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A common question I get asked is "How did you get into doing this?" It's a good question. I doubt anyone sets out to be a fly fishing guide and especially not for this long. I entered the business of fly fishing building bamboo fly rods. First in my home, and then in the back room of a friend's fly shop  in Gatlinburg , TN.  The idea being, I would help run the shop and build rods when it was slow, which it was most of the time in the beginning. The following Summer the movie " A River Runs Through It " debuted and interest in fly fishing boomed! I began guiding wade trips in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and quickly realized standing ankle deep in bamboo shavings in a dark back room was not for me. I belonged on the water in the pursuit of trout! I discovered that watching other anglers catch their first, or largest trout, was more thrilling than catching them myself. I was hooked immediately,   and I soon had the distinct feeling this is what I was truly meant to do.

Later my friend sold the shop. Another  guide  and  myself became partners in Clinch River Outfitters, offering float trips on the Clinch River near my home in Andersonville , TN.  We operated as Clinch River Outfitters for almost twenty years, employed numerous guides, and were the first commercial outfitters on both the Clinch and Holston Rivers

These days it's mainly just me, and a couple of close friends,  and that's the way I like it.. one boat, one day at a time.  My wife Robin  and I still make our home in Andersonville , Tn. My daughter Alex is nearby at the University of Tennessee,  pursuing a graduate degree in chemistry. And I still fish on my days off.



I frankly don't make much of a living, but I make a hell of a life.

                       -Jack Gartside~

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