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