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Elite Pro Profile: Tom Martin

By Sage Fly Fishing

I am the Owner & Operator of Heavy Water Anglers Fly Fishing Guide Service. I began my fly fishing journey at a young age, growing up chasing trout in small mountain streams. When I realized I wanted to turn my passion into a career, I attended Sweetwater’s Guide School in Livingston, Montana. After graduating at the top of my class, I was offered a position at one of Sweetwater’s premier lodges in Alaska. In between the Alaskan seasons, I put my main focus on guiding professionally back home in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York for Trout, Bass, Musky, and Steelhead. I offer instructional clinics from Spey fishing to fly tying. My goal is to provide clients with the best knowledge, skills, and equipment in the industry to make their fly fishing adventure the best it can possibly be.

home town

Frederick, MD

home waters

Upper and Middle Potomac River, North Branch Potomac River, Savage River, and Beaver Creek

local fly shop

​Beaver Creek Fly Shop, Hagerstown, MD

target species

Rainbow, Brown, Brook Trout, Musky, Smallmouth Bass, Steelhead

perfect setups

10’ 4-weight X with a SPECTRUM LT reel; 11' 3-weight ONE Trout Spey with a SPECTRUM MAX reel; and the 9' 11-weight MUSKY rod with a SPECTRUM MAX reel.

career highlights

Becoming a 6 pack USCG Captain, getting repeat clients, catching people fish, building up my career out of what I love to do most, many great seasons in Alaska, and last but certainly not least, working with Sage as an Elite Pro!

conservation work

Practicing promoting Catch and Release fly fishing only, and North Branch Potomac River clean ups.

philosophy on fly fishing

Fly fishing to me is where all time stops. I watch people with very stressful jobs, problems, so on and so forth, forget it all for a day. It’s a way to become a kid again, drift off, leave all your stress behind, and focus on the river. It’s more than just a sport to me, it’s a way of life.

one tip to improve one's fishing

Listen to your guide! Just kidding, my tip to improve one’s fishing is to never stop learning. I personally never limit myself and try to learn each day I’m on the water.

perfect day

Snowing hard, no wind, I’m in my jet boat with my dog and a flask of bourbon, a box of Musky flies and an 11wt, and being able to watch a big girl swim home!

a good fishing story

One summer day many, many years ago, me and the boys decided to go off on an adventure for big smallies. Understand that in Maryland, there are very few public access points for boats, therefore when you slide your raft off the side of a bridge, you don’t always know what you’re going to run into downstream! This trip starts off just like any other fishing trip – a few beers, making fun of each other, and even catching a few bass right out of the gate. 45 minutes in, we run into the mother of all log jams. Now not only is it 10 feet tall and probably 25 feet wide, it’s packed full of water snakes and giant spiders.

Now you have three dudes in board shorts and flip flops with no tools, two fly rods, small box of flies, and a cooler of beer, you can tell we are not at all prepared to take this on. The only way through was to just go for it, so we set up three stations on the log jam. First, we lifted all the gear over, and in this process, I managed to snap my 6-weight Z-Axis right above the reel, jumping off of the log jam. Now we’re down to one and a half fly rods. After lifting the frame and raft over, a few leaps off the logs because of snakes, the crew is back and ready to go.

Now remember, we’re now down to one and a half fly rods, so at first I decided I’ll just row, drink beer and not fish. Well of course the fishing turns out to be on fire, so I did what anyone would do - stripped a bunch of fly line off in the bottom of the boat, the rod broke in a perfect spot to use as a handle, and with ¾ of a fly rod I made it work and managed to get a few great bass. All in all, it was a great and funny day.

contact info