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2 Guys On & In Fly Fishing Culture

Recently I sat down with Dave Goetz and Steve Mathewson to record an episode of 2 Guys and a River (listen here!). We discussed Casting Across and the role that a website like this plays in the greater fly fishing culture. Afterwards, we went to lunch and I was able to interview them to answer those same questions about their podcast.

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Fly fishing is about the fish – the quarry. Whether it be trout, bass, or a saltwater species, anglers plant the flag of their passion squarely on fish.

Some then lament the “other stuff” that has crept into fly fishing: the competition, the politics, the materialism. While every one of those facets certainly has the potential to crowd the essential elements of fishing out, there is something to be said about the greater culture of fly fishing.

Another new rod, another stream restoration project, or another commentary might be tiresome to certain corners of the fishing community. But many also embrace these sorts of things for how they enrich of the culture, and the pursuit of the quarry, of fly fishing.

For the past two years, Dave Goetz and Steve Mathewson of 2 Guys and a River have been commenting on and sharing their fly fishing experiences with the listening public. Their podcast isn’t about adding to the noise. Rather, they are doing it “for the love of fly fishing.” Podcasts like 2 Guys play an important role in the culture of fly fishing, and Steve and Dave have experienced the fruits of their labor first hand.

“What we’re not trying to do is boil the whole ocean: just a hundred feet of beachfront,” says Goetz on the way they approach what they bring to the conversation. 2 Guys isn’t meant to be the definitive travel guide or technical manual. “We hope that everyone will enjoy our podcast, but I imagine that we’re appealing to people who want to listen to two guys talk about fly fishing through the lens of a friendship.” They think they’ve found their niche there, which is on one hand being interesting to all but also providing something essential to some. The veteran angler and the novice can both listen and glean something of value. Mathewson agrees with his cohost: “We want to bring in technical concepts, but translate them into non-technical way that can appeal to anyone but really help new fly fishers.”

Their weekly series covers topics that range from angling techniques to stories from their trips to helpful fly fishing “hacks.” All the while, their personalities (and some self-professed corniness) flavor the content and the dialog. That is what frames what they do in a unique light, allowing it to stand out in a growing media landscape. “I’d like to think that we’re helping people appreciate the experience,” says Mathewson. “Or, when they read (the 2 Guys and a River Website) or listen, they are taken out to the river in their mind to relive that experience.”

Going back to their commentary and their niche in the fly fishing community, Goetz also sees their appeal being a certain type of filter for listeners. “Some people might appreciate our particular point of view on fly fishing. For example: we don’t focus on gear so much, we’re more about time on the water.” That mentality resonates with fly fishers across all demographics, which shows in the audience dynamics that 2 Guys is seeing.

Having amassed a following through podcast subscriptions and social media, 2 Guys and a River has proven that there are a good number of anglers that appreciate Steve and Dave’s points of view. But that doesn’t mean that the information only moves on a one-way street. “Through comments on the website and social media we’ve really learned a lot from our listeners,” says Mathewson. “We’ve learned techniques, gotten different ideas for the podcast, and just benefitted in our fly fishing in general.” Goetz agrees, and goes into more detail: “Through interaction with our audience, I’ve started fishing furled leaders. I’ve started thinking about how I fish emergers more, and have been able to do that more effectively. There are a lot of little things that come from our listeners.”

With 2 Guys and a River, Steve and Dave have added a commentary within the fly fishing culture that has been mutually beneficial. “We have our forte,” says Mathewson, “and that is all we want to add.” Goetz concurs, “and when that resonates with someone, they stick around.” A platform for both education and entertainment, the place that they’ve earned in the angling community is being enjoyed by more and more people every week. Furthermore, they themselves are enjoying the feedback from those who value the content and delivery of 2 Guys.

After all, they’re doing it for the love of fly fishing. That means going out on the river, discussing the experience over a steak dinner, and then coming back and sharing that love with anyone who knows – or wants to know – what is so captivating about fly fishing.

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2 Guys and a River is released weekly, and there are over 100 episodes in their back catalog. Subscribe through your favorite podcast catcher to always receive their latest offering.

Additionally, Steve and Dave have released their first book through 2 Guys and a River: The Fly Fisher’s Book of Lists: Life is Short. Catch more Fish. Pick it up at Amazon today!

The podcast and book are just the tip of the 2 Guys iceberg. Head to their website for blog posts and follow them on social media.

4 comments

  1. Bob Richey says:

    I’m a big fan of two guys and a river, which is how I found your blog. As another eastern fly fisher (DC), I was glad to hear you mention bass on the fly Dave and Steve seem to think fly rods are only for trout. Other than that, they’re great. Good luck on your new adventure.

    • Matthew says:

      Hi Bob – Thanks for listening and reading!

      Yes, they are quick to admit their singular angling focus. But maybe, just maybe, there is something on the horizon for all those fly fishers who like to chase warm water species…

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