Rob Fightmaster, owner and primary guide, has been fly fishing for more than twenty-five years and has more than twenty years of experience in various aspects of the fly fishing industry. Rob has fished all over the United States, has been a professional guide in Kentucky and Tennessee, has taught numerous fly fishing schools, fly tying classes, rod building classes and introduced hundreds of people to this sport. In addition, he has been involved in every aspect of the fly fishing retail business, tied flies commercially, and coordinated a variety of fly fishing special events.
Rob started his own business, Fightmaster Fly Fishing in the fall of 2006. Initially, it was a “catch all” business which allowed him to work intermittently as a freelance writer and as an independent consultant for existing and aspiring fly fishing properties across North America, boasting clients from North Carolina to British Columbia, all the while maintaining a small guide business on the side. Late in 2008 he decided to follow his passion and focus solely on guiding and instructing. Since then, he has been listed as “one of the South’s best fishing guides” by Garden & Gun magazine, and has been a finalist for the Orvis Endorsed Guide of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Rob also works closely with Little River Outfitters in Townsend, one of the finest fly shops in the country. He is an instructor in all of their beginner fly fishing schools as well as an instructor in more advanced and specialized classes offered through the store. He produces many of the locally favorite fly patterns sold in the shop and regularly provides fly tying clinics, as well. Clients from around the country have described Rob as someone with an endless supply of patience and one of the best fly fishing instructors anywhere.
Prior to starting his own business, Rob was the Fly Fishing Program Director at Blackberry Farm. During his six years there, he created a fly fishing program from the ground up, opened a fly shop, restored a trout stream, and was awarded the Orvis Endorsed Lodge of the Year two years in a row. This was the first (and so far only) lodge in the eastern United States to receive the award and the only lodge in the country to ever receive it back to back.
While most of his knowledge comes from decades in the industry and thousands of days on the water, Rob credits his grandfather with getting him started and passing along a love of fishing and the outdoors. “Do-Dad,” as he was called, is pictured at left in 1932 with a Montague bamboo fly rod and a 10-pound channel cat. The rod was restored by Rob many years ago and is still catching fish today!