One hot Summer day, my good friend's Dad (Rick Lopez) got myself, his son, and his two nephews out to the Trinity River. I was 14 at the time. Rick taught me the basics and was easy on coaching me, all it took was one easy going trip (for me, probably not Rick), and me witnessing Rick land a big chrome summer run steelhead, and I was hooked. Next thing I knew I was learning knots from him and getting advice on which budget rod combo kit I should ask for Christmas. When our great family friend, and longtime fly fisher Mike Kaul showed me how to tie a fly, and took me on a trip to Lake Amador that winter, the deal was sealed. After 2 trips I was hooked for life. Pretty sure I was hooked for life after my first trip with Rick though... My perspective on the outdoors began to change, and my appreciation for nature drastically grew each year from that point on.
When I really started fly fishing more, I got to know the local Fly Shop owner Toby Uppinghouse, and his part time employee/college student (Ryan Johnston). Ryan really helped me step my fly game to another level at a young age. When he got his drift boat and began his guiding career, Ryan introduced me to the world of boating, and when I saved enough and purchased a 2 man pontoon boat at the age of 16, Ryan spent allot of time teaching me the Sac much further. I all of a sudden had a ton of new water to learn and it was pretty much game over for me from there on. That's my little background as to how I really got into fly fishing...
Cast Hope is always looking for help in one way or another. If you know a child, or children that could benefit from us, if you're interested in mentoring, would like to contribute financially, or whatever else, click the button below. The organization appreciates any kind of support big or small.
Ryan Johnston, along with Hogan Brown have since founded Cast Hope. Cast Hope is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that gets kids out on fly trips, who would otherwise most likely not have the opportunity get out fly fishing. Each Cast Hope trip, a child and mentor are paired with a great guide who gets them out on a fully outfitted boat.
I'm very proud to say that I'm one of the guides now working for Cast Hope. It's awesome to work under Ryan, someone who has been so influential in my life. But most of all this is some of the most rewarding time I've ever spent on the water by a long shot. It's a great feeling teaching kids to fly fish, but it's an even better feeling simply getting kids outdoors who otherwise might not have too many other opportunities to do so.
I know all it takes is one trip outdoors to create a pivotal point in a young person's life. A planted seed is all it takes. Cast Hope, not only helps plant a seed, but the Organization outfits MANY of the kids with rods, reels, gear, flies, clothing, canteens nicer than any I currently own, and ALLOT more. Many of the kids go on all sorts of different single day or multi day camp trips throughout Northern California and stay with Cast Hope for years. Many great bonds have been created and solidified through these trips. I take allot of pride in my work here, these are some great experiences for the kids, mentors, and us guides alike.