Duayne Foust (@duaynefoust on Instagram) was born and raised in northeastern Pennsylvania, where he’s been fishing since he was ten years old.
“My father took me the first time, but then I started going with my grandpa,” he says. “But I didn’t really get serious about fishing until six years ago.”
Duayne never took a break from fishing, but rather had an epiphany about its effects on him.
“I was always fishing,” he says. “But it wasn’t until I realized what fishing did for me as a person that I started putting actual work into it. I started taking it more serious because I realized the potential that was there.”
Duayne found that, for him, fishing was not about catching his quarry.
“It’s not about the fish,” he says. “It’s much deeper than that. I would say it’s a form of meditation, almost, for me. It’s an escape where I can lose myself but also find myself, if that makes sense.”
Duayne lives just minutes from the Susquehanna River, which is where he finds his peace in fishing. He discovered the therapeutic nature of fishing the Susquehanna — and fishing in general — while he was making his journey through recovery.
“I was in a bad place with some worse things,” he says. “My path was wanting to get back into fishing, and it literally saved my life.”
He’s definitely found better things in the river.
Duayne usually varies his lures and presentations based on the time of year.
“I’ll use a spinnerbait in spring,” he says. “If I had to pick a go-to set up that I would use year-round, it would be a green pumpkin tube. But, obviously, spring or fall, I’m going to throw a topwater, mostly.”
River fishing has its own set of challenges that differ from chasing smallmouth — or any other species — in a lake.
Duayne is a dedicated bank fisherman, so he’s adept at finding the water and structure he wants without the benefit of a boat.
“Usually, there are a couple spots that we’ll always go to if we’re just trying to catch a fish,” he says. “I try to broaden my horizons and go to new water and stuff like that. But if I’m land based and I’m stuck in town, there’s the same walk I’ll do every time. There are a couple islands I always walk out to that hold fish.”
Although he works hard to be a successful angler, the act of fishing and what it brings has always been important to Duayne — even before he got serious about it.
“There’s always been a connection… with everything: Other people, other fishermen, the connection with nature, itself,” Duayne says. “It humbles you. It can humble you really quick.”