Local teen’s love of tying flies inspires businessWritten by Sanya Ali | | email@example.com
When Hunter Hayes tells strangers he is an entrepreneur, they tend to react with disbelief. His loved ones know the truth and support him all the way.
“My family and friends have been my biggest motivation and supporters of what I do: my business and dreams,” Hunter said.
Hunter, 17, founded Maumee River Flies & Guide Service in order to share his love of tying flies for fly-fishing.
Hunter began spending time outdoors with his father at a young age.
“I began hunting and fishing as soon as I was old enough to walk,” Hunter said. “My dad, Randy Hayes, first introduced me to the outdoor world: canoeing, camping, hunting and fishing. My dad has shown me everything he knows about them, and he always had an answer for any of my questions.”
Hunter began tying flies by chance when he found peacock feathers in his neighbor’s yard.
“I asked my dad what I could use them for and, to the best of his knowledge, he explained to me flies and fly fishing,” Hunter said. “I tied my first fly on a red jig head with peacock hurl on it, and my first cast I caught a bass, and it started snowballing from there.”
Hunter’s world changed on Dec. 1, 2005, when he found out he had Type I Diabetes. He was 9 years old.
“It was a hard blow and being so young it was very hard to comprehend,” Hunter said. “I first asked my mom if it was contagious, and then if it was going to kill me. I was terrified, and unsure of what was next.”
Instead of letting the illness deter him, Hunter decided to continue living his life.
“I have now had [diabetes] for almost nine years and it hasn’t gotten any easier, although I have learned a lot about it and how to monitor and keep my numbers in check with my insulin pump, which I am so thankful for,” Hunter said.
When he was in sixth grade, Hunter met renowned fly-tier Chris Helm, his grandfather’s neighbor.
“He has taught me so many things with the art of fly fishing and tying, and always has an answer to my questions,” Hunter said.
Randy said Hunter did play baseball and soccer as a kid, but the outdoors always took precedence over practice.
“It was harder to get him out of the pond to go to baseball practice,” Randy said. “The nice thing about this, you can do this the rest of your life. There are not a lot of 50- or 60-year-old men playing baseball.”
Recently Hunter decided to share his passions with the public. He makes his own ties and sells them through Facebook and his website, http://www.maumeeriverflies.com.
“I started Maumee River Flies & Guide Service as a way to make a couple extra bucks, meet new people, gain experience and introduce people to something that is not nearly as difficult or complicated as it can seem,” Hunter said.
Randy said he is proud of his son for stepping in to a career path that not many teenagers would follow.
“There’s not a lot of young people getting into the outdoor sports, so it’s a great opportunity and there’s definitely a market for it,” Randy said.
The roadblocks Hunter has faced are due in part to his intensive work schedule. He works at Bass Pro Shops five days a week, Kroger one and reserves just one day for tying flies and giving tours.
“My biggest obstacles I have had so far have been finding time to tie flies to fill peoples orders from my website, and charging people to guide them on the Maumee River since I have so much fun doing it,” Hunter said. “It’s truly a deep passion of mine.”
Randy said he wants a profitable future for his son.
“I hope he can earn a decent living doing something outdoors, whether it’s tying flies, guiding, something in the outdoors he loves to do and can earn a decent living at it,” Randy said.
Hunter still finds time to go out fishing with friends and one of his most powerful fishing memories is of the first time his friend, Clyde, hooked a carp.
“To see the enjoyment and happiness on someone’s face is incomparable and simply cannot be beat,” Hunter said. “I was so happy to experience it with him, and I know for a fact he is now hooked on fly fishing, especially for carp. Carp get a bad rep, mostly being considered trash fish and disgusting, but they sure are fun to hook up with on a 6-weight fly rod!”
Hunter said living with diabetes has been a challenge, but not one he cannot overcome.
“Diabetes has never, and will never slow me down, or stop me from achieving my goals and chasing my dreams,” Hayes said. “I want anyone and everyone that has had diabetes or has been recently diagnosed with it to feel free to contact me for any advice or simply someone to talk to and assure them that they’re not alone.”
Tags: bass, carp, Chris Helm, Diabetes, Fishing, fly fishing, fly tying, Hunter Hayes, hunting, insulin, Maumee River Flies & Guide Service, peacock feathers, Randy Hayes, soccer, ties, Type I Diabetes