Parker Corbin is an avid angler, former guide and founding co-chair of the Angler’s Circle. He grew up in a fishing household learning from his father sporting artist Peter Corbin. In his early 20’s Parker took several years to guide in Montana, Idaho and run a lodge on Christmas Island. While he has fished around the world, he now primarily fishes Martha’s Vineyard and the Catskills where he hosted the inaugural AC trip at the Tuscarora Club. This trip kick-started the active involvement of AC members in regional and national trips put on by the AMFF.
The AMFF is uniquely positioned as the story-teller of the sport sharing past and living history through physical exhibits and now on-line. He believes the Angler’s Circle is a fantastic way for those who appreciate the history of the sport to get involved with the AMFF.
We are grateful to Parker for the work that he has done and are glad to provide him with the honor of being the subject of our first AC Newsletter Member Spotlight.
What was the first fish you remember catching (doesn’t have to be fly fishing)
I have a lot of great early fishing memories that run together so pinning down the actual “first” fish is tricky. I have awesome memories of my first of different species – my first trout with my father in the Catskills, my first blue fish I caught on my own at 9, a picture I have holding a 36” striper when I was 11 (that wasn’t caught on a fly), my first Atlantic salmon came with the feeling that I completed a family tradition, my first permit which came out of the first pod I every cast to (I landed 6 that week and my father was so proud and so upset as it had taken him 10 years to catch his first permit). I love the fact that fishing can give you so many first at so many ages.
Who or what got you started in fly fishing? Why fly fishing?
I was fortunate to grow up in a house where fishing and hunting were part of life. My father, Peter Corbin, is a sporting artist who paints portraits and scenes of fishing, hunting and riding. He was introduced to fishing and hunting by his father and the family bug passed directly to me. At first I simply joined my father in the trout stream, building rock dams, finding bugs and fighting the fish that he hooked. That progressed to him standing beside me and guiding me while I fished. My father made the time to teach me not only how to tie knots and cast, but how to read the water, where fish lived, what bugs were hatching and when – I remember most times he never even fished. I am taking this same approach with my three young daughters (7, 5 and 2) and so far it is working because they love to go fishing and I hope to keep that up.
We primarily fished locally around Millbrook, the Catskills and Martha’s Vineyard. When I was around ten he started to bring me on trips with friends and even some of his commissions. Fishing was how and why we travelled. By the end of high school we had fished the West, Alaska, Mexico, the Keys and Canada. Fly fishing was simply how we fished for pretty much everything. It is only now later in life that I find myself spin fishing for certain species (mostly because I like the surface takes casting big plugs and Hogys to stripers – hard when time is short having a family).
Where is your favorite place to fish? What makes it so special? Don’t worry, we’re not giving up the secret spots
I have fished so many great places and as much as I absolutely love Montana, I think I would have to say fishing the Catskills where I learned to fish and I am teaching my daughters to fish. Tuscarora is so special because I have so many great memories as a child, it is spectacularly beautiful with two natural 25ft water falls an amazing covered bridge pool where the AC has spent some great time fishing and drinking, but most of all I am teaching my girls to fish there. Without learning on that water, I would not have the love of fishing that I do today.
What went in to creating the Anglers’ Circle, how did it come about and why?
I can remember the first call I got about creating the Angler’s Circle and instantly saw it as a great way to bring younger people to the AMFF. My father had been involved with the museum for years. We had talked for a long time about what a special place the museum is but how is struggled to attract a younger audience and those living outside of the Northeast. We started with a core group of those whose fathers were involved and then quickly invited our closest fishing friends to join with the idea of starting a broader connection the museum. The board has been incredibly receptive to our ideas about bringing the collection to life on-line to reach a wider audience, integrating more directly to the fishing community and connecting the past with the living history of the sport. Bringing on Pete Nardini to lead Communications and our soon-to-be-announced new Executive Director are great steps for the museum to build upon its almost 50-year history and we help set the future course for the organization.
What does fly fishing history and the AMFF mean to you?
Fish are only part of fishing. Learning how people changed their techniques as technology changed, how people applied tactics from one fishery to another and learning about the individuals who pioneered the ideas is very exciting to me and the AMFF brings all those aspects to life. I think the AMFF plays such a unique role as the story teller of the sport connecting the different threads of the sport between the guides, conservations groups, lodges, rivers and manufactures.
You get to go anywhere in the world to fly fish with a historical figure, where are you going, who are you going with, and what equipment or necessities are you bringing?
This one I had to give some thought to as there were a lot of very interesting choices – kind of like a bucket list in reverse. I would have say that I would love to go back to the 1970’s with my father was he was learning to tarpon fish with Stu Apte down in the Keys. I love fishing with my father, whom I consider a historical figure in his own right, and I love learning from those who have pioneered a fishery like Stu did. The stories my father tells about the quality and numbers of fish from back then is astounding (just watch “Tarpon”). I would however like to bring along my Abel reels from today – I have always loved fishing those reels because they are timeless. I have many of my father’s Abel’s which I know my girls will be fishing as they grow up. I am sucker for collecting reels and I am only a few shy of having a full set of Abels. I would also say that I love every June when I fish with my father and Captain Jaime Bolye on Martha’s Vineyard. There is no one better for fly fishing the Vineyard than Jaime and I have known him his entire 20+year guiding career. Fishing with someone whom has truly honed their craft and is not only top in their fishery but a world class person is very special.