Beyond The Tide is a blog series meant to tell the stories of those with deep ties to our local fishing communities. For those with a passion for fishing and writing who would like to guest blog for The Atlantic Surf, please email email@example.com.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to connect with Ryan Collins, local angler and founder of the Cape Cod based fishing community, My Fishing Cape Cod
. My interview with Ryan was scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 PM and when he answered my phone call, I was happy to receive an excited, passionate, and talkative fisherman on other end of my line. Ryan thanked me for giving him a break from the day's chores; allowing him to take a breath and reflect on his fishing experiences, family, and business.
Like many of us, Ryan's fishing story begins with family. As a child, his parents made the decision to raise their family 150 yards from the ocean in Sagamore Beach, MA; a decision that for a family of teachers was not an easy one, but one they knew would give their kids a childhood rich in experience. For Ryan, his home close to the shoreline provided him a life filled with what he loves; the ocean, the outdoors, and the sport of fishing.
As a youngster, the person most influential in Ryan's exposure to the sport was his father, Jake. It was a fishing trip on a Captain John boat out of Plymouth that sparked his interest.. and the sole mackerel they caught that sparked a lifelong passion. Ryan's father, noticing the excitement for his son's modest catch, purchased a 12 ft. tin boat for his 12 year old (pictured below), leading to hours of Ryan's fondest fishing memories growing up. That little boat took him from Sagamore Beach to Barnstable Harbor and miles off-shore for thrilling encounters with basking sharks, bass, bluefish, and even a blue-fin tuna. Ryan credits so much of his success to date to his parents, two people who remained 110% supportive of his dream to become a commercial fisherman and eventually his goal of building and growing the My Fishing Cape Cod Community. To this day, Ryan still spends time fishing with his father and even had the opportunity to witness one of his Dad's lifelong dreams of catching a bluefin coming true; a moment his father describes as the third happiest time in his life after Ryan and his sister being born.
After speaking to Ryan for 15 minutes or so, I realized how much the people around him, or the fishing community on Cape Cod and in New England has meant. From interacting with local customers through his first job at the bait shop, to launching his summertime commercial fishing business with his father, until now, with the creation of My Fishing Cape Cod. Through Ryan's life; fishing seems to have been less about the fish and more about the people seeking them. I asked Ryan what My Fishing Cape Cod meant to him and in a humble tone, he mentioned his desire to reach the next generation of young fishermen and their families. He's on a mission to inspire kids to get involved in the sport and wants to share his passion for smelling the salt air and experiencing the outdoors with today's youth. Given his enthusiasm and commitment for the sport, it's no surprise he's begun to find success. Already, Ryan receives pictures of families enjoying the show together, smiling and dreaming of their future expeditions on the Cape's shores. In this way he is already influencing and making his impact on the local New England fishing community. Over the past six years, Ryan has evolved MFCC into a TV show, podcast, active forum, and ultimately a community of enthusiastic anglers approaching 1,000 members. Through his success; his family remains his #1 supporters, attending as many Fisherman's View meet-ups they can throughout the year.
After learning much about Ryan's past and MFCC, I began getting curious about Ryan as a fisherman. Was he the logbook, wind, and weather tracker that many fisherman are? Or does he prefer the more experiential and exploratory nature of the sport? For Ryan, there are two types of mindsets when going for fish. Business; putting people on the fish during a charter. Or pleasure; rooted in the experience of exploring Cape Cod's National Seashore or unexplored area of dunes. For those reading this who are followers of the MFCC blog, some of you may be familiar with Ryan's annual fishing trips to Costa Rica, where he seeks out different species and miles of unexplored coastline.
After a good 45 minutes of speaking with Ryan, I began to think about success and how some people are lucky enough to make their passion their job. I asked Ryan what happiness meant to him in terms of being fulfilled by this sport we all love. His answer, an almost romantic visualization of his dream. If he could have anything, paradise is a beach cottage tucked away in Truro's dunes. As a fellow fisherman, I wholeheartedly agree, there could be nothing better than mornings filled with feeding fish, throwing out cast after cast, and the feeling of a summer's breeze rolling across the cheeks, over the sands of Cape Cod's outer beaches.
I wrapped up my interview with a few rapid-fire questions to end on a lively note:
Striper or bluefish? StripersBait or lure? BaitSaltwater or freshwater? SaltwaterDeep or shore fishing? ShoreBeer or wine? BeerFisherman's View or Cooks Seafood? Fisherman's View (His cousins)Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard? Nantucket. Striking him a bit more out there.... a bit more desolate.. Cuttyhunk during the winter... Fall or Spring? Spring Fishing
I want to thank Ryan of My Fishing Cape Cod for his time spent on the phone with me as well as all he's done for the fishing community on Cape Cod. I wish him the best and know that there will be many more stories to tell about the growth and success of his newly founded community.