Scott Cook is the Owner and Operator of Fly and Field Outfitters. Scott has worked professionally in the fly fishing industry for nearly 3 decades. His passion for the sport and in the industry has allowed him to travel around the world in search for the next fish to check off of his bucket list. Aside from traveling far and wide, Scott has been able to build a reputable business in Central Oregon serving the local and tourist communities. Read along to learn more about Scott Cook and how he got to be where he is today.
First off, I know you have spent most of your life in Central Oregon but can you tell me where you started and what drew the Cook family to relocate to the Northwest?
The outdoors and the outdoor activities and even back then, this place was still a hub for that. Central Oregon drew us for the camping and fishing and hunting. All that stuff was really something I grew up with even though I’d moved from Southern California. So, you know, as far as when I was relocated here I didn’t have a choice because I was a kid. I was in high school and moving was actually a pretty traumatic at the time because moving as a high-school kid with a girlfriend playing sports and everything else. Then picking up and moving to a whole new area was definitely something pretty challenging, but we adapted pretty quickly and once I got in school and start playing sports and stuff I adapted pretty quickly.
When did you decide to take the leap and become your own boss and business owner? What motivated you to do that?
I had spent several years guiding in Central Oregon and gathering a decent number of return clients. One spring I was presented with an opportunity to be the guide service manager at Fly and Field Outfitters during its infancy. This was not the best option for me at the time, as I had a busy season lined up with clients from the shop I was currently at. After that season, I took the “leap of faith” and left a comfortable guide position to be the guide service manager at Fly and Field Outfitters in its second year. Shortly after that, I was able to buy out the previous owner. We turned Fly and Field Outfitters into a family owned business between myself, my pops, and one of my brothers. It was always a Cook family dream to own a fly shop. We had many years of experience going to fly shops on the best of the best fisheries and wanted to take what we learned from those shops and turn it into our own.
I know this is a hard one Scott, but, if you had to pick one fishing story, what would it be?
Hmm, one story? About fishing? Or guiding? That is a hard one… The one story that sticks out was bonefishing with my 10-year-old daughter, Ellie, down in Mexico. It was probably, in all these years of doing this, an opportunity that I would have never had in life without being associated with the industry and having the role that I do in the region. The knowledge that I’ve gained outside of Central Oregon converted into me being able to go flats fishing with my daughter down in Mexico for the day. She caught 3, going three for five on bonefish with a 7 weight fly rod and 8 weight Bonefish line. That to me was probably one of the coolest things ever, so I got to share a pretty unique experience with my daughter.
It appears to me that you have caught nearly every species of fish out there but is there any fish that is still on the bucket list?
I’d say that the Peacock Bass and Redfish are the two species that I haven’t caught yet. They are in some pretty gnarly destinations, and to do it right, as far as the right time of year, the right size fish, and all that different stuff. So, yeah, I’d say those are the two at this point, and it’s not just the fish for me as much about the overall experience and the adventure. I think both of those species can be can be an adventure to go and do it right and catch the big ones. Target the trophies, always.
I know that guide season can be tiresome and long at times. What do you do to keep yourself motivated?
Really, for me, the guide season is not all that daunting.I just put on my boots and make it happen regardless. You know, I really enjoy guiding, that’s why I got into it. So, for me the passion of being able to share the experience with other people and seeing people that have never done it before or never thought they could catch a fish. You know being a lake guide sometimes I take some of the older people fishing and they have a tendency to think “well I just can’t fish anymore cuz I can’t wade,” so they think that they don’t get to go fishing anymore but that’s not the case! I am able to get them out there, in a comfortable environment, in the big boat and put them on some fish. My favorite clients are the younger crew because there is definitely some pure enjoyment that goes into me sharing those experiences with them. So, for me, it’s just day after day. It doesn’t really matter, it doesn’t really get tiresome for me. It’s passion and it’s what I love to do and share with other people.
After spending nearly 3 decades in the fly fishing industry, I am sure you have built the ultimate selection of gear. What are some of your favorite rods and reels that you have stored in your quiver?
The Winston BIIIx, 9 foot 5 weight is my favorite trout rod. I’ve got that matched with a Hatch 5+ reel and a 5-weight Rio Gold Line (In-Touch series).That is my favorite setup for trout because it’s an all-around trout rod. It’s not just a casting tool, it’s got a big flex to it so when you hook a big fish on light tippet that rod is more likely to absorb what the fish is doing and you won’t break off as many fish. Around Central Oregon when it gets busier and it gets crowded the fish see more food and more flies so they get picky. Sometimes having to drop down a size 18 or 20 fly and 5x fluorocarbon in order to catch a big trophy trout is what you need to do. Winston rods will really absorb the fight of the fish and you can still put the beef and the backbone to him. My favorite saltwater rod is actually the Sage Motive. The Motive is a price point rod and I have that in a 9 foot 9 weight with a Hatch 9+ and that’s my favorite setup. I’ve taken that thing all over the world and caught just about everything on it. You know a lot of people say 8 weight or 10 weight which are both great rods but the 9 weight is kind of the all-around big fish rod. I have caught permit, tarpon, and some bigger bonefish and stuff on it. My other favorite rod is the 697 (9 foot 7 inch 6 weight) Sage X that’s my other go to big fish rod, I have caught bonefish and Steelhead and bass and just about everything on it. It’s like a 6 and a half weight if you will, it’s not quite a 7 weight and but a really good big fish rod for Central Oregon.
Lastly, what is the most important thing you have learned as a business owner in Central Oregon?
You know my favorite part of being a business owner in Central Oregon is the community. Not just the community of Central Oregon itself but being involved with the community of fly-fishing. There are a lot of good people in this industry and it’s very rare that you actually run into somebody that’s not just good people in this industry. So, you know in Central Oregon there’s a lot of different industries, businesses and different things like that out there so just being able to be involved with the community and give back when and where we can. It’s all about the community.
There you have it! A little bit more to know about Scott Cook. If you have any other questions for Scott, please do not hesitate to reach out! Feel free to give him a shout about fishing trips, fishing the lakes, or being involved with the shop in some aspect! Thanks, Scott!