April 26th, 1999
'Mister Personality' could well have been a
name invented to describe an old friend of mine. A gentleman
who I had the privilege of teaching with in Michigan in about
1970 at a lodge on the Pere Marquette river. As a field-tester
with Scientific Anglers I knew his reputation. One of the team
had fished with him in Florida for tarpon and returned with a
glowing report. A great guy; and can he cast! I was
honored to have been invited to teach with a such a man.
From the east coast somewhere, he had fished and taught
for quite a while and was making a reputation by fishing for and
catching big tarpon. I want to tell you, this guy could cast!
It would be several years before our paths crossed again during
which time he was honored with many awards in the fly fishing world.
Acclaimed by many as the best casting instructor in the USA. But,
never by him. Never. Not that he would have ever been awarded
a badge for humility; but for a gentleman? In my book for sure.
That is why, when I just read a piece on Lefty Kreh in the
May issue of "Sports Afield' I got so mad. I have known him pretty
well for the last several years. I have been at many events with him.
Had dinner and many conversations with him. The article I just
read is a lie! And I know it.
It quotes him using a style of talking I know Lefty does not use.
It's just not his way of saying things. When you know someone well,
you can spot things like that. The words and phrases in that article
were not said by Lefty. No way. Those of you who have read me
very much know that I am a rather easy-going sort of guy. But,
when you lie about my friends, you have hit my 'hot-button.'
I have known, and do know many of the top casting instructors
and in my opinion, Lefty Kreh probably is the best. He uses what ever
words and methods necessary to teach each person. That is what makes
a good teacher. Knowing which words and actions to communicate to
the student. I have had the honor of having Lefty take me aside one time
and show me exactly how he taught and explain the 'why' of it all. A
post-graduate course in instructing for which I will ever be grateful.
And now some 'gonzo' writes a distorted, un-true, character-destroying,
bunch of bull-pucky and even gets it past an editor (or did he approve of it?)
About the only thing in the article correct and based on fact is they did meet,
the writer took instruction, learned a lot, and spelled Lefty's name right. The
rest is fiction. We don't give an award for 'Gentleman-of-the-Year,'
but if we did . . .
The odd and sad part of all of this is you will probably
want to go out now and buy a copy just to see what this is
all about. Don't bother, let's just say Sports Afield obviously
is in big trouble, or they would not even consider printing
this garbage. Or maybe that's what they think of fly fisherman.
Too bad, it once was a fine magazine. But trashing
Lefty will make money. The writer, Erik Hedegaard got paid
for it. Sad indeed.
And I will take a lot of heat for writing
the truth. Life is like that. ~ JC
Till next week, remember ...