Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, Florida, sure, but Maryland, let alone Baltimore, has never been considered one of the premier destinations for fly-fishing in the United States. Nick Rodricks wants to change that.
“We have a huge fishing identity as a state with the Chesapeake Bay,” he says, “but not for fly-fishing, which is a significant part of our angling history.”
This spring, inspired by local fly-fishing legends like the world-renowned Lefty Kreh, as well as a lifelong love of the sport (he learned to land trout from his father, Sun columnist Dan Rodricks), the Baltimore native launched his own guide service in hopes of drawing attention to local waterways.
“As a young kid, I Iearned that fishing was a way of better understanding and being connected to the natural world,” says Rodricks. “The further you get into it, the less catching fish matters.”
The Fishercat River Company offers outings for every skill level, from casting lessons to half or full-day trips on rivers like the Gunpowder in Baltimore County or the Youghiogheny in Garrett.
Providing all gear—rods, reels, waders—Rodricks also aims to increase accessibility to a pastime that has traditionally attracted an affluent white male audience.
“If you have a young kid, fly fishing is probably not your first option, as it’s expensive, and hard to teach,” he says.
For that, he’s incorporating a pay-it-forward platform, in which clients can donate toward free classes for underserved communities, and focusing more of his work on urban waters, like catch-and-release fly fishing right on the Inner Harbor.
“It’s about shifting mentality, getting people to fish even in unconventional places, allowing them to access the sport in whatever way they can,” says Rodricks. “As someone who grew up in the city, I will say that catching a rockfish under the Hanover Street Bridge is a surreal moment.”