January 24, 2013
If You Could Fish With Anyone, Past or Present, Who Would It Be?
By Kirk Deeter
For starters, I have to admit that I'm stealing this idea from my friend Brennan Sang, who posed that question on Facebook a few days ago, prompting a string of responses I find very interesting.
I wanted to throw it out there for the Fly Talk nation, because fishing, to me, is as much about the people with whom you share the experience as it is about the fish themselves. It strikes me that so many people respond to this question by saying that they'd like to fish one more time with a family member or friend who has passed away. I feel the same way.
I wish I could hit a lake or a river with my Grandpa Ernie, who loved fishing very much. He taught me when I was a little boy. He passed away long before I became an editor-at-large with Field & Stream, but I think he'd like that. I wish I could make a few more casts with my father-in-law, Fred Warner, who put me on the fly fishing path. We last fished in July, a few weeks before he died.
And I fished many times with the late, great Charlie Meyers, with whom I wrote "The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing." Looking back, I almost feel guilty now for taking some of those jaunts to the river almost for granted. To be sure, I was acutely aware of the honor at the time. But, man, what I would give to lace up the boots one more time with Charlie, so we could wade and talk. I try to think about the lessons he shared when we did fish together, every single time I set out to write a story about these things now. But as the years elapse, I can't help but wonder if I'm on the right track, and if he'd be proud of the work.
I've been very fortunate to have shared some great times in beautiful natural places with some of the best anglers in the world. It has been, and continues to be a thrill to fish with my friend Tim Romano. We have more water to cover, to be sure. But it seems every time we get out there, we find something—or someone—particularly interesting.
Hemingway would be a trip. That would either go really well, or be a total disaster. And Ben Franklin, though not noted as an angler, intrigues me beyond imagination. Anyone who figured out as much as he did would probably revolutionize fly fishing theory within a matter of a few casts on a Pennsylvania creek.
I wonder who you'd fish with, and most importantly, I wonder why.