Blue Collar Flyfishing is the internet home of writer, mariner, and alright guy Aaron Reed.
Aaron was born in Nacogdoches, Texas, in the spring of the year of Woodstock, shortly before humans first stepped foot on the moon. He regrets that he remembers neither event.
He grew up in Rockport, Texas, where he was frequently told to “go outside and play” and “don’t come inside until dinner time.” A bicycle, a small boat, a collection of fishing rods, and a small-town population that seemed to all be some variety of family or to have grown up with his parents facilitated near-endless opportunities to explore the woods, ponds, and bays of the middle Texas Gulf coast.
In the fall of 1987, Aaron matriculated at the University of Dallas, a small, Catholic, liberal arts college, where he studied rugby, beer, and girls. Also English and History. At the conclusion of his second junior year, after the year he spent in a religious community in Connecticut, he took an internship in Washington, D.C., which turned into a real job. His leave of absence from UD continues to this day.
Over the next nearly 30 years, Aaron would deploy to 12 different countries as an Army reservist, work as a daily newspaper writer, and write for a bunch of regional outdoor publications, mostly about fishing, paddling, and boats. Along the way, he won some obscure awards, including US Army Europe Military Journalist of the Year and a couple of Texas Outdoor Writers Association Excellence in Craft awards and some other stuff you’ve also never heard of.
During that time, he worked for four years as a regional public information officer for Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services, first in Central Texas and later in South Texas, and another four years as a press officer and news editor at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (17 days, including landfall, during Hurricane Ike in Chambers and Galveston Counties was a lowlight).
If Aaron has a touch of PTSD, it probably comes from those experiences (especially the dead babies and broken families he saw at CPS) rather than the burning houses and mass grave sites he witnessed in Bosnia-Herzegovina back in 1996.
By 2010, Aaron was working as a writer-editor for the Department of Veterans Affairs, wearing a coat and tie to his sixth floor corner office, writing the overnight reports to Secretary Shinseki chronicling the agency’s failures and near misses. It was a bummer, and it wasn’t long before Aaron was in the hospital himself with a bleeding ulcer.
Like Ishmael, and for many of the same reasons, Aaron quietly took to sea. He was one of the first persons to be certified as a wildlife guide in Texas and operated eco-tours and birding and fishing charters in deep South Texas before succumbing to the siren call of industry (and the need to feed the family) and shipping out as a crewboat and offshore supply vessel captain in the Gulf of Mexico. Today he spends half of each year on a harbor tug, docking and sailing ships at Harbor Island, Ingleside, and Corpus Christi.
The other half of the year, you’ll find him at home in Georgetown, just north of the Lone Star State’s capital, fishing Central Texas streams with some of the most interesting people in the world, among whom he counts his three sons.
Aaron is a former board member of the Angler Action Foundation (formerly the Snook Foundation), where he was deeply involved in developing the iAngler app. He co-founded and currently serves as a director of the Texas Streams Coalition.
Aaron’s first book, Fly Fishing Austin and Central Texas, will be published May 7, 2020, by Imbrifex Books.
His stories and photos have appeared in Southwest Fly Fishing, This is Fly, Kayak Angler, Texas Outdoors Journal, Texas Sporting Journal, Texas Fish & Game, Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine, Lone Star Outdoor News, Austin American-Statesman, Austin Business Journal, the Taylor Press, Soldiers magazine, Leatherneck magazine, Liguorian magazine, The Washington Times, and elsewhere.