Following on an earlier discussion, and, subsequently, the sad passing of flyfishing icon Mel Krieger, I think it's appropriate to address the issue of "who will carry the torch."
I own every single one of Lefty Kreh's books, and I still keep on my desk a hand-written note of encouragement he sent to me, many years before my writing ever gathered steam. I have VHS tapes of the "Walker's Cay Chronicles," still watch them, and it was an honor to spend a bit of time on the river with Flip Pallot a few weeks ago. I think the world of Chico Fernandez, and I read every word John Merwin writes, half for entertainment, the other half for instruction. Charlie Meyers of the Denver Post is my mentor and one of my best friends to boot.
For the record, those guys are still steaming along with the best stories you'll read (or see) anywhere. But for those of you wondering where we'll find the next "Generation Fly" talent, do me a favor. Scroll down to the previous post on Fly Talk, the one titled "BC Steelhead Photo Essay," and click the "start" button.
You back? Great. That's what I'm talking about. You see, "Generation Fly" is already here. All around you. And while I deeply respect my elders (as I sit in a "neutral" position, somewhere in the middle of the age continuum) I say the fly game is, in many ways, being played faster, with more excitement than ever before. And the stories, the lessons, and the photos are better now than ever. The stage may be more global in scope now (these days, that's possible)... and yet it's also happening right out the back door. Legends can never be duplicated. But there are new legends created every day.
Finding them, in this day and age, is up to you. You must now wade through the clutter, as everyone with a computer is a writer now, and everyone with a camera is a photographer or film director. But the essence... the talent... it's there. And the raw beauty and intrigue of flyfishing? Alive and well. Don't believe it? Look at Romano's photos and tell me he isn't one of the best in the world. Ask me about Conway Bowman and his mako sharks. Go read The Drake magazine. Go watch the video "Red Gold." Heck, stay tuned for more stories in Field & Stream in coming months. After all, even some of us "not-so-old" dogs have a few tricks left up our sleeves.
(Photo of Ramiro Badessich, age 28, with dorado in Bolivia, taken by Joaquin Arocena, age 27, story to come, by Kirk Deeter, age undisclosed).