Justin Laffin

Years Fishing?


Years Guiding?


Who introduced you to fly fishing?

My dad's best friend. I remember being 11 years old, going to his house to watch him tie a fly. He tied a classic Hornberg and explained each detail to me. From there, we went to a local river, and he gave me a basic casting lesson. From there, he let me loose. It was the last tangle that he was helping me with when I caught my first brown trout. From that day, I could remember either riding my bike to different rivers. Since then, I have had the bug.

Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?

Living on the banks of the Connecticut River, I have spent many years pursuing smallmouth bass. There are not many rivers around my area that stay cool for long. As temperatures rose, I found myself pursuing smallmouth bass on the fly more and more. Now, the pursuit of smallmouth consumes me. The Connecticut River is a large system and provides ample opportunities to explore new waters.

What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?

My favorite part of the season has to be May through July. Pre-spawn smallmouth on large articulated flies is my jam! I cast large swim flies just below the surface and see a bronze color football exploding from the water. Really, from April through November, I can be found chasing smallmouth bass on a fly rod utilizing different techniques.

What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?

For me, I think any predatory fish gets me going. Where in the world does not really matter to me. I'd love to explore different remote areas while camping in the back of my truck.

What you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?

To me, Thomas and Thomas’s rods are beautifully crafted. The care that is taken during the entire building process is incredible. Seeing the detail in each ferrule wrap, every handwritten label, and the flawless finish are just some of the smaller details that I enjoy. The friendly staff at T&T is also extremely important. Being able to stop into the factory and connect with so many people is another bonus of a locally crafted product. Currently, I run anything from the Zone series, Exocetts SS, and Contact II rods.

What's your current go-to fly?

I don't believe that you can go wrong with some sort of articulated swim fly. Any sort of game changer boast well in the waters that I guide.

Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find indispensable?

Some gear that I find indispensable is a good pair of polarized glasses. Another indispensable piece of gear for me is a jet boat that allows me to access waters that most anglers cannot reach due to steep drop-off and fast currents.

My favorite thing about guiding is:

Being able to teach an indivdiual little nuaunces about fishing for smallmouth is extremely satisfying to me. Having someone properly learn how to "hunt" their fly and connect the dots is the highlight for me with clients.

From the angler’s point of view, what do you see as the main value of going on a guided trip?

I believe that an individual can quickly learn the ins and outs of a river and how fish can be set up in a specific system. How fish will set up at a specific time can cause anglers to become frustrated quickly. Booking a guide allows an accelerated learning curve and allows angels to be more productive later on.

What can new fisherman expect to get out of a guided trip? 

Just having fun enjoying the environment. Catching fish is extremely important but being able to provide the experience that each client is looking for is something I enjoy. The challenge that each client brings to a trip is something that excites me. Whether a client is struggling with casting large flies or has never strip-set before, being able to teach the client a technique to make them a little more productive is something that clients can expect.

What’s your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?

I love bringing a grill and having a shore lunch with a beer or two. Most of the time I don't prioritize food when fishing but in the colder months, having a hot bowl of chili or soup can warm the soul and provide more energy.

What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?

Flylords Magazine!

When I'm not fishing you'll find me:

I find myself behind a vise almost every night. Teaching tying classes around New Hampshire during the winter months keeps me busy as well. If I'm not on the water I can be found my two labs (River and Trout) in the upland woods or duck blinds. Family is also extremely important to me. Getting my two daughters out in nature and exploring is something I live for as well.