Eric has traveled the globe guiding and managing several lodges in the world of fly fishing. We are excited to have Eric on The Fly Shop’s travel team.
My relationship with The Fly Shop® began in the mid-80s when its owner, Mike Michalak, brought a group of friends to our Alaska River Safaris camp on the Goodnews River. The connection continued to grow, as I managed several of their exclusive destinations (Paradise Lodge in the Yucatan, and Big Ku Lodge in Alaska) as I also spent time on the Ponoi River on the Kola Peninsula of Russia, in the Bahamas, and just living the fly fishing dream. Becoming part of their travel team is a perfect fit and a logical next step. I’m proud to be part of one of the best teams in the fly fishing industry. I bring a wealth of angling travel experience and field knowledge to the team and look forward to sharing it with you.
Q&A with Eric Ersch:
How did you get started in fly fishing?
During my early college years, I worked a couple summers at YMCA camps in the Rocky Mountains, taking jobs at camps that were located on trout streams. Coming from the beaches of southern California, I was skilled with conventional tackle, but fly fishing was something I had only read about. After a morning of successfully fishing with spinners and ultra light spinning gear, a couple of young women approached on horseback as I was hiking back to my cabin. We exchanged a friendly conversation about the mornings fishing and shared our successes. This was in the mid 70s, and keeping trout for dinner was common. They had a few nice brown trout strung on a line, hung over the saddle horn. With their reins in one hand, and a fly rod in the other, we said goodbye, and they rode across the meadow and disappeared into the trees. I knew at that moment that I would become a fly fisher.
What does fly fishing do for you that keeps you coming back for more?
Fly fishing is a puzzle that is never solved. It’s an open-ended pursuit, with many different answers to an unlimited number of questions.
Favorite fish to pursue?
Hunting for big bonefish in the Bahamas, alone on a flat. The stalk and presentation tolerate no mistakes, and watching that fish commit to the take is very rewarding.
What fly fishing destination is on your bucket list?
The most remote island flat I can fish in the Bahamas.
Favorite fly rod and why?
Sage Salt HD, 7wt. The way it loads and unloads fits my casting style perfectly.
Favorite reel and why?
Nautilus FXW (now the X-Series). Super light, slim profile, with a great drag system. It fits the Sage Salt HD 7 wt perfectly.
Favorite fly and why?
Miheves Flats Fly, #6. It’s the best I’ve found for skinny water bones. It lands light on the water, sinks at the correct rate for 12 inches of water, and bonefish eat it.
What is your greatest fly fishing extravagance?
Working at The Fly Shop® in destination travel and hosting trips. I get to share the experience of fishing the best places on the planet with friends, old and new.
Which living or non-living fly fisher would you want to spend a day fly fishing with?
Steve Huff, without question.
Who are your favorite writers?
Thomas McGuane, Ernest Hemingway, Guy de la Valdene, Jose Ortega Gasset, William Faulkner
What single issue in fly fishing do you feel has the greatest adverse potential?
Environmental degradation. It comes in so many forms. Lack of fresh water going to the Everglades, non-point pollutants entering our waterways, destruction of wetlands and estuaries, and the list goes on.
What is the most memorable fly fishing trip you’ve taken?
Isla de Coiba, Panama, 1979. I spent nearly a year there working as the assistant manager of Club Pacifico de Panama. We were at the leading edge of saltwater fly fishing, surrounded by an ocean that held more big fish than anywhere I’ve ever seen. The species diversity was amazing, from the beaches to the reefs and offshore. Some of the best fly anglers in the world went there, and I learned from all of them. It was a crossroad in my life, and I left there headed to grad school and guiding summers in Alaska to pay for it, thanks to some guidance from Winston Moore while teasing sailfish to the fly. That turned into two decades of guiding and managing remote Alaskan destinations, a decade of guiding on the flats in Florida, and now assisting folks in fishing the best destinations in the world.
Which talent or natural gift would you most like to have?
To surf big waves like a porpoise
Who are your heroes in real life?
They are a handful of people that you would never know: Nevin Stevenson, Louis Marak, Tom Nelson, Mike Lucas, Harold Reid, Jack Hanson. All of them showed by example how to live with respect and dignity.
What is your fly fishing pet peeve?
People who publicize fishing destinations to benefit themselves. No location ever got better by having a zillion hits on your Facebook or Instagram page, and all the folks that brings to beat up the fishery.
What do you most value in your friends?
Respect and kindness
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?