
I don’t really have any nicknames, but, most people refer to me by last name (Purdy). I guess it stuck throughout running track and CC in high school and snowboarding in college.
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
Unfortunately, this year, Ill be sticking home and whatever I can drive too. I’ve had to use all my vacation days for other people getting married. I am hoping in 2018 to get up to Montana again, and the PNW some. I want to shoot big and try for AK or somewhere tropical, but we will see about that.
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
Im for sure a CO boy. Love hitting up all kinds of water in the state. Ark, Blue, RMNP, Gunni/Taylor/East, the Pan just to name a few rivers. Closer to home -Bear Creek, Sloan’s Butthole, Rocky Mtn. Arsenal. Some favorite out of states are the Mo, Kootenai River, Bitterroot. This list can really go on & on.
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I’ve been fishing for about 6 years now, maybe 7. So lets call it 6.75 years. I don’t guide, but its for sure my dream job, some day hopefully.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
I got into fishing my senior year at Western State. My lease ended a few weeks before school let out and I moved out. So I was couch surfing and living out of my car and crashing at some friends’ house when they heard about a new fishing spot. A few of them guided up there, I think some are still guiding. But we all snowboarded and skated together too, I hadn’t started to fish until soon after this. At this point I think I held a fly rod once before, and had no fishing gear. I did have camping stuff and backpacking gear, so they asked, and I joined. We had to backpack in, and there was “no” trail. There were carvings in the trees that marked the way, total fisherman’s tail trail kind of deal. Right when you were feeling lost and looking for the next carving its like it would appear and guide you along the way. It still is one of the best fishing trips I have ever been on. It took us to a backcountry meandering stream, nothing bigger than like 10” maybe, primarily brookies and cutthroat. This was an all about the journey fishing trip though, and I thank those dudes for inviting me. Pun not intended, but that trip hooked me.
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
Why do I fly fish? This is seriously the hardest question anyone can ask a fisher person (in my opinion). I would have to say the connection you get with nature. Even days out getting skunked or catching “Nemo” sized fish – any day going out and being outside is a good day. The best is catching fish on your flies, just knowing you spent the time and paid enough attention to detail and was able to create something made of fluff and feathers to fool something totally wild in trying to eat it. Then the explosive feeling at the end of your line, its such a indescribable feeling. Yes there are adjectives you can place with it, but when it comes down to it, it so hard to describe.
If you own and use a Rod Vault, what do you like about you Rod Vault?
Hands down, convenience. You could say I’m somewhat competitive, so when I roll up to pond, river, trail, whatever. I like to be the first one there. If Im not, I sure as hell am going to be the first on the water. I love rigging up the night before and knowing I can get out of my car and the only thing I need to do is put on waders (if its winter) or just grab and go. It’s a thing of beauty.
What is a piece of advice you want to give to other anglers or a tip/trick that has helped you grow as an angler?
Have a respect for others fishing. Lately I’ve been going out and its like everyone seems to be doing it, that’s great, its fun. But respect others and their space, I view it as common courtesy. But so many times any more I’ll be catching fish and all of sudden there are people up my elbows throwing in the same hole. Yeah you want to catch fish too, but come on. I know Ive walked up to a hole, and someone beat me there and slaying it. As bad as I want that spot or area, thats how it is sometimes. You just have to move on and try later or another day. Don’t be afraid to explore new areas if someone is in “your” hole or a favorite spot. Don’t be a dick!
Who has influenced you most as an angler?
I definitely owe the start of my fishing to some college buddies, Christian Hill, Blake Hunter, Matt & Wordson Boughton. We all did that “fisherman’s tale trail” trip in college. Now I fish with a different group of friends, my little sister Megan and her soon to be husband Chris, my buddies Beef, Ryan and Robbie. But one of the things I love about fishing is the people it connects you with, everyone I have fished with has helped or influenced me in their own unique way. Really I owe a lot to my soon to be wife, Alexis. She puts up me getting her out and taking her to some challenging places, usually in crappy weather. Or just letting me go out for the day or days on end. I love her for her patience and understanding of this passion of mine.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
You mean other than my rod vault? 🙂 Even, though I’ve had mine awhile now. Really the latest toy I have gotten is my Fishpond Castaway Roll Top bag – I use it as a lens bag for work, and going out and shooting other people fishing, or other companies fishing products – and its freakin sweet! Also loving my ultra light durable Fishpond Nomad Mid-Length net. Have put some decent sized fish into it. Hoping to continue to do so.
What is your favorite fly? (To tie, or catch fish on?
I guess it depends on the season or the season I am tying for that night. But I have always had a respect and love for catching fish on dry flies. Something about it just feels so much more “classic” fly fishing and at times that much more rewarding. One fly I’ve been spending time at the vise practicing has been Stimulators, and working on variations of the pattern to see what works well around here.
Best catch of all time?
When it happens I’ll let you know, there’s been a lot of good fish though, don’t get me wrong.
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
I’m torn on a dream trip. I have a few places I wish I could get too for sure. Alaska has always been a dream of mine, I would love to hit up a Bristol Bay (life is fine without a mine) Salmon run, or getting into some Kings. Another one I would love is to get down to Bolivia or Argentina/Patagonia for Golden Dorado. Finally, I know I need to catch a Tarpon before I die. Just something about how prehistoric they look, and the power! I can’t even imagine the skill and precision it must take.
What are some of the best places you’ve been fishing?
I’m totally a home body, I love fishing Colorado. Other than home, I would say, Montana. I have lots of family in MT and there is so much access! It’s a gorgeous state and so much fun to visit.
How do people follow you on social media or reach you?
Give me a Instagram follow @purdyjustin.co
Justin’s Cover photo was by Bailey Batchelor