WHEATON – For Javier Guevara, fly fishing is an art that deserves to be shared with the world.
For the better part of a decade, the Wheaton resident has been shepherding anglers across the U.S., Mexico and South America to search for the best fishing available.
Guevara, owner of Ecuador Fly Fishing, said he found his passion as a recently immigrated child after seeing a man fly fishing at a DuPage County forest preserve.
"It was such an art, starting from the casting of the line," he said. "It was something very, very interesting to me. It led me to riffling deeper in the art of fishing, and I became a lot more interested in it."
His love for the practice grew, turning from an interest to a passion to a calling. Since then, he has become an internationally acclaimed spokesman of the sport, forging new partnerships and opportunities for fishermen and women in the U.S. and jobs and opportunities for the locals he works with in Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico and areas around the states.
In each of those trips, Guevara tries to find unique destinations, sometimes in remote parts of South American jungles. He goes along with each trip – at least one or two per month outside of the country – with the small group to ensure a quality, personal experience many other larger travel businesses cannot in a unique location.
"It's about the experience and the places you visit," he said. "It's a way that someone can connect with the fish and nature. A lot of people can fish for trout or salmon, but you can build a connection with the fish when you are fly fishing."
All catches on the trips are catch and release, Guevara said – a common practice among fly fishermen and something he tries to spread not only to his charges but also to local communities.
"There's a creature giving you happiness at the end of the line," he said. "Many of the fish we catch live in very fragile places. ... The fish represents more money inside the water than outside, represents more happiness inside the water than outside."
Guevara also is very active in the local fishing community, including in the DuPage Rivers Fly Tyers, or DRiFT. He said he cherished the opportunity to introduce others to the sport, like it was introduced to him all those years ago.
He said he treasures the opportunities he's gotten to teach it to his wife and children as well.
"There's nothing better than doing something you like and making money from doing it, but it's not about getting rich," he said. "I go fishing locally and I'll just take my kids, my wife and my dog and go. ... My kids might be too young for some of it, but looking over and seeing my kids running around, playing in the mud while I fish – that's fly fishing for me."
Guevara will be a speaker at the weekly DRiFT event at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at the College of DuPage's Student Resource Center, Room 1144, to share his experiences from Tabasco, Mexico; and the Colombian jungle. For information on Ecuador Fly Fishing, visit ecuadorflyfishingtours.com.