Photo from Chris Coole

Why Making it Easy Works in Fly Fishing and Music with Chris Coole

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In Episode 173 we WadeOutThere with Chris Coole from Toronto, Ontario.  Chris grew up fishing with his uncle for walleye, bass, and musky as a child until the mystique of fly fishing captured his imagination.  About the same time Chris got his hands on a fly rod, he picked up a banjo.  That was over thirty years ago, and they’ve been part of his life ever since. 

Chris’s love of fly fishing makes its way into many of the songs and tunes he writes in the forms of places and feelings.  His work has given him the opportunity to travel the world as a professional musician, who always seems to find a way to wet a line on the road.  Chris is both a solo artist and a member of “The Lonesome Ace Stringband.”

We discuss the value of keeping things simple in music and fly fishing in pursuit of falling into the flow, and the traditions and variations that have been passed down in both fiddle tunes and fly fishing. 

Please listen to the end, as Chris treats us to a performance of one of his banjo tunes that was inspired by fly fishing.

When you’re practicing. When you’re learning this. You’ve got to put your mind to it. You’ve got to dedicate yourself. But when you’re actually playing, there’s nothing going through your head. You’re not thinking at all. That’s when you’re doing it right. When you’re really playing music you’re not thinking. You’re sort of in the zone. And that’s what a great fisherman (does.)

Chris Coole

Chris is a professional artist who has put in the time. He understands the importance of practice, but he also appreciates the beauty of flow. Listening to his music it’s easy to know you’re listening to someone who is “in the zone.” But how did he get there?

Chris’s approach to music and fly fishing reminds us that we can study and analyze, break things down, and look into all the why’s of things, but that’s not what we are searching for. I love the tactics of fly fishing as much as anyone. I’d even say I can dive a little too deep into some of those rabbit holes sometimes. Maybe not though. In some ways it’s the rabbit holes that I love about fly fishing. It’s the struggles and the time on the water that help me appreciate a fish in hand.

But what I’m searching for is that time when everything else disappears, and all you’re left with is the flow of the river, and the rhythm of your movements.


I think you will enjoy this conversation with Chris about what can happen when all the time and practice we put in culminates. In a fish. In an experience. In a song. I certainly did. Thanks for listening.

VR- Jason

Learn More
Road to the River – A collection of tunes and songs inspired by the fishing passion.  
Including the tune at the end of this episode, Copper Run.

Listen to the Show

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