Biggie’s Bugs and Guides
Welcome to Biggie’s Bugs and Guides. I hope to share my passion for Family, Friendship’s, Montana, Fly Tying and Fly fishing with you in the pages of this site. Many pages will be changing and evolving over time as I share my journey through life with all of you. Some of the pages contain information about how the fishing has been, my outfitting business and my love of fly tying. I encourage you to take a look around and contact me with any questions, comments or ideas that you would like to see in addition to what I have provided.
The first question that most people want to know is where the name “Biggie” comes from. Many people believe it is from my appearance as a middle aged overweight father or two, which is not too far off base. Others have commented on it being my caring personality. The name really came from my good friend and fishing buddy Eric Paulson. Eric and I met just after college and soon became great friends. Eric and I have spent thousands of miles together in drift boats chasing whatever insect was on the soup de jour, drinking far too much beer, breaking equipment and living as Trout Bums. After spending a few days chasing Salmonflies on the Bighole we made one of our customary stops at a fast food drive thru late in the evening. I needed some food to soak up all the beer and the only place still open was Wendy’s. I ordered my meal and had it “Biggie” sized. The nickname stuck and rather than fight the inevitable I embraced it and have used it to my advantage since that faithful night in Butte America!
With that out of the way, now it’s time for “The Rest of the Story”.
I fell in love with fly fishing as a young boy when I found on old Eagle Claw Spin/Flyfish combo rod in my neighbors garage. Armed with the rod, reel filled with only backing and a prince nymph I jumped on my bike and made the 5 mile trek down the gravel road to the Eagle River. I caught and landed two brown trout and have been a fly fishing addict since the first fish ate my fly.
After completing my drivers exam I drove my mother to the fly shop and showed Glenn my license. He told me to come back to the shop the next week and he would put me to work. I was ecstatic to have a job offer at the fly shop and even more excited to not have to work for my father cleaning up his construction sites. The shop was seasonal so I worked a few days to get trained on some of the operational procedures and I could not wait for the winter to come to end so that I could be at my job full time.
The first summer I spent most of my time in the retail shop but got to take fill in guide trips when we were really busy. I continued to work for the shop as both a shop hand and as a guide throughout High School and when I choose Montana State University for College I was promoted to the Guide Service Manager for the following season. I worked for Gore Creek Fly Fisherman for the next 3 summers and then I decided that Montana would become my new permanent home.
After completing my last guide season in Colorado I went to work for Simms manufacturing their new breathable waders. After spending a winter in the plant I took a job working in Montana Troutfitters Fly shop as a store clerk. It was a great time in my life because the shop afforded me a paycheck along with plenty of time to fish. That summer I fished 94 days in a row and had the time of my life.
I worked in the shop for another season and as the summer came to an end I was scheduled to attend the Fly Tackle Dealers show in Denver with the owner of the shop. Just before we were scheduled to leave for Denver I was told that he was selling the shop and that he was not going to make the trip. I had already scheduled to take the trip and visit my folks after the show so I headed to Denver. My father came down to the show and I mentioned that Dave was selling the shop. My father mentioned that one of the people he built a home for was looking for a business venture to help write off some of his personal income and maybe he would be interested in investing in the store. I didn’t pay it much attention at the time but a few weeks later I was in the middle of negotiations to purchase Montana Troutfitters. We closed on the purchase in the spring of that year and at 26 years old I was part owner and full operator of the retail fly shop as well as the outfitting business.
Over the next 7 years I operated the business, which was great during the summer but tough on ones sole in the winter. During the time of owning the shop I met and married my wife Moira. We added to our family a couple of years later with our son Reece’s birth and Moira did all the books for the business. With the 7th season under our belts we were struck by tragedy when the primary investor of the business passed away unexpectedly. We were all in shock over his passing and unsure of where to go from there with the business. We were approached by a couple of people who were interested in buying the business and with the loss of our friend and partner along with wanting to have more time to spend with my family we decided to negotiate a fair price. We sold the store that winter and I stayed on to help manage the store for the first summer for the new owners.
I eventually left the store and set out on my own as a fishing outfitter so that I could get out from behind the counter and back on the river where I belong. My son is now in Kindergarten and we added a daughter this past June. So far life has been a great adventure and I look forward to sharing my love for the outdoors, Montana and fishing with my children in the years to come.