• Meet Our Ambassador Matt Shaw
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Meet Our Ambassador Matt Shaw

Our good friend Matt of @mattshawcreative is always venturing out with us and you can often find the Western Rise crew and Matt meeting up for a weekend on the river.

He recently shot this short film sharing the Western Rise story in a bit more detail. So, we recently sat down with Matt to share a bit more if his story with you. 

Name: Matt Shaw

Where I Live: Nashville, Tennessee

What I Do for a Living: I am a Freelance Photographer and Filmmaker.

Beer or Whiskey? Beer, especially a good IPA.

What are you listening to right now?

I listen to a lot of old soul and R'n B as well as some new stuff. My favorites being Brian Mcknight, Boyz II Men, and Allen Stone. 

What three things do you always have in your pack for fly fishing, aside from your fishing gear? 

I typically like to keep my pack as light as possible so I don't carry many extra things with me when I fish.The two essential things that I do have with me however are my camera and a water bottle. If there ever is a third thing to pack, it would be a hard shell to block the wind and rain.

Can you give us a fly fishing tip for fall?

For the late fall months and winter I have found that if I dress for the occasion then add one extra layer I am going to stay warmer throughout the course of the day. You might be a little toasty on the hike in, but once you've been standing in the cold water and your heart rate begins to settle you notice the difference in warmth. Also a good hard shell/rain jacket to block the cold wind goes along. Give it a shot.

Tell us something about yourself we wouldn't likely learn unless we spent a day outdoors together? 

I'm super into Karaoke. Nashville being the music city that it is has tons of great karaoke bars and I go to them quite often. My go to and crowd pleaser is "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly.

Do you have any role models, people who have made a big influence on your life?

My dad will always be my role model. He has taught me more about life and growing up than anyone ever will. I can always count on him to help me out when I need it. He is an avid fisherman himself and bought me my first fly rod. However. I am still working on getting him into the sport of fly fishing. He loves to bass fish.

How did you get into/learn fly fishing?

I grew up an avid bass fisherman. For the longest time all I wanted to be when I got older was a professional bass fisherman. I used to wake up early on Saturday mornings and watching bass fishing on TV late into the afternoon.

It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I picked up a fly rod. A group of 8 students, including myself, and 2 teachers took a trip to the Ozarks to fly fish for 5 days. I knew I always wanted to get into fly fishing, but living in Chicago there wasn't really anywhere to go. It wasn't until I moved to Tennessee and realized there was a big fly fishing community here that I got really into it.

I worked at a local gear shop called Cumberland Transit. In the fly shop of Cumberland Transit, a local legend by the name of Ronnie Howard or "Grumpy" is responsible for most everything I know about the sport. I used to sneak away from my post at the store and run over to the fly shop to pick his brain. He is a great friend of mine and we frequently get out on the Caney Fork and fish together. I still stop by the shop all the time to hang out with him and pick his brain.

How do you Trust the Wild? 

There's no better way to feel alive than to be outside. It heightens every sense. I think inherently humans have a desire to explore, to create, to love, and to test our limits to the best of our abilities. I think we lose site of this a lot in our day to day lives, but I am always reminded of these desires when I am outside.

The wilderness clears the mind, it has this magical way of making you so hungry for more, but also completely satisfying you, bringing you an overwhelming sense of peace. To me I can always count on that, and therefore I trust the wild.


Photography and words by Matt Shaw

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