My name is Tessa Shetter, “Tess” for short!
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
I am in Alaska! I was born in Anchorage, grew up in Wasilla, and now back in Anchorage for college. I will be fishing all over Alaska’s rivers and creeks this upcoming year. We recently added a flat bottom boat as well as a drift boat to our family, so we will have plenty of access to different waters! Kory and I also have a passion for filming and photography, so you’ll be able to watch all the places we will go!
What river(s) and lake(s) do you guide/fish?
Too many to list! Alaska has thousands of rivers and creeks, and since we now have a boat, we have the ability to do even more exploring!
How long have you been guiding/fly fishing?
I have been fishing all my life, (I caught my first silver salmon when I was 3 years old), but started getting into fly fishing specifically when I was 16 years old.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
My dad and my boyfriend (Kory Robbins) both already had a passion for fly fishing, so I was able to pick it up from them! It definitely was a challenge at first, but they were excited for me to start fly fishing, so they both contributed to help me learn. My dad’s house has a big backyard, so he would set up hula-hoops and help me practice casting!
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
It’s an escape for me. I love being outside, I love being near water, and I love the feeling of success when I land a fish. It helps relieve stress and nerves, and it just overall makes me very happy. I’m still very young and have a lot to learn about fly fishing, but the great thing about fly fishing is that the learning never stops. There is always room for improvement, and you’ll always have the challenge of figuring out what fly is going to work that day.
If you own and use a Rod Vault, what do you like about you Rod Vault?
I am so excited to say that I DO own a rod vault! Well, it’s not exactly made yet or in my possession, but it will be soon! My super awesome boyfriend surprised me with one for Christmas, and I CANNOT wait to get it set up!!
As a woman guide/fly angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a guide/angler?
When I started fly fishing, I honestly thought it was just a cool way to catch fish. I watched my dad and boyfriend do it, and thought, why not? Sure, it is a challenging form of fishing, but anyone can learn if they put in the effort, male or female. If you have a passion for something, don’t left demographics and stereotypes stop you from doing what you love, nobody should be intimidated by their own passion.
Has the fact you’re a woman ever been an issue (such as them hitting on you or maybe talking down to you?) If so how did you deal with it/them?
In person – no. Over social media – all the time. People are usually respectful when talking/fishing with me in person. However, when a person has the security to hide behind a screen, then that’s when the issues arise. I’ve had fake profiles created about me, Instagram posts direction towards me, nasty comments, creepy DMs from people who say they want to marry me, and the list goes on. The great thing about social media is that there is a block button and a delete button! Also, my favorite thing to do is turn off my phone and ignore the opinions. The worst thing to do is get wrapped up in the drama (social media fly fishing has drama?!) and not give into the BS. That is not what fly fishing is about!
Do you think being a woman gives you a different perspective as an angler/guide? If so, how?
I think everybody has their own reasons to fish, both male and female. I absolutely love to fish; it truly is a passion of mine. However, I also have a life outside of fishing. I can put it aside when need be and not let it be a distraction. I’m sure there are hardcore anglers out there where fishing really is what their life revolves around, and more power to them. But for me, there are times where I need to direct my focus elsewhere, and that’s okay. Fishing will always be there for when I’m ready.
Best catch of all time?
I have so many! So far, my favorite catch has been a beautiful 28” steelhead, which I’m hoping to top this upcoming year!
What’s your “Dream Trip”?
My “Dream Trip” would be to fish EVERYWHERE! But, since I’m an extremely poor college student, I unfortunately cannot afford a trip to everywhere. So currently, I have my heart set on catching a brown trout. Luckily, Kory has lots of family in Utah, and we also have the great people of MTN OPS to guide us there! (Thanks Matt!)
I’ve only really been able to fish in Alaska (poor college student, remember?) so I guess the best place I have fished would be in Alaska! In all seriousness, I have experienced some insane fishing up here. Kory and I went on our daily float trip this summer, and ended up catching over 60 fish on that single float. We ended up beating that record a couple weeks later by catching about 84 fish in a day. So, I’m okay with the fact that Alaska is where most, if not all, my experience covers.
How do people get hold of you for guiding / sponsorship?
Email is the best way, but I also check my social media messages as well!
@tessashetter – Instagram, twitter