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Connecting with Blaise Gabriele

01/07/19 at 06:40 AM by Vince Puzick


Something happens when you talk with Blaise Gabriele, a new member of the Angler’s Covey sales force and up-and-coming guide. Whether you’re talking about one of his three interests – cooking, music, or (more importantly!) fly fishing -- you can’t help but hear the passion in his voice. And the three interests all have one thing in common:  they connect people.  


A little over four years ago, Blaise’s life changed. He and his wife were expecting their little girl to arrive; they had moved to Colorado Springs; Blaise had a new job at a local restaurant. These were all good things, but they were also a little overwhelming and he was feeling the stress of all the change. 


And then he went fly fishing.  “Standing in the water seemed to rejuvenate me, rejuvenated my spiritual life.” He had discovered a new joy and passion. Now what to do with that?


Blaise admits he is the kind of person who goes all in when new interests capture his attention. He was like that when he learned to cook. He was like that when he learned to play the drums. And it didn’t take long for fly fishing to reel him in.


In 2015, he took a fishing trip to Alaska with his family and was totally inspired by the captain and deck hand.  “It was the way they worked – with passion and complete enjoyment in what they were doing.” A year later, in May of 2016, Blaise took the Colorado Fly Fishing Guide Academy led by Neil Luehring and Robert Younghanz. 


Blaise realized that he either needed to start his own restaurant or get out of that world, despite his love for cooking, and into something else. It’s his “all in” mentality. He decided to immerse himself in the fly fishing environment and focus his energy there. He shadowed Neil and then later Rachel Leinweber during the Orvis 201 class. 


As a member of the Covey sales team, Blaise says he wants the customer’s experience in the shop to be both “enjoyable and beneficial all in one go.” Blaise is a teacher at heart, and he tries to teach people “one thing they didn’t know” before coming into the shop or heading out to the river. This is a “forever learning sport,” and Blaise approaches the customer knowing that some things in fly fishing may seem daunting, but with guidance, it’s completely possible to learn. 


The thing about fly fishing, Blaise says, is that it can be a very individual sport for people who cherish some alone time.  But it is also a group endeavor. “I’m drawn to being on a team” and working with others toward accomplishing a goal.  When he shadowed with Rachel during the 201 class, “it was amazing to watch twelve people all learn to roll cast together.  It was beautiful.” 

This desire to make a connection is what drives Blaise. With cooking, the connection is seeing the customer take a bite into freshly made mozzarella or baked bread and nod with satisfaction. With music, it’s when the audience “catches the groove” and begins to move to the song. With fly fishing, it’s helping an angler hook up with a fish he spotted in the riffle.  The key thing to them all: “be in the moment. Connect with the other musicians, the client on the stream, the customer in the restaurant.”  


While Blaise realizes he is at the beginning of what he hopes to be a career in the fly fishing community, he’s driven to give new people the same thing he was given: “how beautiful fly fishing can be.”  


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