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Dictionary.com defines the word bum as follows: A person who avoids work and sponges on others. A loafer, a hobo, a derelict. On its own, there’s nothing flattering about the term. However, when the word trout precedes it, forming the compound –trout bum, it somehow becomes complimentary. A complimentary classification where trucker hat wearing, PBR tall boy drinking, scraggly bearded dudes with untreatable fishing addictions fall. On the other hand, Jeff Currier keeps a pretty close shave and doesn’t really have a particular hat preference. He likes PBR (short ones and tall ones), but hell, he likes all beer. In other words, Currier breaks the stereotypical mold of the modern trout bum. However, his lifestyle, and the fact that he’s made a career out of chasing all kinds crazy fish in all kinds of crazy places suggests, he’s got the gig pretty well figured out. Let’s face it, Currier is a role model for all of us fledgling trout bums.
A relieable ferry
Jeff Currier with Michael, a Masai warrior, Tanzania
Currier’s passion for all things fishing sparked during a childhood spent on the water with his father and grandfather in Massachusetts. With each experience, what started as a spark grew into a burning desire to eat, sleep, and breath fishing at any cost. Like most us, Currier certainly wasn’t opposed to tying into fish of trophy proportions but what really fascinated him was catching, examining and releasing as many different species as he possibly could. Man, back in those days, I was like a mini-fish biologist, he says. Variety is still his thing. Checking new species off his list is his main motivation to travel the world and explore new fisheries and figure out how to hook and land the world’s most elusive species. If that means drinking fermented mare’s milk in Mongolia (that’s right, fermented horse milk), slurping broth made from sheep hooves in Sudan or sleeping in a bivy sack with a sling pack for a pillow in the middle of tiger country in India, all the better. The stamps in his passport suggest an occupation of an international spy or a high profile foreign diplomat of some kind but in reality, Currier lives a pretty simple life. He’s likes to fish and welcomes all border crossings that offer any species he hasn’t crossed off his list.
Jeff with a river monster
Currier admits his angling career is a textbook example of the cliche’if you follow your passion, the rest will follow. After high school, Currier attended college in Wisconsin, a decision based primarily on his curiosity of muskie, a curiosity that nearly put a halt on getting his hands on a Naturalist degree. I started college with the intentions of studying hard and acquiring a solid degree in something like Wildlife management but what can I say man, I had a pretty severe fishing habit so I opted to get the easiest degree my school offered which is why I went for the naturalist diploma. Finally holding a degree with his name on it, Currier’s next career move was to move to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to officially embark on his career as a trout bum. In 1987, such an occupation didn’t exactly pay the bills so he eventually found work at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop which he states was the first step to being able to do what he does today. I worked at the shop from ’87 to 09′ and during that period, somehow, I managed to work as much as most people fish but at the same time, I also managed to fish as much as most people worked. It really exposed me to a lot of people and trips abroad and over the years, my calendar just became more and more booked.Currier rolled the dice and chose an unconventional path for sure. However, since his journey began, he’s tallied over 350 fly caught species. In his mind, he’s far from done. The places he’s seen, the fisheries he’s fished and the untold number of stories, cultural experiences, international freak out moments and lifelong friends he’s made along the way prove that sometimes, the road less traveled is the most rewarding road to choose.