Tag: Lefty Kreh

Tallying the score for my fly-fishing year (2009)

I’d planned on fishing Christmas day, but with high temps expected to climb no higher than the teens I’m likely to bag it. Hence, my fly-fishing year is over, and this year-in-review comes a few days early.

The learning curve

I spent 30 minutes talking one-on-one with Lefty Kreh, in the second week of January. I should have quit while I was ahead. (+30)

Creating infamy

The Wall Street Journal showed up in Denver after I guaranteed them some carp on the fly footage, and Tom Teasdale got front page billing in the print edition, nationally. I know self-made entrepreneurs with $250 million net worths that never made the front page of the WSJ. So I take all the credit for this one. (+250)

Time spent fishing is better than time spent working

I had 22 days on the Blue River, 21 days on suburban lakes, 13 days on the urban South Platte, 10 days on the Dream Stream, 4 days on the Williams Fork, 3 days on the North Platte, 3 days on the salt, 1 day in Cheesman Canyon, 1 day on the Colorado, and a few minutes on Gore Creek and Ten Mile Creek. (+78.5) ALMOST FORGOT: 2 days on the Eagle, and a day on “Moose Creek” – so +81.5

Worth a mention

I caught this fish and this fish using 5X tippets and tiny flies (+2). I used a San Juan Worm one day this year – this fish was the result (+1). I almost died from dehydration in the Carp Slam, but thank my lucky stars Barry Reynolds was my partner (+10).

Some gear runs through it

I acquired five fly rods and four fly reels this year (+9). I dumped one 2009 rod for another (+0), gave one rod up as a going away present (+1), and passed on three reels to folks that really needed them (-3). At least two rods will get ejected in the spring, and I’m on the hunt for another reel (-1).

I retired some waders, and waited patiently for some others (+0). I booted three pairs of wading boots, and wound up with two pairs in their place (-1). I gave away two wading belts (+2), and I found my socks (+20).

I bought seven fly lines, was given one fly line, sold two fly lines, and gave seven fly lines away (+13). I ruined one fly line, and one fly line just plain fell apart on me (-2). Two fly lines are still in the boxes (-2). I gave away a tippet dispenser, six spools of tippet, 250 yards of gelspun backing, and spooled/rigged four reels for newbies (+261).

Fly boxes are for civilians

I purchased 780 flies, tied ten flies, bent four hooks, popped 28 leaders with two-fly rigs, and snagged 2,462 flies on tree branches. (-1,732)

Liar liar pants on fire

I caught 225 brown, rainbow and/or cutthroat trout over ten pounds, 150 carp over forty pounds, 90 largemouth bass over eleven pounds, and one state record brook trout (at twelve pounds) that I didn’t get a picture of since I was by myself in a desolate location with no food, water, or camera. (225 X 10) + (150 X 40) + (90 X 12) + (1 X 12 X 11,500 foot elevation) = +147,330

High note

I acquired a king’s hoard of new friends, but unlike royalty throughout history I wouldn’t trade them for anything. And I spent some precious time fishing with some dear old friends too. ((7382 + 6) X 1014 = 7.382e+17) (Note: score arrived at by adding total friends, new and old, to the number of beers consumed in their company, individually, post-outing, then multiplying by the ACTUAL VALUE of time spent fishing and/or drinking with them)

Final tally

I want to say I lost count, but the reality is I’m an accountant, which means I don’t know how to count it was just a darn good year.

Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, What-Have-You, and a Happy New Year to all.

MG signing off (until 2010)

Bonefish and Tarpon Trust presents: Pirates of the Flats

Series coming January 2010 on ESPN2. Me thinks that’s too long to wait, so watch the trailer now:

(h/t FlyFishMagazine)

From Lefty Kreh’s lips to my ears

Words of wisdom from a fly fishing icon (and maker of fine lemonade)

I thought I was about to meet a man jaded by attention. Lefty Kreh is certainly a fly fishing legend, and today he was deep in his realm – an outdoors industry convention. But the person I sat and chatted with was a kid in a candy store, eager to share his insights on more than half a century of throwing fly lines, an economy and industry seemingly in flux, and embracing family.

Lefty Kreh and Michael Gracie

Onward…

Mr. Kreh on the expense of picking up the sport of fly fishing:

Yes, there is a lot of expense regarding fly fishing. In some cases I think it’s just too much, but the industry is adjusting. There was a time when really expensive gear was all there was out there – nowadays you and I can pick up just about any inexpensive combo, go out fishing, and have a good time. In fact, just about anyone can.

Following up on the above, Mr. Kreh on fly rods:

There are no bad fly rods out there for sale anymore. You can pick up a rod at a big box sports retailer that does the job quite well, and without breaking the bank.

And Mr. Kreh on reels:

Like rods, where technology worked its way down to the point where all of them do a good job in the casting and catching departments, fly reels are following. The very best are still built for people with lots of money, but even those people are holding back. Now we are seeing great reels come off the shelf that are both very functional and very affordable.

Mr. Kreh on the economy, and how it will effect the sport:

I lived through the Great Depression. And while it wasn’t the best of times, one thing I found that rang true was that the lack of money brought people closer together. Families in particular, banded together. Even if we see similar bad economic times, that one point will make it seem nowhere near as bad. Fly fishing doesn’t need to be a solitary pursuit – more families participating in the sport of fly fishing, together, would be great for our sport. It’s interesting that when ever there has been a recession in this country, the number of fishing licenses issued goes up. That could be the basis of a whole other discussion, but again I find it interesting.

Mr. Kreh, on why it seems kids would rather play video games than go fly fishing:

I think part of the fascination kids have with video games, and computers and the internet, comes from the fact that parents sometime struggle to make ends meet. So they both work, and kids need an safe outlet when the parents are not around – technology like video games may have given kids some of that. But with our economy taking a dip, I think that there may be less work for those parents, and less money for those video games. At least one of the parents may be around more for their kids, and while I wish the best for families in that situation from the money standpoint, I also think parents and children being together more is a good thing whether they decide to spend that extra time together fishing or not. If the parents decide to take their kids fishing, that’s even better.

Mr. Kreh on the start of the International Sportsmen’s Expo:

I’ve been to a lot of these events in my day. This is the best Thursday I’ve seen in quite a while.

Mr. Kreh on why women make such great fly fishers:

I can teach any women to fly cast, just as long as I’m not married to her [laughter then ensued between both of us, as well as a couple of folks listening in]. Women are more patient that we are (well most of the time..wink wink). There are groups now to bring them together to learn the sport, which is good for fly fishing. And you also see organizations like Casting for Recovery popping up that help women through very difficult times in their lives, through fly fishing. And I think that is great for both the women that participate as well as the sport.

And finally, when asked how he’s kept it all together for so long, and with such enthusiam, he added:

I thank my darling wife.

I could have spent a month with Lefty Kreh, picking his brain about why he tied this or that fly a certain way, or better yet…how to add thirty feet to my casting range. But as he stood up, acknowledging the folks standing by for his next casting demonstration, those things now seemed so trivial. I left thinking there are few lemons in Lefty’s world, while carrying the certainty that fly fishing had something to do with it.

Editor’s note: As if the time I spent with Mr. Kreh at the ISE wasn’t good enough, I also got the chance to sit down and chat with two of the finest guides in Colorado, Pat Dorsey of Blue Quill Angler and Chris Ramos of Anglers Covey. These gentleman have been fly fishing and guiding others all their lives, and their office, classroom and backyard barbecue is situated primarily on Colorado’s famed South Platte River. I’ll have the text of that discussion up ASAP (probably hopefully by midday Friday) – it is equally insightful regarding the passions of some fine folks who live fly fishing day in and day out (and you might get a few secret tips too), but is also a significantly amount of content I have to parse through. Nevertheless, if you can’t wait that long head over to ISE Denver at the Colorado Convention Center tomorrow, Saturday, or Sunday and meet them in person!

Veddy, veddy important for fly fishing: casting and knots

If you can’t cast a fly and/or can’t tie it to the line, you are going to have a hard time fly fishing. It’s that simple.

Fortunately, learning how to do both of these veddy, veddy important angling tasks is just about as easy.


A book I originally thought would help with lazy guide syndrome (i.e. guides refusing to pole close enough to the bones so I could just net them) turned out to be a pretty darn good book on generally casting and practice technique. Longer Fly Casting has plenty of pics to follow – it lingered in my library for a while, and has since been passed on. And since that time it’s been updated too!

The other “must have” for getting the fly in the water is Practical Fishing Knots. I’ve mentioned this one before, and it too was given to someone after I finished up with it. It’s a great guide that will leave you with a stable of go-to knots. Sadly, it’s been a while since I chased big game, and if I’m ever asked to tie a bimini twist I’ll probably have to buy it again!

Experienced fly fishing folk won’t be surprised that both recommendations are written (or co-written) by the infamous Lefty Kreh. That wasn’t the intention, but I’ve heard Mr. Kreh is one fine photographer too. Maybe he’ll put out a how-to book on that as well.

I could certainly use the help.