Saltwater Fishing Podcast
If you have questions, suggestions for other guests or comments, please email Podcast@saltwaterexperience.com
I found Will Taylor on Instagram. His photography had a different look and feel to it and I was very interested in his North Georgia waters. Blue Ridge, Georgia was only down the road about an hour drive from where I grew up in Chattanooga, TN, yet I had no idea that trout the size of my leg lived there.
I made contact with Will and found him to be a great guy who would make for an interesting guest on Saltwater Experience. We scheduled it and then met at Hawks Cay a few weeks later. I wanted to have Will on the show because I wanted to visit him in North Georgia and experience this amazing fishing. We are getting close to filming the episode where I go visit him. Hopefully it will turn out as good as when he came to visit us.
After fishing, we sat down for a while and talked about all sorts of stuff. Will told me how he got started, why he spends a lot of time in Florida, his struggles and successes with sponsorship, and his thoughts on the future of flyfishing. I thought it was a good conversation and I really enjoyed my time with Will.
I hope you enjoy this episode. If you do, please rate and review the show on iTunes and share it with your friends. The above links are easily sharable on all types of social media or embedable on any blog. Thank you for listening and, as always, please let me know what you would like covered and who you might like to see me talk to.
Recently – March 16, 2018
I (Tom) fished with Will up in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Watch this episode of our weekly show to see the awesome Trout we caught, and be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel to watch our Weekly show that comes out every Thursday.
Will Taylor is a professional fishing guide and co-business owner with his wife, Lesa, in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Taylor has harnessed the power of social media and technology to reach both aspiring and pro anglers to grow his business and expand his professional network. New technologies in film and video, along with the widespread use of social media, are playing a large role in shaping the future of the fishing industry.
angler and trout-enthusiast from Blue Ridge, Georgia. After Tom reached out to Will via Instagram, the two recently connected and did some fishing down in The Keys. Bringing the worlds of warm and cold water fishing together, the two anglers discuss the current role of social media in the fishing world, and the future of the fishing industry as a whole.
Taylor has built quite the following on Instagram through both his personal and business account. Snapchat and Facebook also both play a large role in keeping his fans engaged. He claims anglers can take the sport as big as they want with the power and reach of these social media platforms.
Rowland and Taylor also discuss how you don’t have to travel out of the U.S. or even across the U.S. for incredible and memorable guided fishing experiences. Instagram is helping them reach more people to show them just how amazing fishing can be in their respective areas.
Listen in to learn where these pros think the fishing industry is headed with the incorporation of technologies like advanced cameras and drones to leverage the power of sites like Vimeo and Waypoint TV. This is all in addition to the wealth of social media platforms at our fingertips and how they have the power to shape the future of the fishing industry as well. This is one episode you don’t want to miss!
Transcription Tom Rowland: I'm Tom Rowland and this is the Tom Rowland podcast ... Hey everybody. On today's show we have a great guest, Will Taylor. If you're a fan of Saltwater Experience, you may have seen us ﬁsh with Will Taylor and this interview was conducted right after we ﬁshed. Will and I got to be friends when ﬁrst meeting on Instagram, exchanging some messages, then getting together to go ﬁshing and really enjoyed the guy. He's super nice. We have kind of a mutual admiration for trout ﬁshing, and he is catching some massive trout in the north Georgia area. So we talk about that, we talk about social media, and the impact that it's had on ﬁshing, what the future of that may be, what the future of distribution of ﬁshing content might look like. And we go into a lot of things about how he got started and where he hopes to take his ﬁshing career in the future. Really good. Really good conversation. I hope you enjoy it.
Tom Rowland: Today's episode was brought to you by WaypointTV, and WaypointTV is a online platform that streams hunting and ﬁshing shows for free. Did I mention that it is for free? You just go there, and you can go to the app, you can go to WaypointTV.com, you can check it out on your Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, smart TV, on and on and on. Basically, any device that you have that gets streaming content, Waypoint is available there, and you can go there and ﬁnd the highest quality hunting and ﬁshing content available anywhere. I would highly encourage you if you like to watch outdoor content, check it out, it's an amazing platform and did I mean that it's free? It's completely free. All you got to do is maybe watch a 15 second commercial and then the entire episode of your favorite ﬁshing or hunting show is for free. So check it out, WaypointTV.com. Now, without any further ado, I want to introduce you to Will Taylor.
Tom Rowland: All right. Hello everybody. This is Tom Rowland with Saltwater Experience. I am sitting here with my new friend, Will Taylor. Will Taylor comes from the land of North Georgia and also byway of Naples, Florida. Will and I have a interesting relationship and something that's been happening a little bit lately with me is having a fascination, I guess, with Instagram and looking around on Instagram, seeing what people are catching, seeing what people are doing, actually reaching out to those people and forming some sort of relationship. And so far, I've had some of the best ﬁshing and met some of the coolest people by doing this method. One being my friend Graham Taylor, another Melton Hill Bill, another Ryan Nitz, and now Will Taylor. So insta-famous people, and it's really turned out. So Will, I'm glad you're here. What's up? How's the trip so far?
Will Taylor: Good stuﬀ man. It was a great trip, great experience, and I mean, you can't beat The Keys. It's the best place. Unreal place, unreal location, unreal destination and the ﬁshing is unreal.
Tom Rowland: So you were saying that you haven't been to The Keys much, but you have some experience, right? Will Taylor: Some experience. I mean, it's more or less of the touristy Keys visit like everybody else I think.
Tom Rowland: The Conch Tour Train?
Will Taylor: Yeah, pretty much. Yeah, yeah. You go down to Key West, and take your picture and do that thing. Never really had a chance, it's always been super intriguing for me, to get down and to do this ﬁshery, or these ﬁsheries and really focus on these species that not a lot of the world gets to experience that we get to experience out here in South Florida. It's a great time.
Tom Rowland: So you're spending some time in Georgia, some time in Naples. How does that work?
Will Taylor: That was the original plan when I ﬁrst started going up, and opening my shop and starting in the guiding business. It's kind of developed and kind of come to fruition that we've been just absolutely slammed all due to Instagram. Instagram is a great platform for really anybody. Not just a speciﬁc person, but anybody. You can show people what you're about. You can show your products. You can show your ﬁsheries. You can show anything you want to show, and if you do it right, and you develop the right relationships, you can end up in places like this with guys like yourself. Tom Rowland: So Instagram, is that your main focus? Or do you do other stuﬀ too? Will Taylor: Instagram's kind of where it started. That's really our main platform. Facebook has been there as well, but really Instagram, and Snapchat is really huge for us. We try to put as many diﬀerent experiences, no matter where we're ﬁshing. We try to put them all on Snapchat, and Instagram Stories, and we try to post as much content as we can have, as much content as we can ﬁnd, without annoying people of course. There is a delicate balance there, and once you start putting up the content that we do, you've got to do that on a daily basis. Being down here is a perfect opportunity for me to really get in, and dig in and really try to learn these species. And today was fantastic. I mean, I couldn't ask for a better experience. I mean, it was ... On the water, with some great guys, and a great crew and great equipment. You can't ask for any better. It just turned out great. I mean it started out slow, which is ﬁne by me, and it ended up perfect.
Tom Rowland: Well, you're a ﬁsherman, you know. People see the show, and people have some wild and crazy expectations about how that goes down. Either that it takes us two weeks to ﬁlm the show, or that the ﬁshing's always like it is on TV or just diﬀerent. Lots of diﬀerent expectations. And I hear people ask me all these questions about that, but the fact of the matter is, is that we are in the Florida Keys, there are 40-50 diﬀerent species that we have the luxury of ﬁshing for.
Tom Rowland: Both Rich and I were professional guides guiding and doing nothing else. No part-time jobs or anything, just full time guiding. And when you're a full time guide, it's not nice all the time. In fact, it's nice only part of the time, and those are the easy days. The other days are the days where it's raining, or it's cloudy, or it's windy, or the temperature just dropped, or it's too hot, or it's too cold, or it's too something. And you've got to ﬁgure out, "Okay, what are we going to do now?" Or, "The conditions are absolutely perfect."
Tom Rowland: We were talking about this today, about permit ﬁshing as one thing. Permit ﬁshing is a romantic idea that a lot of people are in love with, but the fact of the matter is, is that, man the guy on the back of the boat that's pushing it around with a stick has to really be in love with it. And when somebody comes in, and the conditions are absolutely perfect for ... I'm sure you're the same man, with your trout. There's a perfect condition, probably for the big browns. There's a perfect condition, probably for a diﬀerent ... One of the rainbows or a diﬀerent river. There's a perfect condition for something. There is deﬁnitely a perfect condition for permit and there's an absolute imperfect condition for ﬂy ﬁshing for permit, and that's super slick calm.
Tom Rowland: And when people would come in, and they would want to ﬁsh for permit, and it was super slick calm and people are crushing tarpon. That was one of the most diﬃcult things. Absolutely really, really ... It would hurt your soul. You know what's happening out there, and you can't do it, and you're going out after a ﬁsh in the worst possible conditions. It may be pleasing to the eye, but it's the worst possible conditions, and you're going out there, and trying to do that and that really sucks the fun out of it. It really does. And I got to the point to where I wanted to ﬁsh for what was happening at the time that it was happening and using the best method possible. And sometimes that's ﬂy ﬁshing and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's spin ﬁshing, but ... I always look at your Instagram here. So you've got Will Taylor Project. That's on Instagram.
Will Taylor: That's my personal one, yeah.
Tom Rowland: That's your personal one. You've got what, six ... Let me get back up, I missed it. There it is. Will Taylor, 6600 followers and 85, 6685. So we'll see what happens after this show and see if you get some more. And then, you also have Fly Shop, right?
Will Taylor: Yup, Fly Shop Co.
Tom Rowland: Fly Shop Co. And that one is quite a bit bigger. Will Taylor: Yeah. Tom Rowland: This one's 15,000 people. On this one you're posting trout, and a lot of the stuﬀ that you're doing also in Naples, right?
Will Taylor: Right.
Tom Rowland: We were talking about it today. About the reaction between some of your followers on the ... They don't like the saltwater stuﬀ? Will Taylor: Yeah, it's interesting. Obviously we're very trout oriented, or trout driven, or whatever you want to call it. So that's our target audience. So the second that a trout guy goes into the saltwater world, people tend to get a little bit, you know?
Tom Rowland: Really?
Will Taylor: Yeah. It's weird.
Tom Rowland: Well it is kind of weird.
Will Taylor: [crosstalk 00:09:57] It's strange. I think it's something, like again, it's just one of those things that they need to experience it. We talked about this earlier. I was trout as a young age, and I went salt, and now I'm back trout, and then trout salt, and it's just that cold water, warm water thing. I mean, I feel like you need to do both. If you feel like you need more ﬂies, you need more rods, you need more gear man, go after a diﬀerent species.
Will Taylor: And the same thing for saltwater guys. If you feel like you've caught every tarpon in The Gulf, or every tarpon oceanside, or every boneﬁsh you've ever seen, and it's nothing to you. Go challenge yourself, chase a new species. I think we see that. I think we see a lot of guys going to diﬀerent destinations, like Argentina, and Bolivia, and Patagonia, and Chile and Cuba now. What's unique is, is we have good ﬁshing right here at home.
Tom Rowland: We deﬁnitely do.
Will Taylor: You don't have to spend a ridiculous amount of money and travel thousands, and thousands of miles, and inconvenience everybody in your life just to go chase ﬁsh that we have right here in Florida, and as well as Georgia.
Tom Rowland: And with all the exotics. Some of those guys in Miami are catching all kinds of stuﬀ, Arapaima and Pacu. I guess that's where they're doing it. I see them on Instagram. Some other guys I'm going to call up one of these days-
Will Taylor: Very cool.
Tom Rowland: ... and go and be with them too. But I really am having the best time meeting people on Instagram. I don't know if you've done that before.
Will Taylor: I'm going to start doing it, because it's a great idea. When you see these guys ... And you know we do. I work with a very tight group of individuals, just like yourself, and we sit around, and we talk, and we joke, and we're like, "Where do you think the ﬁshing industry's going to go?" "Dude, where do you want to take it?" We're in control, as far as we're looking. We can do whatever we want, and not just us. We, as individuals, as anglers. We can take this sport as big as we want. With the platform that we have with social media, you can put it in front of millions of eyes. Will Taylor: There's people that never even knew that you could do certain things in Miami, and the Keys, and Georgia, and out west and wherever. I mean, before I came in to the picture and tried to introduce ... In our parts of the world there's always been trout there. Always been trout there. Always been big trout. Always had some great ﬁshing. We talked about Tennessee having some of the biggest stripers in the states. We've talked about several things. But when people think about trout, they think about out west. You might get a lot of that in the Keys. I mean, of course everybody thinks about tarpon, and boneﬁsh, and permit and things like that, but at the same time people tend to think about other places.
Will Taylor: I think that that's where it's our job as semi ... Just trying to ﬁgure it out for people. Say, "Listen. You don't have to go to Montana. If you live on the East Coast, you don't have to go to Montana and Utah." And great. Trust me, the most beautiful places in the world, Idaho, Montana, Utah. I mean, just all these places that you can go catch. There's a million trout on that stream. A million trout there. But you know what? There's just as beautiful ﬁsh on the East Coast.
Tom Rowland: Well there's just as beautiful ﬁsh, for sure, but there is the western experience. There is the Western Drift Boat, The Cowboy, the Yellowstone National Park, the wildlife. And that's all good, and it's something that it should be on everybody's bucket list, but also you don't ... I guess what you're saying is you don't have to deprive yourself of trout ﬁshing for the year, waiting for your western trip, and maybe if you try what you're doing, you might not even want to go there anymore.
Will Taylor: Yeah. I mean, I hear it all the time. I take people out and fathers will be in tears hugging me and saying, "You saved me thousands of dollars, because I've been taking my son to Patagonia for years." And here's a 30 inch brown and we catch it in Georgia. Then two hours later they're at a Braves game. You know what I mean? It's a unique part of the world. We get a lot of Nashville, we get a lot of Atlanta, we get a lot of that southeast, and we're doing as best as we can to make our community a true ﬁshing community, a true destination. The most diﬃcult part of that is when you have a true destination, you know you have to have a destination river or a river that has a destination to it. It's one of those things that it's a challenge. And it's not just me, it's the community that has been trying for many, many, many, many years. I think it's going well. I think it's going well. And with platforms like social media man, it's [crosstalk 00:14:30].
Tom Rowland: You certainly get your message out there. This is a great example. The chances of us running into one another are probably are slim. But, sometimes if I'm spending time in other parts of the country ... You know I've got three kids, so I've got a 19 year old that's at Montana State, he's trout ﬁshing, and hunting and doing all kinds of stuﬀ out there. Then I have a 17 year old that's way into ﬁshing right now. He wants to do every kind of ﬁshing. And I have a 13 year old daughter and she's somewhat into ﬁshing. But, I ﬁnd myself in diﬀerent parts of the country being, I guess a lot more, how should I say it ... Tom Rowland: I feel like everybody else sometimes. You go to a strange part of the country. I don't know where the ﬂy shop is. I don't know what's happening. I don't know who the local guides are and I'm kind of at a little bit of a loss. I'd like to go ﬁshing right now, but where? Right? And a lot of the local trout shops have a ... Jason, just make the drink already. Our photographer came in the door and he's trying very quietly to put ice in the cup, but he should just make the drink already.
Will Taylor: It's actually louder, when you're trying to be quiet.
Tom Rowland: Jason Stemple. But as I'm going into these places that I don't know and my son's saying, "Hey look, it looks like there might be some ﬁsh over there." "Okay. Maybe we should stop and try." And people think you make your living as a ﬁshing guide and a television guy, you should know where all the ﬁsh are, but you don't if you don't ﬁsh there, you don't know. Instagram, and Facebook, and all the social media has been fantastic for that, because Hayden is following all of these people and he's showing me all of these things. And I'm like, "Wow man. That is actually really cool, and you know what? It's not far away and we should go do that."
Tom Rowland: And so, I started reaching out to people, and just talking to them and ﬁnding out what's the best time, all these diﬀerent things. And actually going and having some great experiences, but it's really cool. I like the social media. I'm fascinated with it actually. So we're running all of our social media out of one oﬃce. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are our main platforms, but it's growing and people are really into it. And if you look around at the restaurant or whatever, everybody's got their face buried in their phones, so they're doing whatever kind of social media they're into. Some of it might be ﬁshing, but I kind of doubt it. I think they're looking at other things.
Will Taylor: We need to change that.
Tom Rowland: So speaking of changing that, like you say, you and your friends sit around wondering which direction the ﬁshing industry's going and I'd like to know where do you see the ﬁshing industry's going? That's actually a question that we got on social media tonight, when I posted a picture of our permit. Where do you see it going? Where do you see it right now and where do you see it going, I guess?
Will Taylor: Fishing as an industry, as a whole, is absolutely huge. It has its ups and downs like any industry does. Fly ﬁshing, speciﬁcally, I think has grown so much just since I've been in the industry, but for as the past ﬁve, ten years, I think people like yourself and other people in the industry are seeing more and more individuals picking up a ﬂy rod. I like to see that, because the culture that surrounds ﬂy ﬁshing. The catch and release, the conservation, the other things that may not be interesting to some individuals, but is very, very, very important for not only the sport itself, but the future generations and even the kern anglers. Will Taylor: One thing that I hear all the time is, "Man, this ﬁshery, if you could've just seen it 15 years ago, if you could've just seen it 10 years ago." And they're complaining, and it's guys that are passionate about the industry and that's what it needs. It needs guys to get passionate, to be involved and try to keep ﬁshing around for future generations, because it is something, one of those things, it's based on natural resources. So when those resources are gone, then what do we do? I'm sure, like yourself, myself, as early as I can remember, as young as I can remember, I was always on the water, whatever that was, whether it was a creek, or a river, or a bay, or the Gulf or whatever it is was.
Will Taylor: You're always out there, you're always trying to get better. And that's what I think is so intriguing about just ﬁshing as a whole, is you're always ... You never know. You go out every day and you just never know. Today, I mean, there was so much involved with today and we just had no clue what was going to happen. It was just like balls to the wall, let's go. And it's that one ﬁsh and you're like, "All right, we got that one ﬁsh. We broke the ice, we're good." And then you get that second ﬁsh, and then you get that third ﬁsh and you're like, "Alright, this is [inaudible 00:19:39] good time." Then you're like, "All right, now it just go epic. This is what it's about." To be able to share those experiences with people out there, via social media or whatever it is it may be, that's the special part to it.
Will Taylor: That's the part that I enjoy about it. I get to enjoy my daily routine through photography, through social media, through whatever and it's so cool. I'm sure you feel this way too. It's so cool to be able to post your experience online and share it with people, and other people get involved, that they're liking it, making comments and doing all these things that just drive you to do better content. To be better, to do more things, to travel around. It's funny because you say you have this little project you're working on, where you're contacting people on Instagram and things like that, and that was something I told my wife about. I was like, "I was asked today, 'If I could ﬁsh with three people, who would those three people be? Who would the people that I would choose from?'"
Tom Rowland: Who asked you that?
Will Taylor: It was one of my guy, it was on my trips.
Tom Rowland: Okay. Who are they?
Will Taylor: Oh man, I can't. I'm fortunate enough to ﬁsh with a few of them and I'd have to look up their names on Instagram, but they're on Instagram. These are guys that they're not famous, they're not getting paid, they don't have sponsors, they don't have $5,000 cameras and $3,000 lenses. They don't have all that, but what they have is, is an amazing ﬁshery. And what they have is, is that passion and that drive. Those are the guys you want to ﬁsh with. Those are the guys you want to be like, "Listen. You have something special here. I've noticed it, everybody else noticed it, the world isn't noticing it." Will Taylor: It's a matter of time before there's lots of these guys around. Lots of these guys that will be able to show, "Hey. I'm in the middle of nowhere. Nobody's around, nobody's around, but you know what I got? I've got the most amazing public waters you've ever seen in your life," or, "I've got species of ﬁsh that you just didn't think that could get this big." That was something that was unique about our area, is there's always been big ﬁsh there always. Always.
Tom Rowland: There's something about those ... I mean, I haven't ﬁshed your water yet. I'm going to. But, I have been to the Soque and I have been to some other of that area, and I know the mystique about the North Georgia water. I don't know what it is, but I've heard that there's a special mineral content to that water that's not found anywhere else. But I mean, there are lots of people that feed trout in ponds. There are lots of people that feed trout out west in rivers. There are lots of people that feed trout all over the place and they don't get the size trout that you're having. That's got to have something ... And same with the Soque. There has to be something to the water or to the insect life there, or to ... Something is diﬀerent than other places, because you can feed trout all you want, but that doesn't mean they're going to grow those sizes.
Will Taylor: No, and especially in that type of water. You're talking about monster ﬁsh.
Tom Rowland: Tell me. I'm getting excited about this trip, so I don't know what your water is. Explain. Paint the picture.
Will Taylor: Well, all right, so it's a ... We have a little bit of everything. In our particular town, Blue Ridge, Georgia, is in Fannin County, and Fannin County has been endorsed by the state as the trout capital of Georgia. And since then ... I wouldn't even say since then. Before then, it was kind of a ﬁshing community, but since then it's really become a focus. We have lots of guides, like anywhere else that's a very ﬁshy town. We have lots of guides, and lots of people that are in the industry and a community that's behind it. And that's what's so special, and so unique about it, because these private ﬁsheries and these levels of conservation that we do, it's not one person. It's a team of people. You can't do anything really ... I mean, I'm not going to say anything, but you can't do anything to this type of magnitude on your own. You have to have a team of people. You have to believe. Everybody has to be on the same page.
Will Taylor: When you come and you do ﬁsh these waters you have multiple choices. You can get on a drift boat and go down the Toccoa. You can get on a drift boat and go down the Hiawassee with bigger waters, streamers, throwing them at big browns. My particular favorite is creeks. I love chasing big ﬁsh in creeks. Some days are there, some days are not, just like everywhere else. And we've been in a serious drought for over a year now, and water levels have been down, water temps have been up. Been losing a lot of ﬁsh. It's very hard on trout. Trout are a very sensitive species.
Tom Rowland: Yeah, they don't like the heat. Will Taylor: Not at all. When the water temp gets up so high, even certain types of trout might even just die oﬀ. They can't ﬁnd the elevation they need to get in the cooler water. Especially with the lower water like we've had, they can't get where they need to be, because there's not enough water to get there. From year to year it's a challenge and that's what's a challenge for these private ﬁsheries. But, to paint a picture for you, as far as the ﬁsheries and what not, my favorite is just creek chasing. It's one of those things where the public water, or the rivers, or whatever you want to call them, WMA property, whatever it may be, those are types of waters, they're public waters. It's like what you've got here.
Will Taylor: Here it's a little bit harder to ﬁsh and whatever, but if you're a little bit more north like Naples, in that area, Fort Myers, Estero and things like that. The public water, you might see ﬁve, six boats a day, and it's the same out west. You can go drift rivers and you might see 15 boats and that's what I think is so unique about private water. You get to really, really enjoy your experiences as an angler. I get, and I'm sure you get this too, but 80% of my clients don't have or never even touched a ﬂy rod.
Tom Rowland: Really?
Will Taylor: They see it on TV, or they see your Instagram, or- Tom Rowland: That's amazing. Will Taylor: It's crazy.
Tom Rowland: You're getting 80% of your clients have never touched a ﬂy rod- Will Taylor: At least. Tom Rowland: ... and you're taking them out to catch some of the biggest trout in the world.
Will Taylor: And they do. And they do.
Tom Rowland: Wow.
Will Taylor: It comes down to ﬁguring out your model, and being able to take that application, and teach somebody in a short period of time, put them on water and become successful. Like I said, it's not a one man game.
Tom Rowland: When you say it's not a one man game, who are you talking about?
Will Taylor: When you're out there, and you're a team, so whether you have two anglers with you ... I like to have one guy per two anglers, because to be able to have the experience you have to be able focus on your clients. And these big ﬁsh are, they're smart. I call them Ph.D's, that's what they are. They've seen ﬂies, they have their certain diet and certain menu that they like and that's just what it is. And we were talking about this earlier, even a ﬁsh is just not hungry if the right presentation is there, they're going to eat. As an angler and more of a trout angler, or a trout ﬁsherman, as you've got to learn that ﬁnesse. You got to learn that ﬁnesse. When you're on big water, and you're throwing big lines, nine foot rods, and you're airing it out and all that other stuﬀ, that's great and grand, but that's on TV. Nobody's throwing 60 feet, 70 feet of line on a river. If you are, hey, there's trout right there in front of you. That's how trout are.
Tom Rowland: But where's the team come in?
Will Taylor: The team comes in ... When you're hunting these big ﬁsh and you're ﬁshing, I'm the captain, and I'm spotting ﬁsh, I'm looking for ﬁsh, and I'm hunting ﬁsh. And I'm saying, "You know what, this ﬁsh is done, let's move on." I can't catch this ﬁsh. All I can do is tell people how to catch this ﬁsh. And big ﬁsh are diﬀerent. Most of the trout that we target, you're not going to land them on your own and if you do it's bad for the ﬁsh. If you're out there with a four weight, and you're spending 30 minutes ﬁghting a ﬁsh, it's not good for any ﬁsh. I don't care the way-
Tom Rowland: So you're talking about the ... You're getting the person hooked up, then you're netting the ﬁsh.
Will Taylor: Oh yeah. Getting the person hooked up. Talking them through every moment. We have a lot of structure on our water. That is another big issue for a lot of new anglers. But what I really enjoy about new anglers, is they don't have bad habits. I could have guys come down, my Florida guys or whoever, my bass guys or whatever. My bass guys are trying to come up out of their shoes trying to set the hook. My Florida guys are stripping out 80 feet of line and the trout's 10 feet away. And by the end of it, you have this ... You're in sync with each other. You have that comfortable silence with each other. You have those emotions with each other, because I'll tell you what man, I don't care who you are, you go catch a 25 inch brown, it's going to change your life. That's just reality. I don't care if you're not even into ﬁshing.
Will Taylor: I've taken people out there before, by the end of the trip they're like, "I want this, this, and this, and this, and we want to book you for the next three years on the same day." And that's kind of a thing at the end of the trip. As a guide and as a professional you're like, "I did my job. I did my job." But, we try to take things to the next level. As I was telling you earlier, we try to be ﬁve stars across the board, whether it's my wife intervening with reservation plans and making any type of issues you might have, like getting to the town, or the airport, or lodging, or whatever it is.
Will Taylor: We try to get involved as much as we can and that means lots, it's the special touches, because a lot of people they're like, "We don't even know where Blue Ridge is. Where is Blue Ridge? How far is it away from the closest international airport? How far is it from Nashville? Can I drive there? Is there an air-" All kinds of little questions that go. And like you said earlier, a guides job is when you wake up, you turn on. You don't turn oﬀ until you go to sleep. And you'll even hear clients say this, especially clients that have been on many, many, many trips with professionals. They know. They know your job doesn't end when you go home. You got to prepare for the next day. I mean hell-
Tom Rowland: It never ends.
Will Taylor: Never ends.
Tom Rowland: It never ends, and it's funny to hear you say that, because there are a lot of guides who wish they were anglers and I ran into this a lot. That they would start guiding, because they really wanted to be the ﬁsherman. They really wanted to catch all these ﬁsh, and they found a way to get into the guiding and they got into the guiding. But the whole time they're on the back of the boat, they're thinking, "Man, I'd like to be on the front of the boat." And I just kind of found that it was a two diﬀerent modes. I had two completely diﬀerent modes. I was in guide mode, I had no interest in touching the rod. If somebody said, "Here catch the ﬁsh." Not interested in touching the ﬁsh. I know I can catch that ﬁsh or maybe I'll save it for a day oﬀ, or something else, but this day's about you. This day's about you catching this ﬁsh. I'm here to help you with that and if you don't want to ﬁsh anymore, then hey, let's just take a break, right?
Will Taylor: Right.
Tom Rowland: It's not about me taking oﬀ and going ﬁshing, because I learned that from the person that I learned to guide from, two people really. My ﬁrst guide job was in Jackson, Wyoming, Bressler Outfitters. Vern Bressler started the Orvis-Endorsed Guide Program. He was a hard ass. Really, an old son of a bitch, is what he was and had great attention to detail. And his son, Joe Bressler, gave me my ﬁrst job. Like we were talking about a little bit earlier, when I ﬁrst started guiding, there was the period of time that was pre-river runs through it and then there was the period of time that was post-river runs through it.
Tom Rowland: And what you're talking about, about getting your spiel down to get these people up, and running and catching ﬁsh really quickly. Well that was somewhat important before the movie, and then it was really important after the movie, because everybody out there had new anglers and the boat ramps are crowded like nobody's business. Nobody's ever seen this many people ﬁsh before. That also had to do around the time the GORE-TEX wader came in, so all of a sudden now people are much more comfortable ﬁshing and that had a big inﬂuence on the number of anglers. Just went absolutely nuts.
Tom Rowland: But Vern Bressler, when he ﬁrst ... One of the things he told me, he said, "Now, you're not supposed to be ﬁshing out there. If I ever hear somebody come back and say, 'Well, I didn't catch a big one, but the guide caught a huge one.'" He was like, "You're ﬁred." I was like, "Okay. I get that, I see that. That could be really bad." And then, he taught us all about when you come in how you ... To be in an outfit type thing, you don't come in and start running your mouth about all the ﬁsh you caught or this, did that. You don't talk about that. You come in, "Did you have a nice day? That's awesome. It was so beautiful out there." Never talk about the numbers, or the size, or anything like that and just this guide etiquette of just, this is how you carry yourself. This is what you do.
Tom Rowland: You don't want to come in and say, "Well, we only caught 18." Which might be a bad day for you, but this guy struggled to catch three, and he was super happy and on top of the world before you came in running your big fat mouth about catching 18. And now he's like, "Oh, well I guess I didn't have such a good day after all." But, Vern Bressler, you could not of learned to guide from anybody better than Vern and Joe Bressler. I mean, they were old time cowboys that just knew how to do it. They knew what you were supposed to do and the attention to detail.
Tom Rowland: And that carried over into the saltwater for me right away. And that's a big reason why I had success early here, was because I was relying on the things that I had learned there. And Jason, that's behind me editing pictures somewhere, we talk a lot about what is it to be a good guide. And a good guide, it doesn't matter how many ﬁsh you catch. It doesn't matter how big they are. A good guide shows somebody a good time. When they get oﬀ the water with that person, they've just had the most enjoyable day outside, that they've ever had and they want to do it again. And if a big ﬁsh comes along with that, and enhances that,-
Will Taylor: Just a bonus.
Tom Rowland: ... that's awesome. But guiding is ... A lot of people ask me about guiding. And I want to ask you about how you got into it. But, a lot of people ask me about it and I'm like, "Man, it's a noble profession if you take it seriously." If you take it seriously, and you do, really, your best at it and you try to bring professionalism to a profession that sometimes it doesn't exist. Sometimes it does, and some of the best guides that I've ever been with are right here in the Florida Keys. And also some of the worst. It's some of the best and some of the worst. The best ones are just that. They are true professionals. Booked for life and they'll stay that way. But how is it that you happened to get into guiding?
Will Taylor: When I ﬁrst, when we ﬁrst opened the shop. Tom Rowland: And when's that? Will Taylor: God, when was that? March 2015. Yeah, March 2015. Tom Rowland: Okay and how old are you? Will Taylor: 35. It was something that me and my ﬁance at the time, my wife currently ... Lovely Lisa, right here sitting next to us. We only have two headsets. When we moved up there, we went up there with nothing but positive thoughts, positive vibes and we opened the ﬂy shop. We really didn't know about the guiding end of it. I've always been an angler, I've always, I guess you could say guided, but it was more or less of just taking your friends ﬁshing and whoever else ﬁshing. I had a couple mentors that were kind of older individuals, that were just kind of old school anglers out of Texas and things of that nature.
Will Taylor: My uncle played a huge role in introducing angling into my world. When we moved up to Blue Ridge, it was just kind of like we got to do this. We've got to take it and run with it. One thing is, if one person can do it, why can't I? It was one of those things where, well, how do we be better than the next? And how do we take this to the next level? And I think that is really what has driven us, is that we're always trying to take it to the next level. We're always trying-
Tom Rowland: So what have you done?
Will Taylor: It's all about the community, whether or not we're doing good, or whoever is, is doing good in the area or whatever, it's not going to work if the community's not behind you. We try to get the community behind us and we got them behind us. And it's a great little community and I grew up there. It's a lot of, you walk into the post oﬃce and you know ﬁve people in there.
Tom Rowland: So do these people see that you're bringing in high dollar customers that are spending money in their town?
Will Taylor: They do. They do. And Blue Ridge is a very new happening place. It's very close to Atlanta.
Tom Rowland: Got a lot of ﬂannel shirts and skinny jeans there? Will Taylor: A lot of ﬂannel shirts, lot of ... Tom Rowland: I know. There's some skinny jeans around where I live too.
Will Taylor: They're not skinny now. Now they're just spandex. They're a little bit closer to spandex than skinny. No but, Blue Ridge is ... And that's what ﬂy ﬁshing does, it does attract.-
Tom Rowland: Shrinks your jeans?
Will Taylor: It does a little bit. It does, it does. You wear jeans as you wear skinny jeans in the creek. That's part of the experience actually.
Tom Rowland: It shrinks them. Apparently it does.
Will Taylor: If you're a 36, we're going to put you in a 32 today. Tom Rowland: I got you. Understood. Will Taylor: I've done a series of short ﬁlms that is kind of like a trend in the angling world. There's a lot of really talented guys. I'm talking just insanely talented. With some of the technology that they have, and what they do, and the content that they put out, I was able to, just like yourself, I reached out to these guys, I worked with these guys. I said, "Listen, you like trout? We've got big trout." We've done a lot of shorts and I worked with a lot of fantastic photographers and videographers in the business. These ﬁlms have deﬁnitely helped out the community, if not North Georgia or even the Southeast even. The amount of views that we're getting on some of these ﬂy ﬁshing ﬁlms is astronomical.
Tom Rowland: Like what? How much?
Will Taylor: One of them we have probably, I think, it's 265,000 views on one. Tom Rowland: Wow, that's pretty impressive. Will Taylor: I just put out a little short-
Tom Rowland: And where do people see those? Where do you put them? YouTube?
Will Taylor: Mainly Vimeo. Vimeo, yeah. There's some issues with YouTube with some licensing issues and things like that, so Vimeo-
Tom Rowland: Music.
Will Taylor: Yup, music is the main issue. So Vimeo has kind of been the hub for these new talented individuals, to be able to expose themselves to the world. The recent ﬁlm we just did was probably about a month and a half ago, we put out. I did that one with Patrick Rea and his uncle Nick, and it had over 100,000 views in a month.
Tom Rowland: Wow, on Vimeo?
Will Taylor: On Vimeo. And you're talking about ﬂy ﬁshing ﬁlms. You're not talking about anything else. You're talking about such a small part of the world that is even interested in this. So when you have 100,000 people viewing something, it makes you feel like people are really getting interested. And working with these guys, and like yourself, working with the professionals that you work with, being able to put your artistic view on things and be able to really dig in and do these things. You have kind of the river runs through it, but on small scales. I mean, you wouldn't believe how many times, every day, somebody's putting on a new ﬁlm. Every day [crosstalk 00:39:53].
Tom Rowland: Oh I know.
Will Taylor: And it's crazy. Most of these guys are doing this for free, pro bono. They're not getting paid high dollar money from sponsors.-
Tom Rowland: My son's [crosstalk 00:40:00]. My son is all in to it right now, and he's following all these guys, and watching all these movies, and watching the ones that you're making too and he's totally in. Totally in. That's all he wants to do.
Will Taylor: Totally in. And you can ﬁsh all day, and you're with your buddies and everything, but the ﬁrst thing you want to do is go home and edit. Tom Rowland: In fact, here's his thing right here. He just sent me this. Let's see what it looks like. He said this is the ﬁrst draft of his new video.
Will Taylor: Is he throwing it? Yup, he's throwing it. Is he throwing pancakes? Tom Rowland: I think he's throwing ﬁsh food. Will Taylor: Is that up in Chattanooga?
Tom Rowland: Yeah.
Will Taylor: Oh, there you go, there you go.
Tom Rowland: So he's shooting this with a Sony a6300. Will Taylor: Fantastic camera. Tom Rowland: Look at that albino trout. They put some albino trout in this pond, and he goes over there and just beats the dog shit out of them.
Will Taylor: He just loves it, doesn't he?
Tom Rowland: Yeah. He's just totally in. I mean, this is exactly the example of what you're talking about. My son's an artist. He can draw amazing things, he can take amazing pictures, he has the interest, and with that photographers eye, he's going to do great. He will be one of these new ﬁlmmakers, and obviously he gets to go to some pretty cool places. I get to take him to some places, but this is exactly what you're talking about. And then we have another project that we're into, is this WaypointTV and that is really one of the big focal points of Waypoint is to provide a place. Like you're saying, that YouTube has its challenges and Vimeo has its challenges. Vimeo has its challenges that if you're getting 100,000 views on something on Vimeo, that's really good. That would probably translate to 500,000 on YouTube.
Will Taylor: Easily.
Tom Rowland: But still, I don't know, there's no place for advertising. So like you're saying, they're doing it for free. They're doing it for free, not because they want to do it for free.
Will Taylor: They have to.
Tom Rowland: They're doing it for free because they have to do it for free, and it is unfortunate. So Waypoint, the whole idea behind Waypoint, is to protect the producer, sponsor relationship. And that sponsor relationship is not protected on YouTube, because YouTube can put ads in before our shows, or your movies or anything else. And you can turn oﬀ all these ads and they still put some ads in. Tom Rowland: So that's probably the worst thing that you could do in a sponsor relationship, is to allow someone else to come in there, and you've paid for this movie as a sponsor and then here's your competition paying one cent a click to be in front of that. So Waypoint, the whole idea is that the producer maintains the opportunity to keep that pre-roll advertising. So it's a selling. It's something that can be sold to the sponsors. It's something that can be as a tool to generate income for these movies.
Will Taylor: And that's huge, because you got to understand, I'm on the forefront with these guys and that's the frustration.
Tom Rowland: Well ﬁrst of all, they don't know how to sell, which is very, very diﬃcult- Will Taylor: For anybody. Tom Rowland: Yeah, and it was hugely diﬃcult for us, and it was the biggest challenge, to getting the television show oﬀ the ground, is how do we get sponsors? And so many times when people are asking questions about sponsors, it's ... Our history is that I was just a trout guide, then I came down here, saltwater guy, doing well. Had a small relationship with Orvis, I could get some tackle on discount, but I was by no means sponsored by anyone. My ﬁrst sponsorship came from Scott Fly Rods. My second sponsorship came from RIO Fly Lines. Actual paid sponsorship, but the road to getting there was unbelievably diﬃcult to get them. And I had to travel all over the country doing casting competitions for the International Sportsmen Expositions, hundreds of free seminars, writing articles, doing everything that I possibly could.
Tom Rowland: Of course, we didn't have social media back then, but the road to sponsorship is diﬃcult, because it's not based upon what you've done. You have this movie that has 100,000 views. Okay well, when you go to present that to a sponsor, it means almost nothing to that sponsor, because they're going to say, "Okay, well how do we know that the next movie is going to get anything?" Right? And so, that is where these young ﬁlmmakers have to begin to understand that you have to be able to sell them something, right? You can't just go out and make a movie, and with the rods that you like, and then go to that company and say, "Don't you want to pay me for using your rods here?"
Will Taylor: Happens all the time.
Tom Rowland: I know.
Will Taylor: Happens all the time.
Tom Rowland: And it's backwards. You have to get the person to be interested, tell them, coach them up on what you're going to do, and maybe they want to be interested. And you know what, sometimes maybe you have to go use somebody else's rods.
Will Taylor: That's right, that's right. Tom Rowland: And that can be a real personal decision and full of turmoil. Will Taylor: Full of turmoil. Tom Rowland: It certainly has been with me. Will Taylor: Oh yeah, same here. Tom Rowland: Because I'm loyal like a dog, and I don't want everyone to do that, right? But, sometimes if the project is that important to you than you have to-
Will Taylor: Got to do it.
Tom Rowland: ... ﬁnd the partners that are going to allow you to do it. But, Waypoint is a very, very cool platform that is designed for those young people-
Will Taylor: And I'm happy that-
Tom Rowland: ... those young ﬁlmmakers.
Will Taylor: And I'm happy that you're putting it out there like that, because the more people that would hear this podcast, the more people that will know that, it kind of gives them that hope, that light at the end of the tunnel, like, "You know what? There's true professionals that I can go to, that I can depend on, that I can put my work on their platform, and I know that it's going to get to the right audience."
Tom Rowland: Well, Waypoint is kind of our platform. It's kind of our platform, but it really everyone's platform. It's really almost like a YouTube. We kind of started it and it was our kind of our idea, but now it's being embraced by the hunting industry and the ﬁshing industry, and it's taking oﬀ.
Will Taylor: That's what I was going to say, yeah.
Tom Rowland: So it's not my platform, it's everybody's platform. But what these guys have to see and be excited about is, "Man, I can do what I want to do and there's an opportunity to make money from it." And it's not just making money. Making money is a small part of it. What it is, is you can do what you're excited about doing and you can help the company to do what they want to do, sell more stuﬀ, right?
Will Taylor: Right.
Tom Rowland: So everybody wins and nobody's taking advantage of anybody. You're providing a service. They're paying for a service that they're happy to pay for. But a sponsor doesn't want to pay for something that they're not going to get, or they have no guarantees. And then when even you throw a third party in there of a advertising agency or somebody like that, who says, "Well, let's boil this to a cost per thousand and what you're doing with this guy, and I see it. Good quality and everything, but you're paying 50 times more than what we normally pay."
Will Taylor: I'm glad you put that out there, because a lot of people don't realize that that even exists, between the companies and the PR companies.
Tom Rowland: Well, it certainly does, and most people don't understand that, but most people also think that if you win a tournament that you're entitled to some kind of sponsorship, which couldn't be further from the truth, because if you win a tournament, that doesn't mean that you've done anything to sell anybody's product. What companies are interested in, is they're interested in the guy that does 200 free seminars at Bass Pro, or whatever, at the local ﬂy shop every weekend, for free. Never asked for a dime. Never asked for anything.
Tom Rowland: But he's touching hundreds of people, that because he's been nice to those people, and because he's taught them how, they're going to buy whatever he says that they should buy, because he's coming from the heart. And that's the people that they want to get behind and it doesn't matter if you won a tournament. You won a tournament, that's great. Who knows if you're ever going to win another one, right?
Will Taylor: Right.
Tom Rowland: The key to sponsorship is having something that you can sell someone, a guarantee. I don't know how many views my movie's going to get, but I guarantee you that every time it plays, your commercial's going to be in front of it. You can't do that on YouTube, or Vimeo, or any other place. I mean, right now Waypoint's the only one. I mean we're getting more, and more short ﬁlms on there all the time.
Will Taylor: So let me ask you, just for the listeners out there, if an individual wanted to release a short ﬁlm, and Vimeo's a platform they're used to, and they know YouTube is not ... Do they contact you? Do they contact Waypoint?
Tom Rowland: Yeah, Waypoint. Builder Brock is the one that's running all of that, content acquisition, and he's constantly looking and contacting those people, but obviously there's a lot of young ﬁlmmakers that aren't on his radar or whatever. So Builder Brock, the builder at WaypointTV.com, and that's his email address, and it goes straight to him, and he'll look at the content and if it's up to snuﬀ, then of course we want to work with whomever. We want the highest quality video content available. Bottom line, it has to be something that the ﬁshing industry is proud of, right?
Will Taylor: Right.
Tom Rowland: Not people falling oﬀ boats and funny videos that get tons of stuﬀ. We're even questioning whether or not you put instructional stuﬀ on there. Our best thing that we've ever produced, I produced a uni knot video. Way over two million views right now. Just for a knot video. That tells me that there are a lot of people that are interested, in both freshwater and saltwater ﬁshing. This uni knot video that I did, I started with a hook, uni knot to the hook, double uni knot from the ﬂuorocarbon leader to the braid, double uni knot from the braid to the mono backing, double uni knot to ... Or uni knot to the spool of the spinning reel. So it's one knot that you can use for the entire application, spooling a reel to the hook. Obviously it's cool. One knot, great. You can use that. That's the only knot Rich Tudor uses.
Will Taylor: Only way to do it.
Tom Rowland: That's the only knot he knows, I'm telling you. He doesn't need another knot. Will Taylor: He don't. You really don't. Tom Rowland: I like knots-
Will Taylor: Perfect that knot and do it.
Tom Rowland: ... I know hundreds of knots. But, he ﬁshes the uni knot, that's it. That's all he uses and there's nothing wrong with it. His stuﬀ doesn't break. It works. But, we're questioning whether or not even that, is that a good thing to have on Waypoint? Or should it just be high quality video. So we're getting more, and more, and people are more interested. And hunting has now moved over and that content is coming quickly, but those movies and those opportunities, I think, are only going to increase as the cost of the cameras come down. My son, in a little pelican box like that, can have an a6300, two GoPros, and a drone, and have more production capability than we had the ﬁrst eight years of Saltwater Experience.
Will Taylor: Yeah, and you get all that for under a couple thousand bucks. Tom Rowland: Right. Will Taylor: Yup, all day long. I'm very new to photography, and it's something that I'm learning every day, and working with guys like your crew and everybody that I work with. I always pick up a little bit here and there. And we feed oﬀ each others artistic view, our artistic style, and whatever else. And people ask me all the time, "What camera should I get," or, "What lens should I get?" I'm like, "Listen man, the best thing to do is just ﬁnd something that is aﬀordable for you and master it." I shot with a beater for almost a year before I even ever even decided to even to invest into a nice SLR. Ever since then, of course, your game just elevates.
Will Taylor: But before you get there, you have to learn your equipment. You have to learn production. You got to learn what other guys do, what other guys don't do. And be a sponge with anything. Be a sponge. Anytime you go do something new, take in everything you can. Don't be the guy that's always talking in the room. Be the guy that's always listening in the room. And it's really helped us and that is really what propelled our business. We're building a brand. And this is what we talked about earlier, the big ﬁsh, and the media content, and the ﬁlms, and everything that's involved with it is there to build a brand. Will Taylor: You have companies like YETI, and Hook, and all these companies that spends hundreds, and thousands, and millions of dollars branding, and building this brand, and building this brand. We have all those tools. Everybody, not just us, but everybody. Your son, all these younger individuals that are younger, they have all these tools to do the same thing. So go out and get it. Go out and get that content. One thing that you guys, the professionals, the guys that do this for a living, you guys can only be on the water so many days out of the year. There's only so many things that you can see. There's only so many ﬁsh you can catch. There's only so many destinations you can visit.
Will Taylor: There's millions of people out there that can see things that you'll never have a chance to put on ﬁlm, and that's what's so intriguing about your little project that you're working on, and how we met, because you saw something that was wow. And I didn't even know ... This is close to home. I've been out west forever and I've done it all, and I've never seen anything like this. And that's what a lot of people get. Well, imagine if more than 1% of society was ﬂy ﬁshing or an angular. Imagine if 10%, imagine if 20%. Then we wouldn't have these issues with conservation and all these other things. More people would be involved. More money would be involved. More things would be, I guess, sought-after.
Tom Rowland: Well, what do you think about the current status right now? We just have a new president. One of the things that I hear a lot of, my friends talking about, is possibly ... And you've heard it a little bit on the news. Possibly selling oﬀ public lands. Possibly privatizing parks. What do you see the next four years happening?
Will Taylor: That's something that's not going to take four years. That's something that's going to take a decade, maybe two decades. Whatever ball decides to get rolling in whatever direction, it's going to take a little bit to get there. It's going to take these selling oﬀ public lands, and selling oﬀ WMA, and things like that. It's only going to hurt what we're trying to do as professional anglers, or as outdoorsmen, as you would say, because hunting, hunters, anglers, whatever, hikers. Anybody that likes to be outside, anybody that likes to be ... That's going to aﬀect all of us. It's something that if we don't all come together ... You guys are dealing with a lot of that down here in the Everglades. If we don't come together, not just with politicians, and professionals like yourself and anything like that, all of us, all of us being involved. We have to do our part.
Tom Rowland: I've been saying, that if there was one thing that would make me go riot in the streets, I mean, it would be to sell oﬀ The National Parks. But even just the ... And I hope that that would never ever happen, but public lands, National Forests, all of that, it really troubles me that that could even be a thought. That you would sell that oﬀ for a quick buck, because it's really ours.
Will Taylor: It's not the answer. Once it's gone, it's gone. Tom Rowland: Right. Once it's gone, it's gone. And you know what? That happens here often, and I will eat my words on this one, because I've seen the marine patrol or any sort of scientist working together with the National Marine Sanctuary, I've seen them close things. They closed Boca Chica Beach in Key West about 20 years ago. And we used to go ﬁsh Boca Chica Beach and you could catch a couple boneﬁsh. There were a few permit there and the tarpon would run through there. They closed it and said that they were going to do ﬁsh counts, okay? They were going to reopen it. Well, they've never reopened it. And there's no reason for that to be closed. They'll close it to you and me going and ﬂinging a feather in there, but 50 jet skis can go and beach their jet skis up on the sandbar and start drinking margaritas. But we can't go through there and catch and release a boneﬁsh.
Will Taylor: And leave the margaritas.
Tom Rowland: It's been closed. It's been closed for 20 years. And it has not reopened. I've seen other places get closed and not reopened. And the scientiﬁc data not be made public, saying, "You know what, we're still studying this area. This is why we still need to keep it closed." That really bothers me. I will eat my words on this though. They closed Joe Bay, up in The Everglades, for 30 years, for crocodiles and just this year they opened it up. Rich and I went back there with paddle boards and went up there. It's a no motor zone, you can't take a boat in there. But you can go in there now for the ﬁrst time in 30 years. And we went up there with paddle boards, and I don't know if we went at the wrong time of the year or what, we didn't see ... I saw two jack crevalles about 20 pounds. Saw four jack crevalles about one pound, and a few mullet and two baby little crocodiles.
Will Taylor: Wow.
Tom Rowland: I don't know what's up with that closure, but I sure am glad it's open. And I don't know why the ﬁsh weren't in there, but they weren't in there and we didn't have good luck. We caught a couple of mangrove snappers and that was it. But that to me, whether we caught ﬁsh in there or not, was huge. That the park service actually reopened that. That was an amazing thing. And I'll eat my words, because I've been saying, "Man, once it closes, it'll never reopen." Right? And I do believe that about, once it's sold oﬀ, you're never getting it back.
Will Taylor: Never.
Tom Rowland: I hope that that's not something ... I don't know that you're dealing with that around the North Georgia area, but you are surrounded with National Forest, and they start selling that oﬀ and building hotels. Not good.
Will Taylor: There's something to be said with it. You could take a hike or do whatever, and you can actually stand in one place and say, "I'm probably the only person to say we've ever been here before."
Tom Rowland: Maybe. Will Taylor: It's possible.
Tom Rowland: Certainly today, or this week, or this month. There's no reason for somebody to go there. Well, we're so fortunate to have so many areas like that throughout the United States. That's one of my favorite things about living in the United States. You look at a state like Idaho on one of those maps where the public lands are green, and Idaho is green. It's as green as that wall right there. It's incredible. I mean, there are vastly more areas that are wild lands, and your land, my land, than there are places that are populated in Idaho.
Tom Rowland: That's why that's probably one of my favorite states, because you could just pretty much get oﬀ the road anywhere and you're in public land. You would almost have to try to trespass in Idaho. But, probably a lot of the good stuﬀ's in ...
Will Taylor: That's probably where a lot of the good stuﬀ is anyway.
Tom Rowland: Well that's cool man. Well I like hearing your story. When you have young people asking you ... They see what you've done, they look at the movies that you're making, they're asking you, "How do they do this?" What do you tell them?
Will Taylor: We were very fortunate just being able to have so many people involved, including my wife, and other family members, and just being able to have a team behind you. We talked about that. Being able to have the creative minds around to be able to do that. What I think is probably the magic, I don't know, maybe the magic equation or algorithm, or whatever you want to call it, is just ... I guess maybe somebody asking me, "How do you do this? What do you do? What is it you think about? What's the type of content that you're looking for?"-
Tom Rowland: I'm not talking about the content so much. I mean, that's something diﬀerent. You want to make a movie? Go make a movie. Right?
Will Taylor: Right.
Tom Rowland: This is more along the lines of ... I get this. You're 35. I get emails from people all the time, "I hate my job. I want to be a ﬁshing guide."
Will Taylor: Gotcha.
Tom Rowland: You have another job, right? Will Taylor: Oh yeah. Tom Rowland: But, at some point you decided you kind of wanted this, but you also have this, your other job. How do you talk to somebody about that's what they have? They've got a regular job. They either want to quit it and be ﬁshing guide, or they want to do what you've done, and really take a risk, and do something diﬀerent. Will Taylor: There's a balance to it. Everything has to have a balance. Tom Rowland: Not in my life. Will Taylor: We try to manage as much as possible, my wife and I, and do everything. But it's a risk. We both just looked at each other and said, "We're jumping into the deep end." We just went all out. And she's my support group, and she's kind of the person that even when I'm saying, "No, no, no, no. It won't work." She's saying, "Yes, yes, yes. It will work." Just have faith in it. Just do it. It's one of those things where anybody can do it. Anybody can do it. If you want to quit your job, and you're miserable at your job, whatever else, I'll tell you what man, there is nowhere else in the world that you feel more alive when you're on the water.
Will Taylor: If you're an angler, and you're on the water, and you're in the creek, and you're in the boat, or whatever it is that you do, there's nothing, nothing that you feel more alive. You make people happy. You're sharing experiences. You're showing people part of your world that nobody would ever see. That's the most rewarding part of it. Think about the end game. Think about, you know what, it's not about going out here and trying to ﬁnd sponsors, and get free shit ... And I'm sorry about that ...
Tom Rowland: Doesn't matter.
Will Taylor: It's not about free stuﬀ. It's not about being on pro stats. It's not about that. It's about enjoying what you do for a living, whatever it is. And if you're an angler, and you're an outdoorsman, ﬁnd something that you enjoy and go after it. It might take a year, it might take two years, it might take ﬁve years, I don't know. I don't have the right answer for that, but what I do have an answer for is, one day when everything just clicks, when everything just comes together and falls together, you're going to stand there, or you're going to be in your boat, or you're going to be with a client, you're going to have a personal moment to yourself.
Will Taylor: And you're going to say, "It was all worth it man," because all the risk, all the ... There's probably times when you're in your ﬁrst part of your career, and you're in a drift boat out west, and you're just sitting there drifting, and you're like, "Man, what am I doing? I don't know if I made the right decision. I've got a wife. I've got a family. I've got a baby on the way. What do I do? It's going to take me a thousand trips to be able to put this kid-"
Tom Rowland: [crosstalk 01:03:51] It wasn't a drift boat out west, it was a redﬁsh tournament in Louisiana, and hurricane coming over Key West. Two little babies and my wife evacuated to a ﬁsh house, and me, not being able to get out of Louisiana, and I'm wondering what am I doing? That was the start of The Saltwater Experience, by the way. Me saying, "I am done with these stupid redﬁsh tournaments. Never doing another one again. You can have it." And driving home, and concepting how can we do something kind of like this, and sleep in our bed every night. That's how we got it started. Will Taylor: That's right. And you talked about that earlier. It's one of those things where we don't know which avenue we're going. We don't know what part of the industry we want to be in. All that good stuﬀ. I think that it's important for people to realize that you can make a diﬀerence. You don't have to be a guide. You don't have to be a ﬁlmmaker. You don't have to be a photographer, to get out here and enjoy these things like we all do. Just be a part of it.
Will Taylor: It's a conversation piece. We can sit down and say, "Oh yeah. This is what I did today. Oh yeah. This is what I did today." Well, if you don't enjoy that, and you don't absolutely love that, then why are you doing it? I know that we have jobs, and we have responsibilities and I do too. Everybody does. But if you can do what you love to do every single day ... Everybody's heard of the cliché, stereotype, you're not really working, but it's true. And until you feel that-
Tom Rowland: It's not really working, but it took 18 hours of your day. Long time. Will Taylor: Long time. Tom Rowland: It just didn't seem like work. Will Taylor: Doesn't seem like work. Tom Rowland: I mean, a ﬁshing guide works. A ﬁshing guide works.
Will Taylor: Guides work. For people that are listening to this, tip your guide, because he is working his ass oﬀ. His job starts at 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM. It doesn't end until 12:00 AM the following day. It's one of those things where we like to show you our world. And if we can do that in any particular way that might be intriguing to others, that's what we're about. Like you said earlier man, it's not about ... I get more enjoyment out of holding a net, and netting ﬁsh, and seeing people smile, and clap, and high ﬁve each other, rather than ever catching a ﬁsh. People ask me all the time ... I'll take buddies ﬁshing, and even now, I'll take buddies to my ﬁshery and wherever else, and they'll be like, "Why aren't you ﬁshing, man?" I'm like, "Dude, I live here man. I can do this every day. You don't."
Tom Rowland: Well that's cool. Well, I have no doubt that you're going to be very successful. All right, we're going to start wrapping this up. So rapid ﬁre. Tell me three things you like to do outside of ﬁshing.
Will Taylor: Oh man. Three things outside of ﬁshing. I mean, at this point in my life ﬁshing consumes my life, so it's very hard to do those three things. But, family's a big priority. It really is, and when you get married, and you have a child on the way, and you have a diﬀerent focus. And I think being a good father and a good husband, I think that's going to be something that I'm really going to be able to enjoy. Something that really ... It's going to change my life for the better. It's going to be one of those things. Will Taylor: But everybody has hobbies. I really enjoy photography. I really enjoy that side of things. It's something that really, really kind of gets me going. I mean, there's nothing that excites me more than just being a part of that whole world. Kind of you guys do. And tacos. Tacos should've been, that should've been the ﬁrst answer. Taco night should be every night.
Tom Rowland: So family, photography-
Will Taylor: And tacos.
Tom Rowland: ... and tacos. Alright, that's cool. Hey, those are three good answers. What's the best piece of advice anybody's ever given you?
Will Taylor: Oh man.
Tom Rowland: It obviously wasn't that good.
Will Taylor: I've been told a lot of things that have kind of really set a stone. But what one person can do another person can do. Don't limit yourself. Don't ever put yourself in this category of, I can't. Just go out and do it man. If you fail, you fail. We all fail. It's one of those things where ... I tell my guides all the time, the guys that are new to the business and everything, I'm like, "Listen man, you're going to fail. You're going to get no's, and you're going to get no's, and you're going to get no's." And when they get that ﬁrst yes it feels that much better. Then you get that second yes, and that third yes.
Will Taylor: But just keep trucking man. Do what you love, and love what you do and things will fall into place. It might not be ... This might not be what you set out to do, might not be the end game. You might ﬁnd a totally diﬀerent path. Chasing that out. That's what's so neat about the ﬁshing industry, and the outdoor industry, you can do absolutely anything you want.
Tom Rowland: That's deﬁnitely good advice, and good advice that you gave others. Proudest accomplishment?
Will Taylor: Oh man. I'm going to have to say my wife since she's in the room. Tom Rowland: You better say your wife because she's in the room. Will Taylor: And my daughter on the way. I mean, it really is. 35 years old, it's family time. It really is my greatest accomplishment. I'm proud of a lot of things, but they all disappear when you think about your family. You've got your family, and you keep them close to your heart, and you're only going to grow as a man, as an individual, and as a family. It's a special time in my life and it's cool to be able to share that with people. It's been a fun ride man. That's for sure.
Tom Rowland: Well, I have no doubt that you're going to be doing very well. I'm very impressed with you. You're well spoken, and you deﬁnitely have got your priorities in line, and I have no doubt that you're going to do some great things in this industry. First thing that you're going to do great is put me on a really big trout, so taking you up on it. We're coming back. We're going to ﬁnish. You're going to have part B of the show that we ﬁlmed today. But anyway, let everybody know how they can get in touch with you and we'll wrap this up.
Will Taylor: You can ﬁnd us on Instagram. It's Fly Shop Co, and my personal is Will Taylor Project. And you can email me at will@ﬂyshopco.com. Website's ﬂyshopco.com as well. Just contact us and book your trip of a lifetime. It's the real deal. The hype's real man.
Tom Rowland: Right on. We'll make sure to do another podcast when we get up there after that. But you're a stud. I appreciate you sitting down with me for a little bit. Appreciate you coming down.
Will Taylor: Anytime.
Tom Rowland: Thank you.
Will Taylor: Thank you brother.
Tom Rowland: Thank you my friend.
Will Taylor: Thank you.
If you have questions, suggestions for other guests or comments, please email Podcast@saltwaterexperience.com