Local fly fishing legends of the past & future

Each week we will share an interview with a local fly fisherman that has done many things for the sport.


This week we highlight Robin Lewis. Founding member of Team F3, man of faith, and a very good trout fisherman.



Tu640: What was the first fish you remember catching? How old were you?



Robin: I have been fishing most of my life that I can remember. Probably the first fish I can remember catching was with my Dad in some ponds in Chattanooga Valley (Flintstone). Most of the ponds are no longer there when they built the new road they filled them in. I was probably around 6 or 7 years old and we would catch blue gill and bream. It was the biggest blue gill I have ever and can remember catching to this day



Tu640: At what age did you start fly fishing?



Robin: I was 47 the first time I ever fly fished. It was April 2014 when my daughter Micah out of the blue said "hey dad will you take me fly fishing" so me being Dad started checking around and got in touch with R&R Fly Fishing in Townsend TN. Not knowing anything at all about it we set up a trip with Charity Rutter in July of 2014. 30 minutes into the trip she had both me and daughter casting and catching fish. She and her husband Ian are great guides and teachers of the sport. That's when my obsession started. 



Tu640: What is your favorite species of fish to target?



Robin: Wild trout is my favorite species especially the wild brown trout. I have been chasing a big wild brown for about 3 years now and it keeps eluding me. My biggest wild brown is about 17 inches. I am still chasing that 20 plus inch wild brown. I have seen them and I have fished for them but have not been able to catch one. Have caught plenty of stock fish that size but not the wild Leroy Brown.....



Tu640: What's your favorite river to fish? What makes it so special?



Robin: Favorite river....man that is a tough one. I have many that I love to fish. If I have to pick one I'm going to say the upper Nantahala. Its such a great stream with a healthy population of wild fish. I have had some amazing days fishing there. 



Tu640: What is your favorite method of fly fishing and why?



Robin: My favorite method of fly fishing is euro nymphing. I feel it allows me to cover more water and different depths of the water column. Whether running a single nymph size 18 or running 2 flies. I just love to nymph as much of the water as I can. I have been nymphing more and more with a single nymph with the water being so heavily fished now. 



Tu640: How did you get involved in competitive fly fishing?



Robin: I started fishing with a young angler that my daughter graduated school with Chase Turner. As he and I started fishing together more and more we got to talking about the comps and meeting some the comp anglers and thought it might be something fun to to try. 



Tu640: What’s the best part of competing? Most challenging?



Robin: The best part of competition to me is the fellowship with the other anglers. I have loved meeting and making new friends on the competition scene and getting to hang out with and getting to know them. The biggest challenge for me competing is a blown knee. Man this sport is full of young anglers who never step on a rock on the bottom of the river and I fall over every one them. I'm one of the older guys at 53 (but by age only) but I still get around. These young men and young anglers can move and cover water and a lot of it like it's nothing. 



Tu640: Are you on a team, and if so, can you tell us why you chose said team?



Robin: After competing in several, well many comps with my partner Brayton Bird we were starting to get some attention from teams in the region. We were asked by a few teams to consider joining them and after thoughts of those teams, who are great guys and anglers, its just not what we were looking for. After fishing many more comps with Brayton and Chase we decided to try to start our own team. After several months of that I had met a guy Shawn Issacs who was a part of another team. We really hit it off and decided we would fish a comp together. As a few months passed Shawn and I started talking about what we would like to have in a competitive team. As the talks continued we started talking to other anglers some on teams and some not and they were also looking for something different. So I talked to Chase and Brayton, Shawn talked to a few of his guys and we decided to give it a go. So after a few days of planning we met in Johnson City at Roger Wilson's along with about 8 other guys and Team F3 was born. We all decided that we wanted to be a part of a faith based team and hopefully to be an example of our Christ through our team. Our goal as a competitive team is to be the most competitive team in the SEFFL but also be a team the would be different in the way we do what we do. We want to be there for the men and young men we compete with and against. Even though we want to be competitive and win the league our main goal is to be fishers of men. So Matthew 4:19 became our purpose,  it says "come follow me and I will make you become fishers of men". Team F3 is made up of like minded men of the Christian faith and we just have the opportunity to share the good news. Team F3 stands for Faith Family and Fly Fishing. They are in that order for a reason and that's because of the importance of each. 



Tu640:Who had the greatest impact on you as an angler?



Robin: I have 2 people that has had a huge influence on me as an angler. My partner Brayton Bird and Chase Turner. These two young men are great men and incredible anglers. I have learned so much from each of them and they have pushed me in ways they don't even know about to become a better angler. I love spending time on the water with them. 



Tu640: Your go-to gear and rig?



Robin: My go to rig is my Douglas DXF 2wt 10' with Lamson Speedster reel with a custom nymph line with a stretch mono core from one my teammates Roger Wilson the owner of Eat Sleep Fly Fishing. 



Tu640: Do you remember the first competition you were in and how did you do?



Robin: The first competition I fished was the Casting Carolina in Cherokee on the Raven Fork. I had just met Cody Fischer a few weeks before that and he and I fished it and we finished 2nd...in the amateur division.



Tu640: What's the most memorable competition moment you've had and why?



Robin: The most memorable moment in a competition was 2 years ago Brayton and I were fishing in the Gold Cup Championship. We were fishing on the Soque River in Clarksville, GA and it was my fist time there. We were in a session and I hooked at least 10 fish and every hook set the fish would run and just start jumping and tail walking on the water. To this day I say they fed them gun powder before we got in the water. I broke off all 10 fish. 



Tu640: What is your favorite competition you've been in and why?



Robin: My favorite competition I had the opportunity to fish Mountain Town Creek with Chase Turner. It has been one of the most favorite creeks i have fished. Its a private creek fished very little with absolute stud fish. We ended up winning that tournament.



Tu640: What's the biggest fish you've caught in competition and highest place in a tournament?



Robin: Biggest fish I've caught in a tournament has been a 55cm (21 1/2). Those are fun for sure but would rather have a lot of 35cm instead. I have fished 1st in one tournament. 



Tu640: If you could fish anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?



Robin: I would love to go to Bolivia and fish for the Golden Dorado. I think it would be an amazing experience to catch one on the fly. 



Tu640: Best ways you’ve found to improve your skills?



Robin: The best way I have found for me to improve my skills is to spend all the time in the water that I can. When I do go out just for practice I usually work on one thing. At times its throwing all natural flies and no junk. Sometimes its going and working on single nymph and targeting wild fish and other times just to work on casting. The most important thing for me is to always to try to improve on something every time I'm in the water. 



Tu640: Biggest things competition guys do that casual anglers do not?



Robin: I think the competition guys for the most part try to continue to learn more and more about the sport and the latest materials and gear to try to stay a step ahead. When I was just rec fishing I didn't do that. I had a setup and flies that caught fish and that was all that mattered then. That don't work on the 2nd day and last session of the tournament. You have to continually be learning.



Tu640: Your advice for someone thinking of competing?



Robin: My advice to someone thinking about competing is to first go and watch a comp. If you want to learn more go and volunteer to be a controller so you can really get close to and watch anglers. A controller will tell the angler when to start fishing, measure and record fish caught, let them know how much time is left in their session (if they want you to. Some guys do not want the controllers to talk to them or stay close to them just tell them how much time is left) and when their time has expired. 



Tu640: Name one thing that no one knows about you.



Robin: The one thing that no one knows about me is that I use to be an introvert. I really am a quite person that can be a loner with no problem at all. 



Tu640: What are your other passions and what does the future hold for you?



Robin: My other passions are cooking on my Big Green Eggs (I have 3 of them). I have the opportunity to cook some with Smokey Boys Grilling from time to time. My wife and I love to camp. We have ordered us a new camper and going to retire the tent. 


I hope the future for me will be able to comp fish a few more years and to continue to grow as an angler, a friend, a mentor, a better husband to my wife of 30 years, a better father to my to girls but most importantly to grow into a deeper relationship and walk with Jesus Christ. TEAMF3