Hooked on Matt Reilly Fly Fishing

Posted by Monica Hoel
Matt Reilly says of his job: “I take people fishing.” But is that ever an understatement.

He is the owner and proprietor of Matt Reilly Fly Fishing in Abingdon, so he does take people fishing. But he also teaches, scouts out locations, writes about fishing, does speaking engagements about fishing, and, because he’s really good at his job, he brings along a French press on the boat so his clients can enjoy fresh, hot coffee.

Matt Reilly, E&H '18, with a muskie. He says fly fishing is an industry where people like to learn, and he loves teaching. So he serves as an in-person instructor on fishing excursions, but you will find him using any opportunity to educate people about fishing, fly tying, rivers and every nuance that makes fly fishing a great experience. He writes a blog on his website and you’ll find his byline in national publications like Hatch magazine.

He grew up fishing with his dad, but he began taking fishing seriously in high school. He started writing a weekly fishing column for the Daily Progress (Charlottesville) while still a teenager. And at some point he noticed that serious anglers and even other fishing guides were beginning to ask to go fishing with him. Those same folks encouraged him to consider making a vocation out of his hobby.

The movie A River Runs Through It created a bit of mysticism about fly fishing. Matt says that for him the more spiritual aspect is not in the casting and working the line, but rather in making a meaningful connection to what he calls “the natural systems you’re trying to infiltrate.”

“The definition of catching a fish on a fly is to trick that fish into fulfilling a natural process of chasing down some sort of food and eating it like it would normally do. So you have to have a fairly significant knowledge of fish biology, the biology of that fish’s prey, stream flow – you have to imbue yourself in nature.”

You can enjoy a conversation with Matt on the Duck Pond Wall podcast, and find out more about his thoughts on fishing, running a business, and conservation.

  • Matt Reilly
    Emory & Henry Class of 2018

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1089-michael-shipley-is-serving-the-us-army"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg" alt="Michael Shipley (E&H '13) and his wife Nicolette and daughter Elizabeth." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,48,1113,1161/7227_70f32a45-9878-4491-8077-bd32ad638569_1.rev.1576081946.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1113" data-max-h="1113" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1089-michael-shipley-is-serving-the-us-army">Michael Shipley is Serving the US Army</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> He is a Company Executive Officer in the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy. <a href="/live/news/1089-michael-shipley-is-serving-the-us-army" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2373-jimmy-lawrence-retires-from-virginia-tech-after-40"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/11404_Lawrence_J_17MS_da_DK_1097E.rev.1655251680.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/11404_Lawrence_J_17MS_da_DK_1097E.rev.1655251680.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/11404_Lawrence_J_17MS_da_DK_1097E.rev.1655251680.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/11404_Lawrence_J_17MS_da_DK_1097E.rev.1655251680.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/11404_Lawrence_J_17MS_da_DK_1097E.rev.1655251680.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/11404_Lawrence_J_17MS_da_DK_1097E.rev.1655251680.jpg" alt="Jimmy Lawrence Emory & Henry Class of 1979" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/11404_Lawrence_J_17MS_da_DK_1097E.rev.1655251680.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/11404_Lawrence_J_17MS_da_DK_1097E.rev.1655251680.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2133" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2373-jimmy-lawrence-retires-from-virginia-tech-after-40">Jimmy Lawrence Retires from Virginia Tech After 40 Years</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Jimmy Lawrence has just retired from a 40-year career as an athletic trainer for Virginia Tech, and he says there’s one experience that he has loved more than any other. <a href="/live/news/2373-jimmy-lawrence-retires-from-virginia-tech-after-40" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2349-richard-joyces-artwork-featured-in-gallery"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/121,157,480,515/11317_image1.rev.1652968760.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/121,157,480,515/11317_image1.rev.1652968760.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/121,157,480,515/11317_image1.rev.1652968760.jpg" alt="Richard Joyce Emory & Henry Class of 1969" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="359" data-max-h="358" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2349-richard-joyces-artwork-featured-in-gallery">Richard Joyce’s Artwork Featured in Gallery</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> In 2003, life changed dramatically for Richard Joyce, E&H Class of 1969. But nothing could change his love for life’s beauty. <a href="/live/news/2349-richard-joyces-artwork-featured-in-gallery" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>