Fishing has long lent itself to imparting philosophical parallels and metaphorical life lessons. But these homespun platitudes can, to be honest, tend to get a little timeworn and cliche. 

My guest today breathes new life into what fishing, specifically fly fishing, has to teach anglers and non-anglers alike, while also giving us a look inside the skill, fun, and sensibilities of this sport. His name is David Coggins, and he’s a travel and style writer, as well as the author of The Optimist: A Case for the Fly Fishing Life. David and I discuss the different types of fly fishing that exist, and what they say about your personality, stage in life, and how we all choose the way we’re going to do something. We then discuss the way that pursuits like fly fishing are not just about their mechanics, but the experience as a whole, which includes things like eating hash browns at a diner in Montana. We talk about the importance of mentors, and David’s experience with two old guys who showed him the fly fishing ropes. We then get into why men love getting ready for something as much as actually doing it, before delving into the tension between wanting to nab a fish, and being okay when you don’t, and how part of growing up is learning how to care, but not care. We end our conversation with the best route for getting into the fly fishing life, and how you can get started in a way that’s both affordable and close to home.

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Show Highlights

What’s so appealing about fly fishing, especially if it’s more inefficient?How someone’s approach to fishing changes as their life changesCheating vs. the “old” ways Why fishing is more than just fishing (and why it lends itself so well to metaphor) The joys of mentorship and teaching someone new skills Why getting ready for something is as fun as the thing itself How gear can reveal your fishing principles Why fishing is really about coming to terms with failure What fly fishing can bring to your relationships What David learned from a pilgrimage to England 

Resources/Articles/People Mentioned in Podcast

My first interview with David about men and style My second interview with David about modern etiquetteHow to Make a Fishing Hook Out of a Can TabHow to Get Started About Fly FishingTrout Fishing, Boredom, and the Meaning of LifeOutfitted & Equipped: Fly Fishing OutingA River Runs Through ItWant People to Hear Your Message? Let Them Overhear ItA Lesson From Taft and TR on Pursuing a Life You Like


Connect With David

David’s website 

David on Twitter

David on Instagram 

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