Some of my earliest memories were of fishing and catching bait on the lake outside of my childhood home in East Tennessee,” Coats says. “My family moved to Dallas, Texas, when I was 8 and I became acquainted with the warm-water bass factories of the Lone Star State. Texas is where I learned fly tying and fly fishing, and was introduced to quail and dove hunting. Before I entered high school, my family moved back to the cool mountain waters of East Tennessee. It was a hard transition from deer hair poppers and sliders I used in Texas to size 20 and smaller bugs.
As a young adult, I fished 6 days a week as I moved away from the creeks to tail waters and all they have to offer . I found that tail waters were the perfect match for my skills, providing cold ,cool, and warm water fishing, depending on how far from the dam I was. Trout, stripers, and bass are all available in these waters and the tail waters produce plenty of feed for the predators of the river.
Since becoming a professional, I have been featured in the Bristol Herald, and at the Bristol Motor Speedway Fly and Wine events I demonstrate how to build streamers, from single hook trout patterns to 12- and 18-inch musky flies. I have also volunteered as a guest instructor for Project Healing Waters, a non-profit organization that provides physical and emotional rehabilitation for veterans through fly fishing. I lead various other demonstrations at several of the regional fly shops regarding streamer construction and theory, and I sell fly patterns commercially and work as a fishing guide on the South Fork of the Holston and Watauga rivers for trophy trout, bass and stripers.