Friday, July 13, 2012

20 Questions: Marc Payne

I've done my share of fishing trips, and on most of those trips I've ended up fishing with guys I hadn't met until we strung up our fly rods and hit the water together. Usually, it's a roll of the dice--sometimes, you count on good intel from a mutual friend, but often, you're just thrown together.
Marc Payne
I've found, too, that, so long as a guy shares my passion for fly fishing, I can make due with just about anybody. Honestly, having that one thing in common can help overcome almost any difference. 

Fortunately, I feel pretty good about an upcoming trip with a couple of new faces. I'm going on the Trout Unlimited/Simms/Yellowstone Park Foundation blogger tour in Yellowstone National Park in just a couple of weeks, and I'm looking forward to fishing and chatting with Marc Payne, author of the blog The Perfect Drift. Marc and Steve Zakur won the essay contest held earlier this summer, and earned the chance to fish in the world's most iconic national park.

I mean, how worried do you have to be when the most pressing question coming out of these guys is, "Do you have a spare guitar laying around you might be able to bring?" Marc's a "picker," and the thought of chilling around fire to the sounds of a little bluegrass makes me smile. If I can get my hands on a guitar--and fit it into my rig--I'm going to take him up on it.

But I think what excites me most about the chance to fish with Marc is the fact that he's so damned excited about this upcoming adventure. He was posting about the essay contest on his blog before he even won the trip--I think, more than anything else, he really wanted to win.

And I think that's wonderful. It excites me, too--I've fished the waters of the park dozens of times, and some of its luster has certainly worn off. To be able to show this amazing place to someone who's so eager to experience it will be something I'll savor.

And here's your chance to get to know Marc--before you ever go fishing with him. On with the questions:

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 
Marc's alter ego?
Seeing my family enjoying time together. Casting a dry to rising trout in the Smokies with my 1930’s era Winchester Bamboo is a close second.

What is your greatest fear?
Drowning…go figure.

Which historical figure do you most identify with? 
It depends on the day. Sometimes Thomas Merton or Rodney Dangerfield, on the river it is either Harry Middleton or Harpo Marx.

Which living person do you most admire? 
My daughter Julia. Julia has aspergers which is a high-functioning autism. She is an amazing person who navigates life full of more joy and love than her body can contain.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Stereotypes... bleck.
Being from the south, I can’t stand it when people channel their inner redneck hillbilly as a defense mechanism. Anyone who abandons their own intellect and becomes a stereotype. I promise you that: a) I have many pairs of shoes, b) I have all my teeth, c) I have never at any time had any relations with relatives, farm animals, or guys on boat trips down a raging river. Anyone who patterns their life after the teachings of Larry the Cable Guy is really not honoring true southern heritage.

On what occasion do you lie?
Christmas. I will rival a career politician in twisting the truth when St. Nick is cruising the neighborhood.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? 
 Epic and reckon…but never in the same sentence.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I would like to be able to spin plates like they used to do on the Ed Sullivan show. I would also like to be able to play basketball. Not because I like basketball so much, but because I would like to be able to play a pickup game without being the last guy picked who looks like he has some serious neurological disorder on the court.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? 
Rebecca (11), Julia (9), Andrew (5), and Savannah (3)

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A guy like Walter Mathau in Grumpy Old Men…love that movie…

What is your most treasured possession? 
 My Grandfathers pocket knife.

Who are your favorite writers?
Wendell Berry, Cormac McCarthy, William Faulkner, Shelby Foote, Clyde Edgerton, John Gierach, James Babb, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Roger Zelazny, Ray Bradbury, Piers Anthony, and blogger Erin Block (Mysteries Internal)

Who are your heroes?
Anyone who is willing to sacrifice of themselves for the betterment of others. Everyday folks just doing what needs to be done without any spotlight.

If you were a pet, what would your name be?
Slackjaw…a hound of questionable lineage…

What would your profession be if you couldn’t do what you do now? 
 I would love to someday be able to have my writing and love for fly fishing develop into a true career. Obviously I am not looking for the big bucks…just peace of mind while doing what I do..

In three words, how would your closest friends describe you? 
 I asked my fishing buddies to answer this: Contemplative, talented, funny…I also asked my kids…silly, good hugger, big.

If there is a Heaven, and you go to Heaven, what would God say to you upon your arrival? 
They are sipping size 16 comparaduns at the edge of the bubble line, your bamboo is strung, and you have all the time in the world….

What’s the favorite of all the cars you’ve ever driven? 
 My current ride. A 2000 Izuzu Rodeo. 196,000 miles. Dubbed “The Trout Tank”. Sticker laden, flies stuck in the carpet, spools of tippet in the glove box, copy of The Drake in the passenger seat.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure? 
 Knob Creek, Woodford

What’s the closest you’ve ever been to dying? 
 I hit a sweeper head on and was thrown from my pontoon into the heart of the tree and my legs hooked under the trunk. For what seemed like an eternity I was trapped underwater. To this day I do not know how I managed to pull myself free.

If you could go back in time, what year would you visit first? 
Remember this guy?
1975. All of my family was still alive and I was a wild and free 10 year old who would spend hours in the woods and creeks around my home. The Steelers were in their prime and the G.I. Joes were built to take a lot of punishment. I also had an amazing dog that was my faithful sidekick through every adventure.


  1. I recon you guys are going to have an epic time in the park! Just sayin'. Nice meetin' you, Marc.

  2. So good to hear another Larry the Cable Guy non-fan speak about what he is doing to the South. Favorite answer? Slackjaw, a hound of questionable lineage.

  3. Ohh, another Zelazny fan. And love the answer about his daughter. Great stuff.

  4. I'm really looking forward to meeting Marc... he seems like a great guy. Now... to find a guitar...

  5. This is a fantastic series, Chris. Always good and interesting reads...thanks to both you and Marc!

  6. Thanks Erin... I'm glad you like it.

  7. Excellent as usual and I didn't hear banjos playing. Marc seems to truly be one of the fly fishing good guys!

  8. Slackjaw and Champ. Perfect!

    Seven Days. Eight to the water.

  9. I really liked that back in time response. Have fun guys!