With a newborn baby and a demanding job in finance that sucked up to 70 hours out of his week, Jeff Troutman was struggling with stress and sleep deprivation. So when his psychologist told him he needed a break and recommended he take up a hobby, Troutman decided to give fly-fishing a try.
“I’d won this fly fishing combo from work, from a sales job a few years prior, and I thought I mind as well try it and that’s what I did,” Troutman said.
He Googled “fly fishing” and found a group that met on Tuesday nights at the Flat River in Lowell. “I showed up – everyone was twice my age – and they were the coolest guys and they taught me how to fly fish.”
Troutman made time for fly fishing at least one night a week and eventually left the industry.
He said fly-fishing really helped him deal with the stress in his life, so much so that he thinks others can benefit from the hobby or even just more time outdoors.
For those who might not be able to make the time or afford the equipment, Troutman has created a weekly podcast, “Remote No Pressure,” and is releasing an album, “Songs About Fly Fishing,” that tell stories from his fly fishing experiences.
“I put all of my passions into this album, family, fishing and my love of Americana music,” said Troutman. “I spent countless days and nights writing and recording, sometimes during my morning commute or after I tucked my sons in at night.”
He said the album is relatable because it really isn’t about the ins and outs of fly-fishing as much as it’s about dealing with the travails of life.
“There isn’t any shop talk,” he explained. “These are life stories tied around fly fishing and the podcast is more about the philosophy behind fly fishing. A lot of our listeners don’t fly fish.”
For instance, he said one of the songs is about his father taking him to the Sixth Street Dam in Grand Rapids to fish and teaching him the importance of letting things pass.
“What the podcast and the music does is helps manage the stresses of life,” he said.
He said everyone is really just winging it when it comes to life, pretending to have it all together then they really don’t. “In life a lot of people lack authenticity and won’t be vulnerable and they pretend to have it all together and that is a stressful thing.”
New podcasts are posted every Sunday and Troutman is in the middle of planning a live show for early 2018 that will include a live podcast taping.
The album is Troutman’s first, but he’s been playing guitar since he was a kid and an accident left him unable to walk for three years.
“When I was 11 I was hit by a drunk driver. . . . I couldn’t walk on my own for three years. I was in a wheel chair, on crutches, and had a walker all through middle school. My mom had a guitar and I took it up,” he said.
He continued feeding his musical interests in jazz band during high school and college.
He’s glad to be able to combine his two passions, music and fly fishing, and hopes it will help someone else who is struggling with the stress brought on by life.
“It’s about more than catching fish,” he said.
“Songs About Fly Fishing” is available on Apple Music and Spotify.
*Photos by Heather Nesbit