The name of my Outfitter company, River Ninja, sounds like a narcissistic proclamation that "I AM THE RIVER NINJA". That is not the case. How did I come up with the name some clients have asked.
The name River Ninja Outfitters came from my guiding experience in Vail, CO. In Vail there are many families that are on vacation and want their children to experience the outdoors for a morning or afternoon. This leaves me with two to three little rascals to corral and entertain for four hours. Some would think this is a task fit only for a babysitter. I welcomed the challenge, and in doing so became very versatile at guiding all ages. Whenever I had kids trips, one child would always catch more fish, it's the nature of inequality in our society. It doesn't mean one is any better than the other. What it did mean is that I would have to entertain and make a game of the fishing to take the pressure off and distract his mind from not catching fish. I would always check to make sure the other child angler was doing well. What I would do next is figure out where I know there is a fish that does not see flies often. An example would be an eddy next to a large boulder, or a riffle where an approach needed to be stealthy. Here is where it all begins...
I would pull the struggling child aside, take the rod from them, so as to give them a little break. I would then crouch down to their level and whisper:
Alex:"Alright, are you ready?"
Child: "What do you Mean?"
A: "We're going to have a little adventure, if you're up for it?"
C: "Yeah, I'm in."
A: "Alright this is what we are going to do. We are going to fish up by that rock. But we aren't just going to march up there and splash around to alert the fish of our presence! We are going to sneak up there, not making any noise or any splash, kind of like a "River Ninja". Does that make sense?"
To which the response was always, "A River Ninja, cool." or something the like.
Each time a child was struggling to land his first trout of the day, I would pull them aside and have this chat. I would get them in the right "River Ninja" mind set. And then we would stalk the spot to be fished together. I would whisper reminders as we snuck up to the fishes lie. There was always a point that I would put myself in a netting position, and tell them to sneak into the casting position. We had rehearsed the entire game plan several times pregame and on the warmup walk to the spot. My little angler knew exactly what to do.
Whenever I used this "River Ninja" example with a child that had not caught a fish, it was like a light switch! Bam they hooked and landed a fish!
As many other guides have learned, if you have an analogy that is working and everyone understands it you keep it in the rotation. It like a comedy and jokes that just straight up kill the crowd. Those are your go-to's. Well this "River Ninja" analogy become a go-to on every one of my kids trips. And one day it just hit me, "River Ninja Outfitters!" Although I had been bending my mind for years to find the perfect fly fishing company name, here it came out of nowhere. And my company was named. Later that year after returning home from Colorado I would get my LLC and start Salmon guiding in Michigan.
And that is how River Ninja Outfitters was born.