Adam Franceschini is a fly fishing guide who guides on waters throughout the United States. In addition to guiding, Adam is also a pro for Sage. He recently sat down to take on some questions for the Venturing Angler:
Why do you guide where you do?
Targeting technical water with wild trout on a fly rod is my passion. I am fortunate to be able to rotate my fishing between Tikchik Narrows Lodge in Bristol Bay, Alaska; West Branch Anglers on the Delaware River in N.Y.; and the South Holston River Lodge in Bristol, TN. The waters fished in these locations allow me to hunt big wild trout that are not easy to catch! Another good thing about these outfitters is I am just a short flight away from my home in Charleston, S.C.
What is your favorite fish species?
It has got to be wild trout, both browns and rainbows. Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to chase peacock bass in Brazil, largemouth bass in Mexico, redfish in the Carolinas, tarpon in Florida, bonefish in the Bahamas and tuna in Mexico, but there’s something about big wild trout that excites me.
What is your favorite thing about guiding?
Helping my clients be more successful at playing the game. Each day you are hunting the fish and trying to get it to react to the fly. For me there is nothing better than floating down the river hunting for that next opportunity with my guests.
What is the most memorable trip you’ve guided and why?
Every year I have the opportunity to guide veterans from different organizations and on one particular trip, I was on the main stem of the Delaware River in New York with two veterans in my boat. One was from the Vietnam War and the other was from the War in Afghanistan. We had stopped for lunch and as we were eating our sandwiches, the vet in the back looked up and saw two bald eagles. He immediately pointed at them and asked if they were, in fact, bald eagles. Because I see them quite often throughout the year, I replied yes. He then said it was the first time he had seen bald eagles in the wild. It’s moments like this that remind me of how lucky I am to work outside and to witness the impact nature has on others. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that it’s not always about the numbers at the end of the day.
What is the funniest thing you’ve experienced while guiding?
I was fishing the Delaware River with my buddy who was in the area for work. I happened to have a day off so we decided to chase the hatch down on the main stem. We put in and started the day off fishing streamers, anticipating an afternoon of dry fly fishing. I let my buddy fish first, as I could see the excitement in his face, since it’s a rare opportunity for him to get in a boat, having a family and all. So, I started on the oars as we began hitting the banks with streamers and catching up. The bite was super slow and out of boredom my buddy decides he wants to row me down the river. I know that he doesn’t have much experience on the oars but to have a day off to fish with my buddy doesn’t happen very often so I agree. And he’s going to row me down the river, so how could this be bad. For the next hundred yards down the river the boat is 360ing. I’m trying to instruct him and by his reaction you would’ve thought I was speaking a foreign language. Before things got too crazy, I jumped back on the oars and we continue fishing our way down river. All of a sudden, he gets a fish on the streamer and before he could even tire the fish out he starts screaming, as if the world were ending, “Get the net!!!” He’s reaching for his camera and is looking around to see who else is watching, as I try to calm him down. I scooped up the fish in the net and with his hands shaking he removes the hook then fumbles to get his phone camera ready. In his excitement, he reaches down, grabs the fish then stretches out his arm and drops one of my 890-4 Sage X rods directly out of the boat and into the middle of the river. He was holding it under his arm and doesn’t realize it happened, as he went into his “grip and grin” pose. I yell, “Dude what the $%@&”!! He drops the fish back into the water and proceeds to follow, diving headfirst for the rod. Somehow, he manages to just barely grab the rod and still hold onto the bow of the boat. Without the strength to pull himself back in, he asked me to give him a hand. I reached down as if I was going to help him but instead snatched my rod out of his hand and made sure it was safe. I struggled to row over to the shore because my ClackaCraft is doing reverse wheelies. I drop the anchor and he manages to wiggle himself back into the front seat. I start crying from laughing so hard watching all of this, as he sat up there like a wet albino walrus. He made one hell of a hood ornament as we finished out our float.
What makes your guide service great?
I feel it’s my work ethic. Over the years I’ve been a guide on some pretty talented rosters, many of which had multiple guides on staff that had more than two decades on their respected systems. These guides, although excellent fishermen, earned greatness through hard work. When you mention the word “great” around them, the conversation instantly changes to something other than themselves and their success. I started working as a guide trainee and an entry-level job in a fly shop, eventually getting to where my rotation is now. These guides were certainly willing to share their knowledge, but they were not going to give it away. I am always striving to be better so that I can provide the best experience for my guests. At the end of the day, it’s all about them.
If you had only one day off all year, where would you fish and what fish would you target?
Tough question. I am going to steal one here with two answers. I would love to chase roosterfish from the beach or go to Mongolia to fish for taiman.
What are your favorite three flies?
Dolly Lama — it’s a fish magnet. Although it’s not always the easiest fly to cast, I’ve seen trout, salmon, and other Alaskan species make a beeline across the river to eat it. The Skinny Nelson-It’s a pattern that works on many different streams including freestones, tail waters, and spring creeks. Its one fly I definitely have a lot of confidence in. Finally, a cripple pattern-it’s hard for trout to resist an easy target floating down the pool.
What is the one piece of gear you couldn’t bear to leave at home?
I think, for any one that has spent a day on the water with me, they would tell you I would be lost without a trusty cigar cutter.
Do you have any other passions?
Besides fishing, I love spending time with my 23 pound Boston Terrier named Stella. I am also a foodie. I love going home to experience the great restaurants in Charleston and entertaining friends and family at the house.
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