I’m late. The horn sounded. I’m not at my beat. It’s over, I’m going to finish in last. Pull it together Coach, what would you tell your team? Do your thing. Finish strong. Focus. Outwork.
Calm down. Cast. Watch. Focus. There’s the pull. Set the hook. Fish on! Patience. Stay focused. Land it. now SCREAM!!! I have just landed the biggest fish of the event and it will put me in the top 10. Rejuvenated. Excitement. Proud.
My name is Jason Mattick, and I am a professional fly angler, high school math teacher, head football coach, father and husband. To say my plate is full is an understatement, but I made it. Maybe it shouldn’t be “I”, this year has been a “team” effort and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my amazing wife, friends, family, and sponsors.
This time last year I was offered a membership on the inaugural season of the Professional Fly Angler Tour. In order for me to be successful on this Tour, I would have to find a support team and train to compete with the best anglers in the world. I was fortunate enough to find such people to help prepare me. However, the real challenge, finding the time to train while still being a teacher, coach, father, and husband. Time management became a must.
My weekdays consisted of my “real” job, teaching high school math. I love my job. I get to work with youth daily. I get to challenge them to become better mathematicians, but more importantly, challenge them to be better thinkers and better people. As a teacher, my job presents different challenges daily. It keeps me on my toes. The highlight of my job is getting inside of teens minds and finding ways to get them to understand the subject that everyone dreads. When I announced that I was a Pro Fly Angler to my students, they were so stoked and supportive of me. They always asked how the journey was going and when I was competing. They were my biggest fans! I couldn’t of been successful this past year without the support of my students and colleagues.
Come mid-afternoon the gears shifted as I dedicated a couple hours a day to training for the PFA. There were days I was in the gym, days I was running, and most often, days I was found on the river. Only having a couple hours each afternoon forced me to become a more efficient an organized angler. I had to have my gear organized and easy to use so I could get on the water as quickly as possible to maximize my fishing time. While in the river, I had to be efficient and quick too. As time went along, I got quicker at changing flies, catching fish, landing them, and moving to new water. All of these skills were a necessity for being successful during competitions. Often times, I would set a timer for 20 minutes, and would have to fish and move every 20 minutes to simulate the competition set-up.
Once my training time ended each day, it was time to be a dad and husband, my most important job. Off I went to pick up the kids from daycare, or head home to help with dinner. I had to find the last, and best, bit of energy I had to give to my kids and wife. Dinner, baths, reading, a show or two, and bedtime was normal routine at our house. My wife and I make the best team in the world! I can’t say it enough, this past year would not have been what it was without the love and support of my wife. She knew I was passionate about fly fishing and wanted to train to do my best. Sometimes she shook her head at what I accomplished between school and picking up the kids, but she knew I was determined to outwork my opponents. At the end of each day, we were both amazed at what we accomplished with our day.
It’s the Championships on the Conejos River in Colorado. 25 of the world’s best anglers are back together to fish for the title. I can’t believe I am here.
My journey over the last year has led to this. I am proud of where I come from. I am just regular guy now competing against full-time anglers and fishing guides. Hard work, dedication, time management, and love from many has got me to this point.
Horn sounds. Wade carefully. Focus. Thoughts of my kids. My wife. My friends. My job. Smile. Enjoy. You are fishing. You made it. Your journey was epic. Epic.
A special thanks to Nature’s Bakery for believing in me and my journey this past year. They were by my side the entire time. Providing much needed energy from their bars on and off the river. So much love and energy from outstanding folks. Cheers!