<font size="1">Didn't want to leave Mike out in the cold... and I'd gladly do this here knowing that I won't have to do it again (and again)...</font><!--1-->
Alright, where would one start? Sticking to fishing, I remember being a kid in Montreal and having dad buy that 1000 piece fishing set off the back of a batman comic. When it came, I realized that each hook counted as a "piece" but nonetheless it kicked off a whole new world for our family. I remember walleye, bass, perch, brookies, and all kinds of discovery... the most memorable being my mom finding a pre-spawn gathering of wild brookies and not telling the guys where through a whole vacation. She rowed me over the last morning as we packed, no rods, to teach me that it's not just about hooking them and frying them up. The lesson stuck.
After a healthy huck finn childhood of riding bikes to opening day on Walden Pond here in the states, I discovered saltwater gamefishing on Cape Cod. The first big bass was on an atom popper, just like the lilly pads but everything humongus - including the bass.
My first trout on a fly rod came when I could barely cast, black nosed dace flopped into the current and twitched across when the line straightened out. The fight was so different from spin gear that I knew I would someday make the switch completely. I was always fascinated with it and eventually would make the commitment to fly gear complete.
Conclaves - I arranged my first claves about 20 years ago, packed 12 people into a dodge ram 15 passenger van along with two or three other cars in a convoy. We headed out to Pulaski to discover steelhead and nearly all of us hit steel that March. We repeated the year after and had a special guest who came along - our own Smitty, who showed us you can land steelhead on trout tippets. He also showed me how to catch the experimental coho in the North River.
I moved out west to start a career and life in Seattle where I found out why steelhead are so addictive, and after a garage sale ended up with nothing but flyfishing gear. That's when I *really* learned how to flyfish. Like steelhead on surface flies kinda flyfish. There's no turning back from that. I spent many years seeing orca play by the boat, crossing the strait to Swiftshure bank off Vancouver, catching five species of salmon, halibut, lingcod in the sea, watching eagles float over glacial steelhead streams in the shadows of sno-capped summer peaks and towering coniferous forests and enjoying the simple quality of like in the pacific northwest.
A dozen years later, I'm back in New England and happy to find that stripers are back and back bigtime. It's been incredible to experience the Tip Rip, Big Girl, Monomoy, the North Shore, Rhody, Outer Beaches... all the world-class venues we have here. From the first sunrise over the atlantic, the giant red burning ball of cosmic energy floating over the hazy horizon, I knew I'd be happy to return. I've gotten back to my trout roots on occasion too. And each year I make the journey to steelhead mecca to rekindle the inner flame for giant searun rainbows of the yard-long leaping missle variety.
Then there's the internet. It's a quantum leap for communication - it compresses the span of the world and magnifies local interaction. It allows people across boundless regions to feel at home in a fireside environment, a place where anglers can celebrate their passion for the sport without getting out of the chair. But that's not what's so damn great about it... there is more to it than that - there are conclaves, to capitalize on what people have nearby, and exchanges to leverage our visits to other parts of the world. The internet gives us the opportunity to create an endless network of flyfishing freinds who share each other's home waters whenever the opportunity arises. These two things (local activities and global exchanges) are at the core of what this site aims to achieve.
So this is a labor of love, as someone put it. I have and will continue to put all I can into it. It's overall success will not come from any one person, nor will it serve any one person. It's success depends on the avid participation of it's visitors and it's rewards will be distributed completely to those who contribute. As it grows, more rewards will be distributed, making it more interesting to hang out, making it bigger, increasing the rewards, etc. A big flyfishing snoball to push down the big hill on the information highway. Some of the rewards will be material, others will be services, still others will be the kind that have no cost but will leave big deposits in the accounts of our lives, like the times we enjoyed in the conclaves we've had thus far and the friendships we create along the way.
So as I write this in early 2001, the snowball is starting to pack a little snow on itself, and it's getting a little easier to push. Nonetheless, it's whether we all push or not that will determine it's fate. The concept has never waivered since the founding ideals, set before a single page was live. The details have been all over the map, but the concept has not faltered from it's mission at all.
I set my priorities as family, God and country, work - then flyfishing and this website come right afterwards. I wouldn't mind moving that up a notch someday, so that work and flyfishing are at the same level! One can only dream...