I grew up in Los Angeles and my fly fishing addiction began at the age of 14. Through my teens and early 20’s, I fly fished places like Piru Creek, San Gabriel River, Bear Creek, and the LA River; but also made frequent jaunts to the Sierra’s, Northern California, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
In 1989, I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Physical Anthropology. It was at that point, that I strived to become a crime scene investigator. I attended graduate school at Michigan State University, where I was in the PhD program in Forensic Osteology, with an emphasis in Human Anatomy. Following roughly 3 years of research and field work, which included many hours in the morgue, I began to wonder if I was really cut out for that line of work. I enjoyed my research, immensely, but I didn’t enjoy seeing dead bodies rolled into the morgue on a daily basis.
I understood that fly fishing was my passion but often wondered how I could make a career from my hobby. I worked in fly shops, in some capacity, all through undergraduate and graduate school. I knew the world of fly fishing and how fly shops worked. With this in mind, I decided to throw in the towel and quit graduate school. Those were the days in ye’ old Montana. The fishing was superb but I also realized that the fly fishing industry was a tough field to make a living in; long hours, relatively little cash, women, and a lot of booze induced nights. You know the story….
Almost 17 years following a rash decision to quit graduate school, and years of struggles and unforgettable experiences with the fly rod in hand (in places like Montana, Colorado, Michigan, New Zealand, Mexico, and Christmas Island), I’m finally where I dreamed I would be. Making a living, as meager as it may be, in the fly fishing industry and loving every minute of it. The struggle part is in every individuals life, no matter what we do. Regardless, I’m glad I decided to go with my passion.
Dave has fly fished and tied for roughly 30 years. He received the coveted Orvis Fly Tier of the Year award in 2005, and was the runner-up for the Orvis Endorsed Guide of the Year in 2011. Dave continues to pursue fly fishing as the owner / head guide of Caster Fly Shop.