Tight lines, people! Welcome to this week's Front Porch Musings.Your source for real hardnose, in-your-face journalism that is constantly on the edge of winning a Pulitzer.
Like everyone else, when we haven't been "working" from home, we've been consuming content on rhymes-with-Setflicks or rhymes-with-Mooloo [no free ads] like Dennis Rodman eats up loose balls in the paint. But if you're into fishing in the western reaches of our home state, North Carolina, then you've most likely watched a minute or hundred of Wild Fly, YouTube's fastest-growing fly fishing content creator.
We got a quick chance to connect with one solid dude: Scottie Finanger, the mastermind behind and in front of the camera for Wild Fly. We just call him the Trout Whisperer. So he'll probably just ramble off a lot of secret spots in this edition of FPM. Let's get right to it then:
Yo, buddy! Glad you can take a few minutes away to chat with me on the backend of what is probably an epic trip to somewhere we wish we could go to right now and spit some wisdom on one of our favorite past times. So, as promised, give us your most productive and secret fishing spot in NC?
Haha, that’s probably the most asked question I get. I rarely share where I’m fishing and that’s really because I want to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and try to explore new areas on their own. Obviously, some guidance always helps but from experience, I have found that it’s much more rewarding to research, explore and try out new rivers when you have to seek it out by yourself or with some friends. Sure, you’re gonna have days where a new river isn’t what you expected and you may get skunked but it’s all part of the process and you gotta known that going in.
No? Okay, understandable. We'll circle back on that one.
Give us a little background and how you ended up starting with Wild Fly and making fishing videos?
Well, back in 2013 my cousins and I were really starting to get into fly fishing and we wanted to have somewhere that we could post about our fishing adventures. We somehow came up with the name ‘Wild Fly Productions’ and it just stuck. We were very naive about the whole social media thing but we just started posting away and not thinking too much about it. Soon I started bringing my mom’s camera along, that she filmed my basketball games with, and we put together a few little videos (that are still on YouTube). It was simple but so much fun! I was infatuated with the process of piecing together a film and it really struck a chord in me that sparked my love for filmmaking. Throughout high school, I would bring along a camera and make these little fly fishing movies that we would publish on YouTube. Slowly but surely, we started to get a few people to follow along and with each video, we put out, I learned more and more about this whole filming thing. I ended up attending Appalachian State, and over the last 4 years, I have been able to grow Wild Fly into what it is today. Fortunately for me, Boone has endless amounts of trout water right in its backyard so throughout college I was able to do a ton of fishing and in turn, make more videos. I think a common misconception people have is that I went to film school or majored in film but the reality is I have really just learned by doing and from the unlimited resources of the internet. I continue to learn with each film I make which parallels nicely with fly fishing and how I am constantly learning every time I’m out.
You're very active on social media too. Give us the deets so our readers can give you a follow.
You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube @WildFlyProductions
The vast majority of your content and videos are focused on Western North Carolina fishing, but you're starting to take a lot of trips out west with your buddies building more content outside of NC. What has been your favorite spot so far?
Yeah, going out west has always been a dream of mine and last summer I was able to fish out there for the first time. If I had to pick a favorite though, I would say our trip to Canada last summer chasing bull trout. We filmed a series called Northern Natives and got to spend a whole week fishing for big bull trout and cutthroat. We caught some of the biggest fish I’d ever seen caught on a fly rod and in the most beautiful area. We’ve got a big trip coming up this July that might top that one so I guess we’ll just have to maybe revisit that question in a few months...
We've heard mixed messages from the Forestry Service and the NC Wildlife Commission on water access during the lockdown, but things are starting to open back up. What are you seeing on the rivers in NC in and around Boone?
From my knowledge, most places are open now to the public but some may have certain regulations because of COVID. I haven’t had a problem finding trout water lately so there’s plenty of opportunities!
By far one of our most frequent questions at the shop is what's the closest spot to fish from Charlotte....what are your thoughts as far as local, public water options go?
Totally, when I was growing up in Charlotte I asked the same questions. Fortunately, I have been able to live in Boone for the past 4 years and had the chance to discover tons of new rivers. It’s a tough question to answer because one angler may be looking to fish small, secluded wild streams and the other may just want to find a delayed harvest stream with stocked trout to fish. So, you really gotta think first about what kind of stream do YOU want to fish. I actually have found a resource, that I wish I knew about when I lived in charlotte, which has helped me IMMENSELY with finding places to fish. It’s NC Wildlife’s interactive trout map that shows almost all of the trout streams in NC and breaks them up by stream type and fish species. I HIGHLY recommend everyone checking it out, especially if you live in Charlotte. It’s very easy to use and it’ll give you a ton of options that are close to the city. I’ll link it HERE.
Alright now we dive deep (fishing joke...boom) into Rapid Fire. Our favorite part of FPM and soon-to-be yours as well.
Dry or Wet Fly?
Dry or Die, without a doubt
The King of Beers (Bud) or Colorado Cool-Aid (aka Coors)?
Coors Banquets, for sure
Chacos or Wading Boots?
If snakes didn’t exist, Chacos.
3 or 7 weight?
3 weight all-day, I’m a sucker for tight quarters fishing on small streams.
Float or Wade?
Secret fishing spot?
Good try ;)
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To check out Scottie's videos on YouTube follow this LINK and enjoy. Or to follow him on Instagram, check out his account HERE.