Both my Grandfathers were skilled
fisherman and it was Grandpa Garrison who first introduced me to my lifelong
passion. If I close my eyes and reflect back to my earliest memories, I can
vividly recall the image of the first fish I ever caught. A small but brilliant
yellow and black Perch from Lake Marie in Bedford Hills, NY. While only four
years old at the time, my parents had no idea what was in store for them as
this obsession to catch fish was born. Having a limited vocabulary at the time…
I remember that for weeks I proudly referred to this beautiful creature of
nature as the “Yellow Jacket” from the lake.
I began fly fishing at age 12 with several
of my close friends. Tying our own flies, we often fished the “no kill”
sections of the Willowemoc River just outside of Roscoe, NY. We would typically
arrive at the river at sunrise and fish well into dark until we could no longer
see the Light Cahill dry flies that we proudly spent time creating at the tying
vice. We barely took time to eat all day and when the fishing slowed in the
afternoons, we would engage in casting competitions or spend time studying the
aquatic life that resided on the streambed.
Fishing the Willowemoc river in the
early 70’s contributed to my developing the discipline and practice of “catch
and release” fishing. It also allowed us to better appreciate the beauty of the
habitat and survival obstacles that trout face. The challenge and reward of fly
fishing becomes catching trout with your skill (vs. luck) and releasing them so
that they could continue on in their lifecycle and occasionally make a mistake
in judgment - falling victim to another skilled angler with the perfect
presentation of their Mayfly imitation.
In my early teens, not only was
fishing my favorite hobby, it allowed me to develop independence, perseverance
and confidence. My dad used to drop me off at Muscoot Reservoir in Katonah, NY
at age ten and leave me there all day to fish. When he would come to pick me up
at sunset he could count on me saying… “One more cast dad, just one more cast.”
Developing my photography skills
From 1975 to 1979 I had my undergraduate education at SUNY Cortland where I majored in Geology. As a result of the significant investment in the NY SUNY University system during the 70's, I had the privilidge of being "coached" by several exceptional college professors and a science lab that was simply extraordinary. Even though (as a starving student), there were few luxuries that I could afford, I did have access to a photography facility (darkroom) that virtually no one used and as a result, I was able to develop my skills processing black and white images of sports photography.
After fly fishing for 52 years, I
have to admit that I have evolved through the classic seven stages of
what’s referred to as the fishing obsession. "In essence, fly
fishing is considered to be the pursuit of the elusive." I'm now
somewhere between Stages 6 and 7.
Stage 1: Wanting to master the basics
and just catch fish.
Stage 2: Wanting to catch lots of
Stage 3: Wanting to catch a big
Stage 4: Wanting to catch lots of big
Stage 5: Wanting to catch The
Ultimate - Uncatchable Fish on light tackle/tippet.
Stage 6: Seeking out the most remote/pristine
fishing locations on earth that host the greatest angling challenges on light
Stage 7: Appreciating much more about
the process of angling - than "the fishing alone," sharing the
experience and helping preserve what’s special.
Capturing and Sharing the Experience: My Photography
The latest focus and challenge for
me is to attempt to share the entire fly fishing experience. This includes the
scenery where I travel and fish, the aquatic environment, the angling challenge and most important – a
breathtaking close up portrait of the fish. By the way... I’ve also always
subscribed to the philosophy that if you talk about the fishing experience –
it’s considered “a fish story.” If you have pictures, it’s considered evidence!
Thus far, my business travels have created the opportunity
for me to fish in 31 US States and nine additional countries including some of
the most remote parts of New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil,
Venezuela, Bolivia, Panama and most recently Costa Rica (my three favorite
locations – Alaska, Costa Rica and Montana).
Montana: The Last Best Place
Montana and Costa Rica: Both considered “The Last Best Place”
My Fly-fishing obsession has also indirectly contributed to
where our family lives (Bozeman Montana) and the name of our youngest daughter
– Christine “Madison” Olivo, named after my favorite river, that originates in
Yellowstone National Park and meanders north through the Northern Rocky
Mountains of Montana.
Bozeman Montana and the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica share
many similarities with respect to the relative pristine natural environment,
the fishing quality, popularity of tourism, the influence of the regional national
parks (Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier) and a local resident’s mindset
towards keeping things preserved.
The best example of this environmental similarity locally
near Bozeman is Yellowstone National Park which as the crown jewel of our US
park system is located just 90 miles south of the town. Bozeman tends to serve
as the official “Gateway” to the park and the popularity of the tourism influx
has contributed to an unprecedented growth rate of Gallatin County over the
past 20 years. Bozeman also serves as the headquarters of many Not-for-profit national
governing bodies whose mission is to preserve the precious biological open-space
ecosystem in every aspect.
Throughout my entire life, I’ve been very fortunate with my personal
lifestyle choices to remain uncompromising with respect to where our family
lives and spend time in the natural habitat we cherish. This is the reason we
now split our time between Montana and Costa Rica and hopefully, we can
continue to make a difference in a small way to preserve the special natural wonder
of both these environments.
Finally, I have a compelling sense of urgency and responsibility
to have “Sweet Gulf” be a publication that will allow people to learn the
history of the fishery, appreciate the biodiverse uniqueness of the habitat,
better understand the fragility of the environment and experience the beauty that
the Golfo Dulce and it’s local inhabitants through the photographs, fine art
and colorful stories of epic fishing outings.
Enjoy, Please share and help preserve.
I can be reached via text and/or phone at (406)-581-9873. I can also be reached via my e-mails firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
My art business has been designated as a "Trusted Art Seller" with The Art Storefronts Organization, which means you can shop with confidence, and know that I stand behind the quality and value of my products.