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Without True Friends It's Just Bugs, Fish, and Water

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April 14, 2011

Without True Friends It's Just Bugs, Fish, and Water

By Kirk Deeter

As fly anglers, we all get so wrapped up in what we catch, and how we catch it.  We obsess about tiny little bugs, fly patterns, high-modulus graphite rods, river conditions, and so much more ... and that's all fine, part of the allure.

But I'll tell you, the more I fly fish, the less this sport is about trout, tarpon, salmon, stripers, and what-not, and the more it is about the people I share the experience with, and the places we see together.

I have many examples to prove this point, but none more poignant than something that went down last Thursday night.  My FlyTalk partner and buddy, Tim Romano, had begged me to drive an hour out of the mountains where I live, down to Denver, to see a fly fishing film event presented by "The Greenbacks," a group of young, motivated types that is throwing in behind efforts to preserve and protect Colorado's best trout waters.  How could I refuse? I went. It was a great show.

But Tim had an ulterior motive. As it turns out, Tim, and our good pal, Will Rice, (contributing editor of The Drake) had purchased a wonderful framed print of a river scene, shot by noted photographer (and another good buddy) Louis Cahill, at an earlier "Greenbacks" benefit event. They wanted to present it to me as a surprise gift.  This image here (taken by Tim) is of me, holding the framed print.  Look closely, and some of you might recognize that water as the "Dream Stream."  We Coloradans now call that sacred stretch of the South Platte River  "The Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area."

Those of you who follow this blog know what Charlie Meyers meant to me, as a mentor, friend, and partner.

"We saw that print, we knew the significance of that water, and it was like, 'Deeter needs to have this one,'" Tim explained.  "It was an automatic kind of idea."

"It wasn't even a question... we agreed when we saw it that that shot belonged on Deeter's wall," Rice added.

Well, it's already on Deeter's wall. And all of this only made me feel more grateful for true friends, past and present, who really make my fly fishing experience complete. Without them, it's just bugs, fish, and water. Fly fishing isn't ultimately about the fish at all. It's all about the miles you roll, the places you see, and foremost, the people you share the ride with. So I thank Tim Romano, and Will Rice, and Louis Cahill... and Charlie Meyers... for a wonderful ride, from the bottom of my heart.  And I'm asking if any of you have similar memories/connections worth hanging on your wall... or at least in your heart. --Kirk Deeter

Comments (12)

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from Koldkut wrote 3 years 6 days ago

-Growing up fishing with Dad.....when you've got a mentor like that, the memories made stay closest to the heart.
-Mark's first day out fly fishing, with his stubborn "I'll learn it myself" attitude that I know so well from him.
-The smiles on the faces of the newbs when they get out on the water, you can tell which ones are truly enjoying the experience, fish caught or not.
-A day on the water with Deeter. When you can talk to someone you've never really met before and it feels like you've known them for years when you've really only scratched the surface.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ckRich wrote 3 years 6 days ago

Tomorrow, a group of my closest friends and I are leaving for our now annual Current River spring trip. For most of the guys it will be their third year in a row, same date, same campground, same river. Last year was my first, and as an initiation rite I had to wade the river at 1 a.m. in my birthday suit. Beer in hand, headlamp on bright, bank to bank, make sure you wade through the deep pool below the access. I came out of the water a light shade of blue, slept like a baby til dawn, and fished like mad the next two days. I only caught three fish on that trip, but it's memory stands out brighter than any trip I have been on since.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from karmano wrote 3 years 6 days ago

About 5 years ago down by a section of the Roaring Fork by our house, we saw someone fishing who knew what he was doing. We started chatting it up and he ended up staying at our house for a few days while in the valley for an art show. Turns out it was Derek DeYoung. Not only has he become a great friend, but we have a custom piece of art coming our way tomorrow to hang on the wall in our house. Gotta love the amazing people in the fly fishing world.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from backcast wrote 3 years 6 days ago

Hey Kirk, this is kinda off topic, but I just wanted to say something about Charlie Meyers. I have to admit that I didn't really know who Charlie was until "The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing" came out and I started reading your tributes to Charlie after he'd passed. Then in my too constant reading and re-reading of all things fly fishing, I started noticing a name at the top of some of the articles - some of which I'd read before, some not. I started to realize why he'd been such an influence on you, or rather, I think I know. It seems to me that Charlie wrote with an absence of ego...or maybe it was the inclusion of humility. His writing makes you focus on what he was saying, not who saying it. There was no pontificating or pedagogery(not sure that's really a word), just a writer's voice conveying ideas to his reader on the same level, minus the "expertizing". I don't know if I'm articulating this as well as I'd like to. But I do know that fly fishing is the common thread that connects so many of us to something bigger and more important than ourselves, be it God, nature, or our friends and family. It is a gift that, fish or no fish, gives more than you could ever expect from it. As the oft-quoted Thoreau said, "Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after."

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 3 years 5 days ago

Very true... and well said.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from arlo wrote 3 years 5 days ago

1) Picking out streams and lakes on topo maps with Tim, then bushwacking to explore them, site unseen. Whether or not the fishing's on is irrelevant. Several of those images are stuck on walls, computers, and the back of my head.

2) Tim's bachelor party float trip on the Colorado, though the details remain a little hazy. Those pictures are probably best left unprinted.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from arlo wrote 3 years 5 days ago
from capino wrote 3 years 5 days ago

I picked up the same print from the first Greenback event. It's a great shot!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 5 days ago

taking my girlfriend's daughter fly fishing for the first time on april 4th. we went to the owego dreek with the founder of twin tiers anglers and caught nothing but it was a great time and she is addicted. hitting PA for the first time on sunday with some guys from twin tiers. more memories in the making.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Deeter...Tell that to the guide client who just hooked the fish of a lifetime, and who is frozen at the reel, has a death grip on the line, and the guide is yelling, "LET HIM GO!" Got to agree with you, but it takes the entire package as well. What amazes me, and I told this very thing to an outstanding fly tier, once entomologist, and excellent fly angler, Jay Buetner (sp?)out of Jackson Hole, who was at our Fly Tying EXPO this weekend.....how many good anglers know little about, or care to know, about the aquatic insects.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Quite fitting. You have some great friends and fishing buddies - always there in spirit if not body.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

Unfortunately for you guys, I have the capacity to have a luv affair with the bugs, and can be by myself with the hatch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from backcast wrote 3 years 6 days ago

Hey Kirk, this is kinda off topic, but I just wanted to say something about Charlie Meyers. I have to admit that I didn't really know who Charlie was until "The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing" came out and I started reading your tributes to Charlie after he'd passed. Then in my too constant reading and re-reading of all things fly fishing, I started noticing a name at the top of some of the articles - some of which I'd read before, some not. I started to realize why he'd been such an influence on you, or rather, I think I know. It seems to me that Charlie wrote with an absence of ego...or maybe it was the inclusion of humility. His writing makes you focus on what he was saying, not who saying it. There was no pontificating or pedagogery(not sure that's really a word), just a writer's voice conveying ideas to his reader on the same level, minus the "expertizing". I don't know if I'm articulating this as well as I'd like to. But I do know that fly fishing is the common thread that connects so many of us to something bigger and more important than ourselves, be it God, nature, or our friends and family. It is a gift that, fish or no fish, gives more than you could ever expect from it. As the oft-quoted Thoreau said, "Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after."

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from ckRich wrote 3 years 6 days ago

Tomorrow, a group of my closest friends and I are leaving for our now annual Current River spring trip. For most of the guys it will be their third year in a row, same date, same campground, same river. Last year was my first, and as an initiation rite I had to wade the river at 1 a.m. in my birthday suit. Beer in hand, headlamp on bright, bank to bank, make sure you wade through the deep pool below the access. I came out of the water a light shade of blue, slept like a baby til dawn, and fished like mad the next two days. I only caught three fish on that trip, but it's memory stands out brighter than any trip I have been on since.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from karmano wrote 3 years 6 days ago

About 5 years ago down by a section of the Roaring Fork by our house, we saw someone fishing who knew what he was doing. We started chatting it up and he ended up staying at our house for a few days while in the valley for an art show. Turns out it was Derek DeYoung. Not only has he become a great friend, but we have a custom piece of art coming our way tomorrow to hang on the wall in our house. Gotta love the amazing people in the fly fishing world.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 6 days ago

-Growing up fishing with Dad.....when you've got a mentor like that, the memories made stay closest to the heart.
-Mark's first day out fly fishing, with his stubborn "I'll learn it myself" attitude that I know so well from him.
-The smiles on the faces of the newbs when they get out on the water, you can tell which ones are truly enjoying the experience, fish caught or not.
-A day on the water with Deeter. When you can talk to someone you've never really met before and it feels like you've known them for years when you've really only scratched the surface.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 3 years 5 days ago

Very true... and well said.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from arlo wrote 3 years 5 days ago

1) Picking out streams and lakes on topo maps with Tim, then bushwacking to explore them, site unseen. Whether or not the fishing's on is irrelevant. Several of those images are stuck on walls, computers, and the back of my head.

2) Tim's bachelor party float trip on the Colorado, though the details remain a little hazy. Those pictures are probably best left unprinted.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from arlo wrote 3 years 5 days ago
from capino wrote 3 years 5 days ago

I picked up the same print from the first Greenback event. It's a great shot!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 5 days ago

taking my girlfriend's daughter fly fishing for the first time on april 4th. we went to the owego dreek with the founder of twin tiers anglers and caught nothing but it was a great time and she is addicted. hitting PA for the first time on sunday with some guys from twin tiers. more memories in the making.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 2 days ago

Deeter...Tell that to the guide client who just hooked the fish of a lifetime, and who is frozen at the reel, has a death grip on the line, and the guide is yelling, "LET HIM GO!" Got to agree with you, but it takes the entire package as well. What amazes me, and I told this very thing to an outstanding fly tier, once entomologist, and excellent fly angler, Jay Buetner (sp?)out of Jackson Hole, who was at our Fly Tying EXPO this weekend.....how many good anglers know little about, or care to know, about the aquatic insects.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 3 years 1 day ago

Quite fitting. You have some great friends and fishing buddies - always there in spirit if not body.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 50 weeks ago

Unfortunately for you guys, I have the capacity to have a luv affair with the bugs, and can be by myself with the hatch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment