OUR STORY

The Origin

In the Summer of 1996, the number one song on the Billboard chart was Macarena by Los Del Rio. Music was in transition; some would say a slump. We would fall in the latter camp. Pretty much sums up where we were in life.

We each needed a slump buster. Our jobs were meaningless and exhausting. While one of us was in a soul crushing relationship and the beginning stages of sobriety, the other was dealing with a recent divorce and in the beginning stages of making meaning. At the time, we were blinded by these “slumps.” However, one new idea would profoundly change our lives, creating new beginnings and a beautiful tradition. Frankly, we never imagined what this tradition would become.

The idea came from a men’s magazine. Our Chief Planner, Joe, mentioned that he read an article in a since forgotten magazine, about a group of guys dedicated to a fishing trip every year. Looking for a way to add some positivity to our lives, the idea festered.

One week night before closing up the bar where we worked, Guys Fishing Weekend was born. “GFW” as we now affectionately call it, was created to be an affordable 4-day men’s weekend in the mountains of Colorado, doing something we really enjoyed: Fishing.

Two Guys Holding Fly Rods

Two men in 1996 had the crazy idea to take a trip…

The Crew

On the fateful first GFW, there were three of us. Through the years, that number grew and shrunk and grew and shrunk. We figured out the difficulty involved in building and retaining a quality group of guys to share time with. As the years progressed, we saw many different faces come and go, which ultimately culminated in the six mainstays who regularly attend now.

In the early trips, inviting someone to join us consisted of a grand total of three questions: Do they fish? Do they play poker? And maybe, do they snore? If the answer was “yes” to the first two, the invite got the thumbs up. But after some friends found other life priorities or drifted apart, we began to understand there was more to this than just getting away for a weekend of fishing. We weren’t sure what we stumbled across, but we started to understand there was something more “meaningful” about this time we spent together.

Our commitment to the mission of GFW, includes a willingness to throw out the welcome mat for newcomers; that’s a big reason why we are starting this venture. But the invite to a Noob isn’t something to be taken lightly and requires a discussion…out of respect for all six who sacrifice to make this weekend happen. And while GFW is a relaxing, joy filled weekend, it does require sacrifice from all of our families. This isn’t lost on us.

The Event

What started as a competition, originally had River Day and Boat Day. Awards were given for First Fish, Largest Fish and Most Fish. The main tenets of the trip were to create a long weekend 5-star vacation, with great accommodations, home cooked restaurateur feasts, a variety of cocktails, gold medal water worthy fishing, and backroom gambling, all for the lowest price point possible to encourage the greatest number of our main friends to attend. An under-promise, over-delivery of sorts.

At the start, finding a cabin in the mountains was easy enough. A long forgotten time before hundreds in cleaning fees while also being asked to mop. The accommodations were cheaper, let’s just say that.

One man managed all the food, creating a ceremonial routine of shopping and meal prepping during the week before departure. Eat good, fish good some say.

The night cap was always poker. With a steep buy-in of $5 (not inflation adjusted), many men have left “how am I going to tell my wife” poor, while others have walked away with enough wealth to buy a half tank of gas (inflation adjusted). Much more about the moment than the money, but victory is still so sweet.

Historically, the trip began and ended with a road trip. Partly because gas was under $0.99/gallon, but also because it created more connection surface area. Our cars became safe spaces to discuss life’s trials. The cars became where our problems were heard.

Over time, the formal fishing competition traditions have faded. While we do hit various bodies of water daily, we don’t fish with the same intensity we once did. As the morning recovery time from the night before has become a necessity, fishing has become merely a delivery device for connection, like a bagel is for cream cheese.

Somehow, over the years we changed. Perhaps, we matured and grew as men, but mostly we still act like boys. The weekend began to change for us and what we wanted. The time together became something more aligned with our values. We like to think those values were always there, or maybe GFW created them… who knows?

The Evolution

This year we headed out on our 27th year. Over the years, we have regrettably forgotten many of the stories created on these trips, lost to the depths of our brains, probably never to be uncovered again. Out of this desire to capture more of our times together and to share what we have learned from many years on the water with our fellow men, we created guysfishingweekend.com.

This will be a place where we document our trips, escapades and daily thoughts; a place we are able to share some wisdom and laughs. Recommendations of fishing trips and the gear we use to make them possible will be included. Hopefully our stories will shine as a north star for your own trip.

The ultimate goal now of GFW is to create a community of fishermen who share their stories as well. So with that, let’s get out there.

Go catch the world.

Together.

 – The GFW Boys

OUr AutoBiographies

JOE

The “Idea Guy” who dreamed up it all, Joe has been coming since day one. While he did have to miss one year due to a family health issue (don’t ask him about it, he gets quite feisty), he has been Planner-In-Chief of our annual GFW. Originally brought up on the spin rod, he found fly fishing later in life.

Chronic river swimmer, he prefers the boat trips. This fact alone drags him back to the spin rod. He regularly chases Bass in some of the best Mexican fishing lakes. He always catches “monsters”, but since he isn’t a picture guy the rest of the crew has yet to see one.

Largest Fish to Date: Large Mouth Bass (13.5 lbs., unverified)

REID

“Guy Number 1.1” has made Reid tied for largest equity stake owner of our GFW. Not a year goes by where we don’t hear that he has never missed a trip. He loves fly fishing, and almost no day on the water goes by without it being “#epic”. A true epicurean on the water.

One of the most skilled anglers of the bunch, Reid is always catching fish. While he can catch fish in almost any river, he prefers getting off the beaten path and hunting backcountry brookies.

Largest Fish to Date: 22” Cutty on the Yellowstone

TOM

One of the earliest anglers to join the herd, Tom may understand the riverbed better than any other guy on our GFW (not Joe since he swims the most), as he restores them for a living. Whether you need your 1,000 acre ranch restored or one of the funniest jokes you have ever heard, he is your guy.

All around great guy, Tom is someone you can count on to be on the river well into moonlit hours or most willing to just head back to the cabin to joke the evening away. Most of our stories on this sacred weekend include this guy in some way.

Largest Fish to Date: Ur mom.

ROBB

While he can catch a fish with the best of them, why do that when you can look at the Artemisia tridentata ssp. vaseyana and debate the overall status of the pine beetle kill. Robb is a biologist by training, and if you thought biology was a shit class class in school, he is like the Mrs. Frizzle of Magic School Bus. A day on the river with this guy will teach you more about the life cycle of a trout than any book ever could.

During poker at night, Robb turns into a million different gregarious characters, who weave side splitting tales and memories we laugh about throughout the entire year. A GFW staple, our weekend would not be the same without him.

Largest Fish to Date: Oncorhynchus mykiss

ED

The first of the “Second Generation”, Ed is youngest of the bunch. He has been coming for approximately 15 years. Growing up in Colorado, the outdoors have always been his jam. Fishing for him started with spin fishing for blue gill in the Front Range lakes, and progressed to other species in those bodies of water. After his tolerance was built up, he searched for a stronger high, and found fly fishing. Been chasing Brookies in the back country ever since.

Life and Job took him to the Midwest, away from his mountains, chasing ditch pickles on the fly has become his only regular fishing escape. He continues to look for greater dopamine hits, while striving to be content with where he is.

Largest Fish to Date: Mahi Mahi (frankly didn’t measure, but we’re sure it was a record)

The Rook (Dan)

The most recent addition to GFW, came to us by marriage. Officially he is an “in-law” but we like him. He and Robb debate most of the weekend (and probably year) who got the better sister, and blow by blow it is a great bout.

Somewhat of a spoiled fisherman, as he is part owner of a mountain lake stocked with 18” rainbows, Dan spins tales of fishing lore. Also, quite funny himself, has told some stories and shared some stand up bits that we revisit annually.

Largest Fish to Date: The legendary Dick Box, which he seems to have misplaced.

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