Fishwater Maps is dedicated to making high quality, finely crafted, accurate maps and fishing guides. We specialize in creating river maps and coastal maps for fly fisherman and light tackle anglers that include all the information you need to get there and get fishing. Our full color maps measure 11" x 17" and are printed on waterproof; heavy duty synthetic paper that can take years of abuse on the water. They feature regional maps, access points, hatch charts, GPS Points, water release travel times on tailwaters, float times for boaters, fly and tackle recommendations, important phone numbers and local information such as where to eat, where to sleep and other services of interest to fisherman.
In October of 2008, at the beginnings of the bad economy, I was laid off from my job as a Landscape Architect. My family and I had recently relocated, bought a new house and were just settling into what was supposed to be a long career and the rest of our lives. So the news from my boss that I was now unemployed, was shocking to say the least. I stopped by my wife's office to give her the bad news. And then I went fishing. It was a warm rainy day and the Delayed Harvest section of a nearby stream I had been meaning to get to was recently stocked and full of fish. So after the usual ritual of checking maps, driving times, and getting gear ready, I headed out and caught stocker after stocker while trying to rinse away my predicament in the river.
After a few weeks of putting my portfolio and resume together and sending it out to employers further and further away, I again decided I needed to go fishing to take advantage of this free time before I got called for interviews. I headed up to The South Holston River in Tennessee. As usual, I stopped in the fly shop to pick up some flies and 7x tippet and noticed some maps on the counter. They were really nothing more than color copies of an aerial photo and they were selling for $4. I told Rod, the shop owner, that I could make a more detailed map if he'd like, as I currently had plenty of time on my hands. So after a day of fishing on the beautiful Holston, I went home and began working on a map using all the skills I had acquired through my Landscape Architecture training and experience.
I got about half way through that map of the Holston when I had that "Aha!" Moment people are always talking about. I've spent my life fishing, or more accurately traveling and fishing. I've caught fish in Korea when I was there with the army, sought out all the good bass fishin' holes on the bases where I was stationed throughout the south, and then traveled the world as the captain of several sport fishing yachts in pursuit of Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna and anything else that would pull line off our reels. Always with a fly rod and light spinning rod stowed away for a day off on a bonefish flat, or an opportunity to throw a Clouser at a weedline. Through all of my travels however, it was the thought of "standing in a river waving a stick," which really got me excited. I'd make one day trips where I'd drive for twice as long as I'd fish just to look at some mountains, get into my waders and cast to a rising trout.
So when I realized that I could get all the information I, and hopefully anyone else would need to fish a certain river or stream or flat, or shoreline, or channel onto this format I had just created, I was very excited. I thought of all the times I had printed out 5 or 6 different maps and written instructions trying to find that access point, or awkwardly asked people for directions or got lost, or drove 3 hours to a river only to find TVA running two generators and the river being completely unfishable.
Over the next few months I met with shop owners, talked to friends and family and put together my first run of Fishwater Maps. The first 6 maps were printed prior to the name of Fishwater, and simply had my csgibbs.com website listed on the bottom. I made a website, researched paper and printing options, raised some money, and did all the stuff that is required to actually turn an idea into a reality. Through hard work, going to trade shows, meeting with guides and shop owners, and most importantly, talking to and listening to my customers, I feel I have refined the format of these maps and come up with a product that is useful, needed, and a good value for those of us who fish. It is now just over one year from that "Aha!" moment and there are currently 27 different Fishwater Maps with more in the works. I have put up this new web page, and am preparing to head out to Oregon to cast to some steelhead and to launch a west coast line of maps.
Thank you to anyone reading this and to everyone who has helped support this endeavor, keep buying maps! I will continue to work hard and to create as many maps as there are good rivers and places to fish.
C.S. Gibbs - January, 2010
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