About Hunter Banks

Hunter Banks Fly Fishing first opened our doors in in February 1985. Our mission has remained true for the last 35+ years: foster the fly fishing community in Asheville and the surrounding mountains of Western North Carolina. The two key efforts that drive this mission are our products we offer to equip our community members with the best fly fishing gear along with the our services that are designed to ensure a great day on the water. All of this is backed by our brand's promise: offer industry-leading customer service and support for every angler every day.

We pride ourselves in creating an environment where we relish the opportunity to connect with beginning and advanced anglers alike. Whether you're a beginning angler curious about the sport and want to know how to get started or a seasoned veteran looking for a new wading boot to ensure you're wading confidently, our team of passionate and friendly fly fishing professionals take great satisfaction in providing the best support possible.

Along with the angler support our team members provide, we also believe that education is a key element to developing our fly fishing community. Tap into the experience of our team and learn more about fly fishing and fly tying through our educational offerinces. Whether on the water or at the vise, we hope to connect with you and help propel your skills forward.

Additionally, each year we make considerable investments in several organizations that foster the sport of fly fishing. These include Land O' Sky Trout Unlimited, Casting Carolinas, Project Healing Waters, and many more. Join our community and help us preserve the environment we so dearly love and connect others with the joy we find on the water.

From those who love to fish and serve,
~ The Hunter Banks Fly Fishing Team


Frank Smith

Company Founder & Owner - World Angler

Frank started Hunter Banks in 1985 with the goal of offering professional fly fishing support to the anglers of Western North Carolian. He is an avid fisherman and you can often find him in the shop assisting anglers prepare for their next adventure. When away from the shop, you can find Frank fishing for trout in Kamchatka Russia and Argentina, chasing a variety of fish in Jupiter, Florida, or stalking bonefish on the flats of the Bahamas. His wealth of fly fishing knowledge through years of experience provides great trip insight to our community of Hunter Banks anglers.


Thomas Weldon

President & Director of Operations

Thomas manages corporate operations of Hunter Banks Fly Fishing. His efforts to assist the sales, programs, online, inventory, and information technology team leaders have helped develop Hunter Banks into the largest fly fishing retailer in the Southeast. He is also responsible for the inventory management of major product lines including Simms, Orvis, Patagonia, Fishpond, Umpqua, and Sage to ensure we have the best selection we can offer. When not in the office, Thomas prefers to fish the backcountry of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the South Holston River in East Tennessee, or target Smallmouth in the French Broad River running through Asheville.


Shane Bucker

Asheville Team Leader

Shane is the Asheville shop manager for Hunter Banks. Born and raised a few miles up the road, Shane has fished many of the rivers in our area. With his local knowledge, he tailors the shop's inventory for the WNC angler. He also offers fly tying classes and enjoys teaching beginners the nuances of fly tying.


Chris Maney

Inventory Team Leader & Guide Team Member

Chris Maney is from Sylva, North Carolina where he grew up learning from his father to fly fish for trout in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. During his time at Western Carolina University, Chris realized his passion for fly fishing had urged him to pursue a career in the fly fishing industry. Chris is a life-long customer of Hunter Banks, and always wanted to join the team of anglers that sparked his interested in the sport at a young age. He is eager to pass on his love of the sport to customers and guests that visit the area. When not in the shop, Chris can be found guiding guests on a local mountain stream or rowing his drift boat down an East Tennessee Tailwater.


Miller Watson

Asheville Team Member & Guide Team Member

Miller is the most recent addition to the Hunter Banks Fly Fishing Sales and Guide teams. As a Charlotte, NC native, Miller has spent much of his fishing career in Western North Carolina. Bringing almost 6 years of guide experience in the Western North Carolina mountains and streams, Miller is always excited to craft an adventure of a lifetime for you. With a strong passion for the outdoors, Miller has found our rivers to be the place that he calls home. It is said to find what you love and love what you find. Well Miller found fly fishing as both a full time passion and a career.

Forrest Dorsey

Forrest Dorsey

Asheville Team Member

Forrest was born and raised in Colorado where he spent endless hours fishing the South Platte River with his dad. He has recently relocated to the Asheville area and looks forward to learning new waters in Western North Carolina and sharing his passion for fishing and photography with others.

Forrest has been fortunate enough to take his fly fishing addiction to the next level by traveling to many bucket list locations, including Alaska and Patagonia.

Forrest is proud to be an Umpqua Feather Merchants fly designer and enjoys starting off every morning wrapping some thread with his Regal vise and a cup of coffee. If Forrest isn’t fishing or tying flies he can be found hanging out at a local brewery with his wife and miniature dachshund, Melody.

Forrest Dorsey

Forrest Marshall

Guide Team Leader

Forrest is a native of Western North Carolina. He spends about 200 days a year on the water - he say's he is pursuing a master's degree in freshwater fish psychology. He is equally at home chasing the finicky trout of the South Holston and Watauga tailwaters or stalking the wary fish of the WNC backcountry. If you see him in the shop, it's either freezing outside or he's tired of rowing his driftboat.


Jimmy Lackey

Guide Team Member

As a native of Western North Carolina, Jimmy has been fishing the wild trout streams of North Carolina for over thirty-five years. He is a retired firefighter turned fulltime fly fishing guide with an in depth knowledge of the native trout streams in Great Smokey Mountain National Park and the surrounding mountains. For Jimmy, fly fishing has been a life-long passion and he enjoys sharing that passion with clients. There’s not many things he finds more gratifying than introducing people to the sport, demonstrating proper technique, and seeing clients catch their first fish on a fly rod!