Most Influential [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Most Influential

06-26-2006, 11:08 PM
Most of us have guiding lights or role models whose influence helped mold our abilities and enthusiasms as steelhead fly anglers. Who were some of these people who helped or inspired you to this glorious avocation? I was thinking that most of us could name five or so. Many of us could name ten (or more). These don't have to be famous angling writers or off-the-charts angling talents, they could be friends, relatives, chance acquaintances.

I'll start with eight whom I think influenced me most (no special order):

1. Bill Bakke, Northwest angler, writer, conservationist

2. Keld Olsson, Rhode Island Dane, salmon fisher extrodinaire

3. A.H.E. Wood, delineator of grease-line fishing

4. Hugh Falkus, author of _Salmon Fishing_ and _Sea Trout Fishing_

5. Trey Combs, historian and documentor of the steelhead fly-fishing tradition.

6. Roderick L. Haig-Brown, ethics and aesthetics of the sport

7. A.J. McClane, whose wisdom and expertise I devoured as a kid (and still refer to frequently).

8. Lola McClean, fly tyer and Deschutes summer steelhead catcher supreme.

Who helped, inspired, mentored you?


-- Eric

06-27-2006, 11:00 AM
I'm not a steelhead fisherman but I'll chime in anyway. :)

The most influential person for me that molded my stream/river fishing forever was Norman Strung. His book "To Catch a Trout" should be required reading for anyone who ever wants to fish moving water. It gives more information on water flow characteristics in a channel and how they pertain to fishing than any other publication I've ever read.

06-27-2006, 11:30 AM
I wanted to wait until my lunch break to make sure I paid proper attention to this question.

My name is Juro and I am a steelheadaholic... :)

I would have to say that I was most influenced as an angler by AJ McClane since that big book was my bible for not only the fish I had access to but for dreams of exotic places and gamefish of the world... bonefish, tarpon, tigerfish, roosterfish, salmon, and steelhead. How I envied that sunglass-wearing guy with the pipe in the mouth standing on the banks of some Argentina river with a trout the size of a salmon or looking rather like a Kennedy brother in the Keys with the collar of his polo shirt flipped up hoisting a tarpon. Even as I was moving to Seattle to start my career I read his words on the steelhead and five salmon species which I came to deeply love as a critical component of my fishing life. The dream came true.

But for steelhead specifically, it would have to be a joint effort involving Bill Bakke and Mr.Haig-Brown, not because Trey Combs book was not magnificent it was, and the definitive works of Mr.Wood and Faulkus were milestones for all practitioners - but because I chose to explore and experience rivers and techniques in my own terms more than study technique while the passion and aesthetic of the classic angling man and the conviction for preservation and the priceless importance of the species were both personified in Roderick Haig-Brown and Bill Bakke.

Northwest steelheading is a unique experience, one I am glad to say I've experienced to a notable degree and steelhead runs deep in my veins as a result. More than anything, the fish themselves have been influential as I am sure all of the men in your mentor list would say.


06-27-2006, 03:39 PM
In order,

Brad Adrian
Brian Simonseth
Kim Weymouth
Ed Ward
Dec Hogan

06-27-2006, 04:23 PM
OK I'll take a stab at it. I hate the book writers when it comes to steelhead fishing, not saying they are bad just don't believe in such stuff. So number one on my list is a book writer.

1) R H Brown, he preached beauty not how too.

In my next 4 I am not brown nosing, just people I have addmired from close in and from a distance.

2) Duggan or better known as Sinktip, a good friend, a good fisherman and someone who shares my sick sense of humor and outlook on the river.

3) Steven or better known as Mean Mr Mustard, This man I fished with a couple of times and is really way out there! A truely nasty man with a heart of gold.

4) Kerry S better known as Kerry S. Never fished with him but always enjoyed his comments and outlook on steelhead fishing and life in general.

5) Moonlight better known as _ _ _. A great fisherman, a man who keeps his secrets, as easy going as it gets and has lot of friends who like himself know what is going on in lifes journey to the end.

Hope I have not made a fool once again of myself for naming real people and not the ones who abuse our sport by writing how too books.

06-27-2006, 06:02 PM
I had no real mentors; I picked up flyfishing largely on my own and through books, until after I'd been at things awhile. So the two who most influenced me were:

Bill McMillan
Bill Bakke

Those two most influenced my approach to the sport, and taught me much about conservation, both through their writing and personally.

I thank various members of the Long Beach Casting Club with teaching me how to tie flies and improve my (single-hand) casting when I was still young in the sport.

Also, I must credit many who were not really influential to me but have been very kind and, IMO, influential to my kids. They include Klem, Speytarded, SSPey, Speybum, Homer2handed, MJC, Al Buhr, Ron Larson, Dean Sullivan, Al Beatty, Rhea Topping, and Tom Larimer.

I probably omitted somebody important, but forgive me. The flyfishing community, and the spey/steelhead community in particular, are replete with great people.


06-27-2006, 11:38 PM
My father - Who took me fishing whenever he could. Heaven knows he wasn't much use in freshwater but loved the deep blue sea and always had dinner ready during our times in the Outer Banks (regardless of where the fish may really have come from).

Derek Brown - Who took the time to help me get an "extra yard or two" on my first, wobbly-legged Spey casts.

Nick Pionessa - Who showed me "the way" on my home waters of Western New York.

David Bishop - Gaspe guide extraordinaire. A guy with a real affinity for catching Salmon who recognized my love of the game and took me by the hair and showed me a few things. Thanks to his inspiration I can now call myself a "Salmon Angler" with a straight face.

Marc LeBlanc - The quiet man in the canoe. Showed me that watching and listening are also important parts of the sport as well as tying flies worthy of the quarry.


06-28-2006, 12:15 AM
Mom and Dad always took me or at least allowed me to venture out on my own, that would put them both up at the top of the list. (I hope this doesn't sound like an award ceremony speech).:hihi:
On one of the occasions that I was ferried to the river (Elwha) by my Mom, around age 12, I encountered another angler. He was a bit older than myself more like an older brother, he was not wearing hip waders, just a pair of old La Crosse Tennis Shoes and he had over his shoulder a Wicker Creel. He had not started fishing for the evening and as such his creel was empty give for the Gerbers Baby Food jars that were inside and holding his hand tied trout flies. He told me that the fishing had been good and wished me good luck I replied the same to him and we went our seperate ways the only two on the river that day. (July 1960)
Over the next lifetime I would learn from this man more than merely how to catch a fish but how to live life as a participant in the game and not as merely an obsever.

06-28-2006, 05:32 PM
OC, I am flattered to say the least.

We should share some water someday for I have the same respect for your opinions you have stated you have for mine.

06-29-2006, 01:26 AM
Carl Ostberg
Dave Carlson
Uncle Ken

06-29-2006, 11:08 PM
This is tough for me since I have been influenced by a plethora of people some I never met, some dead long before I was born, some I have seen astream, and some I know as friends.

Foremost is my father, although he is a trout fishers from Pennsylvania, who taught me to fly fish at age 5 and who still fishes at age 80.

Leon Wronski, a professional fly tyer from Mahanoy City, PA who I met when I was 14. Leon taught me how to spin deer hair, tie duck and goose slip wings on straight, tie bronze mallard, the importance of proper proportions and the illusion of bulk in a fly, the importance of practice and tying the same fly over and over and over until it becomes second nature, and the importance of tying the best fly you can whether it is for fishing or framing. Leon was 63 when I met him, so unfortunately, he is long dead.

Joe Humphrey's who taught me the importance of being able to cast a long line to cover fish most can't reach, while not neglecting to cover the fish closer in, and the importance to do so with minimal false casting.

Joe Brooks whose writing in Outdoor Life and his books telling about fishing for Atlantic Salmon, trout, steelhead, and many other species often in far away places.

My very good friend Manual Bernado who I don't get to see very often since he retired and moved back to Fortuna, CA. A great companion on the water and a master of using the shooting head on a single-hand rod for steelhead. Manual is not well-known; but he has forgot more about steelhead than most in the 53 years he has been fly fishing for them.

My friend steelhead fly fishing author Bob Arnold. Unfortunately, he hardly ever fishes for steelhead anymore.

George McLeod simply from watching him fish for summer runs in front of his cabin and talking to him about steelhead fishing.

Trey Combs both from his books and for well being Trey.

Steve Gobin for his superb flies and willingness to share his knowledge.

Alec Jackson for his encyclopedic knowledge of steelhead fishing and flies.

There are several members of both this forum and speypages who I have had the pleasure of fishing with and/or getting to know. Again, most are not well-known; but as OC put it, very good fishers all who are great company and gentlemen.

I know I'm over the magic ten already; but the books from Kelson, Francis, Traherne, Hale, Knox, Hardy, Blacker, Schwiebert, Wulff, Falkus, Bergman, Haig-Brown, Chaytor, Col. Bates, A.H.E. Wood, and Hills among others have had an influence.

There are also the great casters and casting instructors I've met over the years.