When your twenty-something son takes up fly fishing—at the cost of all other interests—there is bound to be some concern as a parent. This new fishing obsession was interfering with his college education, and baseball pursuits, not to mention preventing him from finding a summer job to help pay his way in the world. This interest seemed to come out of left field. Sure, we went camping and fishing as a family (when his sports seasons allowed), but this had become a rare thing in recent years as the demands of playing on more competitive sports teams grew. So, what was fueling this new passion, and was it just a passing phase? Would he come to realize that fishing is generally a “hobby” for most people and return to more traditional thinking about “life?” No. Not at all.

It quickly became clear that this was not a passing phase; his interest in fly fishing continued to flourish and consume him.

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Photo by Linda Galambos

As concerned parents, we worried about our son making it in life, that is, being a contributing member of society with relative success and happiness, not to mention paying his way, we recalibrated our thinking and switched from feeling discouraged over his college interruption to asking if this kid could actually make a living fishing. He was, after all, forsaking every other aspect of his life for the sake of throwing flies. 

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Photo by Linda Galambos