Josh Laferty of Rock On Charters guides out of Roanoke, Virginia on the James and New Rivers, among others for a range of freshwater fish. Laferty recently sat down to take on some questions for the Venturing Angler:
Why do you guide where you do?
I was born and raised in Southwestern Virginia, the three major fisheries that I guide on are waters I’ve been fishing for over 30 years, with that being said it’s an extremely diverse area, and has some amazing opportunities. Blue ribbon fisheries nestled within the shadows of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.
What is your favorite fish specie?
Virginia musky! Hands down, the hunt for these predators offers excitement and reward for the dedicated angler. Huge streamers, aggressive eats, hard not to be passionate about that!
What is your favorite thing about guiding?
The Ah-Hah moment that a client has, it could be the understanding of a hidden current break or transition and how to approach the swing, or maybe that “trigger” for a big mountain musky that has eluded their fly until that one perfect twitch, twitch, pause. The look on a persons face when they finally get their hands on that one fish, the utter happiness, the smile and handshake that ensues, that’s great stuff!
What is the most memorable trip you’ve guided and why?
My very first trip as a guide. It wasn’t like a blowout day or anything real heavy, a good solid day of striper fishing by any standard, but it was my first, a new chapter, riddled with excitement and nervous for the future. I took the plunge, whole hog, and haven’t looked back!
What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while guiding?
There used to be a domestic duck that begged for bait from the striper boats, while we were drifting and throwing streamers he would ride along and rest on my swim platform, then quack and head out when a bait rig got close enough.
What makes your guide service great?
#1 our clients, #2 our guides and their unbridled passion for what we do, #3 our fisheries and what’s done by the VDGIF and everyday anglers throughout the state.
If you had only one day off all year, where would you fish and what fish would you target?
What I would give to be 18 again, on a particular farm pond from my past that held largemouth fishing second to none, sun shining, shirt off, not a care in this world. One of those places where the stars were always aligned and the 5 wts are always bent!
What are your favorite three flies?
That’s a tough question … my gut answer, three go to flies: Bergeson’s Single Demon, Chocklett’s Game Changer, and big honkin musky doubles!
What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?
Sunglasses, sunscreen, long sleeves, etc! Take care of yourself out there, and hang around longer to enjoy what you love!
Do you have any other passions?
Horses, my wife Allison, my daughter Ellie and I own and operate a working horse farm and equestrian training facility. It’s a wonderful way of life, and one that affords a connection with the outdoors just like guiding, as well as good clean fun and old fashioned hard work.
To check out more from Josh Laferty and Rock On Charters, please click here.
Disclosure: Rock On Charters is in a professional relationship with the Fly Fishing Guide Directory, LLC and the Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.