I am reading a book about fly fishing in the eastern
United States from the twenties through the eighties.
Fascinating reading and I will be doing a report on
the book when I have read it all. Every word. Every
single word. I am in no hurry to arrive at the final
page. (I did finish the book, and the review is up for you
to read. Check it out:
Split and Glued.)
Why? It is about a man I knew in my early years and
the book and its pictures brings back a lot of memories.
Nice warm, fuzzy memories. It is about the life of Vince
Marinaro. Most of you know who he was but many may not
know of the things he was involved with. Not only was he
a talented man at law and the violin, an innovative fly
tier and cane rod designer and builder, he started a club.
A fly fishing club. It became world known. Now I want you
to start one too.
Years ago, back when I lived in Michigan I called a new
national organization I heard about and asked if it would
be alright for me to form a chapter of their group. They
said it would be fine if that's what I wanted to do, but
it would be the first one in the state. The idea got started
much before that phone call though. I mentioned one day at
my job that I tied trout flies. One of the fellows asked if
I could help him with his tying. I agreed and when he showed
up one evening at my house a few days later he had one of his
friends with him.
Within a month there were about ten of us who would meet once
a week in my basement and we would all tie flies. None of us
were any good at it but that was not the point. We all got
better because we worked together and pushed each other and
learned together. The power of a group can be mighty. I
eventually developed a close friendship with another fly
fisher and we formed a fly fishing school that taught in
Detroit and on the Au Sable river.
As there was not yet a chapter of the organization in the
state, The Freestone Fly Fishers was born. The rivers
we fished were in fact, freestone and we were fly fishers.
The name had three capital F's in it and I thought that was
nifty too. Some years later I checked with the FFF and they
said they had no record of ever hearing of our club. Oh well,
we did exist for a few years and had a nice time and the
dedicated members met at least once a month. Usually at my
place. When I left for Montana it dissolved.
Not so with the group that Vince formed. Well, as I understand it,
he had some help but they were a lot smarter than we were. They
would have a member present a 'paper' at each meeting. Real involvement.
No dues, no officers, no restricting rules. To be a member all you
needed to do was say you wanted to be one. I want you to consider
I know you have a fishing buddy, maybe if you are lucky, you
have several. Start a group, a club, a something. Not all official.
Not some prestigious outfit, no ego's no big shots; just fly fishers.
At the first meeting ask each guy to offer one solid idea how or
what will keep the club going. A project, teaching casting, tying,
consider letting a few more know about it.
So it might fall apart in a month. So what. Maybe it won't too.
Failure is easy to handle, success takes work. Work at it. Plant
fish eggs? Pledge to clean up a certain mile of stream? Hold an
annual dinner? Speakers? Take a trip somewhere to fish? Go for it.
What ever you decide to do, you will personally benefit from it,
you have my word on that.
This is the time of year to form things. For many the fishing
is off the calendar for a while and it is time to do indoor
stuff. A group is the perfect answer. ~ James Castwell