Olympian by Name, Fisherman at Heart
Andy Mill is a two-time Olympian that represented the United States in both downhill and combined alpine skiing events during the 70s and 80s. In addition to those impressive displays of strength and endurance, he also was a top ten finisher at the World Cup four different times over the years. One passion wasn’t enough for Andy, however, and he went on to become a tarpon fishing master, winning five Gold Cup tournaments and becoming a triple crown winner in the sport. In fact, he is known as one of the best, if not the best tarpon fly angler in the world.
In case you haven’t realized it already, Andy Mill is a man who never does anything half-heartedly.
“I’ve always been a fisherman. I grew up in Aspen with a flyrod in my hand. Through my fishing, I fell in with former President Bush, the 41st, a long time ago, and that’s where my best fishing story comes from. The story I’m telling is about a man, who was the most powerful man in the world, and the fact that one of the biggest things on his bucket list was that he wanted to catch a real big tarpon. He came to me, he was around 80 at the time, and he looked me right in the eye and said, ‘And, what do you think about helping me catch a big ol’ tarpon?’ Of course I agreed to it.”
“So we got into a basin in the keys and we’re chumming a channel. It didn’t take long before he hooked one on a crab. We turned the motor on in the boat to chase the fish down while President Bush is fighting it. We’re speaking words of support and guidance and eventually the fish gets tired and we pulled it in the boat, took a picture, and sent it back out. We ended up catching about a 140 pound fish. When we got that fish in the boat, the joy on Bush’s face was just luminous. I could tell that he felt so alive, and helping him catch that big ol’ fish was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.”
So why does Andy Mill enjoy being a Maui Jim brand ambassador?
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life to be surrounded by the best professionals and companies available. To ski at the level I skied at I always had to have the best trainers and the best equipment, which led to me always gravitating toward finding the best of the best in both my personal and professional life. I want the best. A number of years ago I started wearing Maui Jims after a conversation with my optometrist about how great the clarity was and how maybe I should look into them. As soon as I did and put them on, I never took them off.”
“Clarity is imperative as a fisherman, since you’re in the sun all day long. As a skier, skiing at 11, 12,000 feet, you need that protection. I’ve always had to rely on my eyes. My daily life has always been based around my vision, and if I can enhance that, if I can keep my eyes safe and see better, then it makes my life that much more profound and successful.”
Click here if you want to learn about some of the other incredible individuals that Maui Jim is proud to consider brand ambassadors.