ProStaffer of the Month: Sean Callinan

aquabound prostaffer sean callinan

Sean’s Angling Specialty

Sean has refined his angling specialty down to fly fishing from a SUP board. Why fly fishing? He says it’s:

“…being able to replicate and mimic natural forage with a fly you made using fur, feathers or other natural or synthetic materials is a challenge. You’re intruding on the predator’s territory or replicating the fish’s food source while actively connecting with nature. It’s a very meditative yet exciting experience.”

Sean prefers fishing from a SUP board because of its mobility and ease-of-use while fly fishing. “I can access places on a board I can’t from shore, a boat and even a kayak,” he says. “And it makes it easy to manage my line.”

He’s also narrowed down the fish he targets. Living near the Connecticut coast makes ocean fishing convenient. Sean mostly fishes for larger salt water game fish like striped bass, bluefish and false albacore.

sean callinan sup angling
(photo courtesy of Robin Hill)

A University Fishing Gig

Sean has the distinction of being our only ProStaff angler who teaches at an Ivy League university!

He’s the fly-fishing and fly-tying instructor for Yale University’s fishing Club—essentially the head coach. The Club starts activity each January with a 10-week lecture-based series in the classroom, then transitions to the outdoors as the weather warms up. It’s open to any undergrad or graduate Yale student.

Sean covers an intro to fly fishing and nearby fishing areas. He brings in local guides, authors, conservationists and others in the industry. Each class is catered to the individual students, their level of experience and interests. They can even sign out gear to practice fishing on the weekends.

In 2017 he helped reinstate friendly intercollegiate fly fishing competition for the first time since 1990. 2018 marks the 2nd year for the Annual Ivy League Shootout versus Dartmouth.

Ivy League Shootout trophy
Trophy made by, artist, angler and friend of the Yale Club, Matt Hart. He created this 2D commemorative trophy in 2017 to be held or passed by the school who wins the Ivy League Shootout each year.

Local Conservation and Giving-Back

Both with his Yale students and through his day job, Sean is part of local conservation efforts to clean up natural areas in New Haven and Branford, Connecticut.

His partnership includes international activist company Patagonia, Denali Outdoor and the Branford Land Trust.

Sean also co-hosts a film festival started in 2016: FilmFest4Veterans. The Festival gathers supporters in a local brewery, with the net proceeds going to four different Connecticut non-profits.

Each organization works with military veterans using their own model of fishing for healing and recovery:

Three film festivals are lined up so far for 2018.

Crossing the Ocean to Africa

One of Sean’s most exciting recent adventures was a trip to Senegal, Africa in 2017. Sponsored by a Connecticut non-profit, he traveled to remote villages on the Gambia River to teach the local residents sustainable fly fishing.

He brought donated rods, lines, flies, hooks, materials and everything else the folks there would need to gather their own food supply through sport fishing. Up until then, the people there had been buying their fish. So Sean’s involvement truly followed the proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.”

Sean says:

“This was a most humbling experience—being on the Gambia River with two translators and teaching others how to fish in a way that they haven’t been able to or access these fish before. It was the most moving experience of my life.”

He looks forward to teaming with organizations already performing this service in other parts of Africa to be able to give some of his time to this new passion.

Sean Callinan in Africa
Sean with his new friends in Senegal

For a guy not yet 30, Sean is making great use of his time and energy. We’re honored to have him part of the Aqua-Bound team, too!

You can connect with Sean on Facebook and Instagram.

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