Art Burton - Fly Fishing Forum
Stripers and Coastal Gamefish Stripers, Blues, Inshore tuna!

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Old 02-27-2008, 07:37 AM
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Smcdermott Smcdermott is offline
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Art Burton

Captain Ray is having some technical difficulties getting onto the site. He asked me to post the following:

If I could save Time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
'til Eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go
Through time with

“Time In A Bottle” by Jim Croce

Time is so precious …. What’s it really worth?
Depends on each individual.
An adolescent enjoys life to the fullest. They expect to see tomorrow and beyond.
Adults know about the passage of time.
They understand the complexities of life.
Relish the good times, feel the pain and suffering.
Adults know that tomorrow is promised to no one.
As you get older, you understand the odds better than anyone.

It is with deep regret that one of our fly fishing friends has not been feeling well and doesn’t expect to recover. Please keep Art Burton in your thoughts and prayers. We visited Art today at his home in North Smithfield. My son, wife, and I heard about the news late last week.

Art has always been a source of inspiration to us. His wealth of knowledge and his generosity has touched so many here on this site. He’s in good spirits considering all that he’s been through lately. Spent six days in the hospital. He has the love of his family all around him. Now it’s our turn as his friends to show him our appreciation.

Art cannot hear well so calling him by phone frustrates him. Art actively uses the Internet each day and communicates best that way. Visitors are welcome but he does get tired. He’s not one to sit still at home either. He still has projects to complete. If anyone wants to send a cheerful card or letter, I can provide his address.

Please keep Art in your thoughts.
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Old 02-27-2008, 07:57 AM
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striblue striblue is offline
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Sean, thanks very much for that. I had no idea he was not well or that it was not looking positive. I will send an e-mail to him.
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:17 PM
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RayStachelek RayStachelek is offline
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Thanks to Juro and his tweaking of the right buttons, I'm able to communicate on the Forum again.

Most of the newer members on the Fly Fishing Forum probably have no idea who Art Burton really is. And that's OK. He has been inactive here for some time.

Just as you may be new here, Art goes way back to the very beginning of this site. Matter of fact, he's the reason I post here. He was the one who told me about this site years ago when the Internet was at its infancy.

Art asked me if I would volunteer my expertise of RI and aid in helping out at the first Rhody Clave. That I did, but Art was the first to step forward and get this big fling off the ground.

You have to remember that saltwater fly fishing was just getting popular among the novices. Art was our mentor to so many newbies. Now it seems that everyone is caught up to speed on the knowledge and technology of the sport.

He took great pride in the fact that his name and picture appeared on this web site as a legend of the sport and a source of information. He was admired by all.

So I ask some of you old timers for your help. If you have story, moment, or a quip about Art that you could publicly share here on this thread..... please do so.

It would do a lot of us some good who cherrish his friendship. I think Art would be greatly appreciated your kindness too. I know Striblue interview him awhile ago about some history in fly fishing.

Thanks guys

Capt. Ray
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Old 02-27-2008, 08:45 PM
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Thanks Ray and nice speaking with you this evening.... If Art will allow it I would love to post his interview on this site.... It's fun to read and some great history...with the likes of H. Gibbs and Al Brewster, etc. and other Rhoddy Fly guys going back years ago...PS. Maybe we can do a special section as has been done with other stories and include Art's History and stories. He can add to it as he wants since it is not edited and was written up by him and sent to me.
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:16 PM
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FrenchCreek FrenchCreek is offline
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Here is one for Art!

I met Art in 2001, a few weeks after I retired and only a few days after the terrible 9-11 we all remember. Ray and others know well his generosity and open sharing of all he knows of flyfishing, I was one of many I'm sure who were at te receiving end of this wonderfull story teller. We agreed to meet somewhere on the beach in R.I. (if I recall correctly), at a local fishing shop/bait house et al. I got there and having never met Art, I inquired if any one knew him and that I was to meet him. "Oh, said one fellow, he's been riding up & down the strip in his truck for awhile". I went outside and Art saw me, turned into the parking lot and gently asked if I had told these folks where we were going. No, I said, since I had no idea where I was going. We then proceeded to a breach way, Quonnie I think, where Art told me that the spot we were going to was a "club members" only area but the he would vouch for me if anyone bothered us and that we would go to his favourite secret spot. We stopped about 100 yards into this sandy beach road and Art took the air out of the tires and explained why. Then he started telling me about his early days as a flyfisherman. I guess he was one of the original "fly fishers" in the salt and I was mesmorized with his stories, all the names of every person he had fished with and the rods they used, the flies and every secret he had for catching fish on the fly. He made sure that I did not venture to the lower rocks, at low tide, since they were extermely slippery, a few casts later, I had hooked a nice Striper, so here goes Art, at somewhere around 75 years of age, climbing down slippery rocks, to the waters edge with a boca grip, because, as he said, he really wanted me to hold this fish before we released him. Later on we spoke about trout fishing and he told me more stories. The next day, we went out with his son Art Jr. and that day I caught my first FA, I still remember Art Sr. coaching me about how to play this fish and get it to the boat. Then, in a somewhat uncerimonious but also somewhat official manner, Art Sr. presented me with one of his trout flies, complete with the name tag you see in the picture, and told me all about how & why he had created this pattern. I've only fished this fly once and immediatly caught a very large Brown trout back home. Since then, I've kept this fly as part of my "collectibles" so here it is, my way of sharing back for Art.
Art, if you get to read this, I hope these memories give you a bit of a sense of how much I appreciated your presence and all the gifts that come with meeting a great fly fisherman!
Or maybe one of the guys can print this note and bring it to you.
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Pete AKA Frenchcreek from Calgary
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:34 AM
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Wow, this news comes as a shock to me this morning. Art has given tons and asked for nothing in return. A mentor to many is correct; he certainly helped shepard me into this sport. Whethere fishing from his truck or from his inflatable boat, he certainly is a master of this sport.

My thoughts are with him and his loved ones.
Well, I'm on the Downeaster Alexa, and I'm cruisin' through Block Island Sound.
I have chartered a course for the Vineyard, but tonight I am Nantucket bound.
-Billy Joel "Downeaster Alexa"
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:57 AM
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No specific stories from me, just great memories of times on the beach and in the boat with this very kind, very generous man. Art's about as classy as they come.

Tried uploading a picture of Art with a Watch Hill albie when he and I were guests on his son's boat--no joy. I'll try again later.

Art, you're in my thoughts and prayers. Get well soon, my friend.

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Old 02-28-2008, 08:12 AM
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No specific stories from me either, having only fished with Art once and that was one of the ice breakers. We did talk for quite awhile while hiking up to the dam on the Seekonk R. Hope you get well soon, you're too young to go just yet, Art.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:44 AM
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I'm so sorry to hear this.

It's been a couple of years since I last met Art. It was a week-day evening at Quonny in mid summer.

The crowds were almost gone for the day and the sun was settling into a hazy Western horizon.

Only fishermen remained. Oh, and the fish were there too
When sight fishing, look over your shoulder from time to time, you never know who's behind you
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:06 PM
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Here is a copy of what wrote up for me a couple years ago: The discusion was to be primarily on flies used. Art was going to add to this and revise it where he saw fit. Ray PM'd me saying it was ok to post. I wonder whether I should separate this on a stand alone thread with a title?

"1 ) I was born in Fall River Ma. 1/19/29 . I moved to Rehoboth Ma. in 1936. Started fishing with my dad in the Coles, and Palmer Rivers. The palmer River was about one half mile from my house. My dad bought me my first fly rod when I was 10. When I was about 12 I caught my first trout. which was on a bivisible. Wreaked three flies that day at .35 cents ea. About 1943 or 1944 I met Al Brewster while fishing the Palmer. He took me in, literally into his family. During the summer we met most nights and fished together. He started me into fly tying and saltwater fly fishing. We both joined and belonged to South Seekonk Gun Club where the fly fishers around the area all belonged. Harold Gibbs, Rube Cross, Rube Richmond, Ed Materne, Milt Hall, Jim Seiford, Joe Shultz, Bill Swartz, and others who’s names escape me. I t was located in South Rehoboth right next to the herring run on the Palmer River below Shad Factory Pond. One of the first places I learned about conservation as the club helped the State of Mass. rebuild the herring run. Must have done a good job as it is still working today. The last time I visited it, about 4 years ago there were herring ascending the run. For tying flies Al and I bought from Herter’s. In fact I have one of their catalogs that I have kept over the years. They also had an excellent Fly tying book with a chapter on What fish feed on.

2) At every possible time I fished fresh and salt-water probably about 60 % fresh, and 40% salt. Salt water was mostly around eastern Narragansett Bay, Warren, Barrington, There was many places that one could fish that had a tide rip which even back then thought that a rip is necessary to give the fly good action, and the fish would lie in the rip ambushing the bait that drifted by. Many of the places are off limits today for a lot of different reasons, no parking, private property, and too many boats. One place we had fun was among the moorings of The Barrington Yacht Club. Many a night took lots of stripers on Al’s Shrimp fly, just like catching trout on a dry fly. I would say we fished from shore 99% of the time.

3) Primarily I fished with Al Brewster for stripers, but I had also fished with Harold Gibbs, Joe Shultz, Bill Swartz, Jim Seiford, for stripers fished with “Gibbs Striper Fly” and “Al’s Shrimp Fly”. I also fished quite a bit for the American Shad in the lower part of the Palmer River using “The Shad Fly” with three plastic beads ahead of it, red white red.

4) When I first started fishing for stripers I used Harold’s “Gibbs Striper Fly” or a blue and white streamer. A little later fished a lot with “Al’s Shrimp Fly” I know quite a few of the traditional salmon flies were used but didn’t work out that well.

5) I think that at least in our area quickly figured that flies were going to have to be developed to imitate the saltwater baitfish, or something to attracted them. I know I fished with Harold, and Al many before I caught my first striper on a fly rod. I used their rods, and flies after they caught a fish they would hand me their rod and use my rod, they would catch another bass and I would still get skunked. It taught me to be persistent. I could be wrong, but back then the basics was to imitate the silverside. Back then a legal striper was sixteen inches to the fork in the tail.

6) With a fly rod I fished for stripers, shad, white perch, salmon, one period 1953 and 1954 I fished for tarpon from one of the seaplane ramps at the Naval Station in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Caught a couple of small tarpon, and had one hit that scared the crap out of me. It was a huge fish. Fishing saltwater with a fly rod in Massachusetts and RI. Fresh water I have fished all the New England states, NY, and Pa. And Canada. Used Blue and white streamers, “Al’s Shrimp Fly”, and Harold’s “Gibbs Striper.” I had very good luck catching salmon, and several other kinds of fish on my glorified “Mickey Finn.” I had given the pattern to several friends who also had good luck fishing it, in fact one friend Harry Cary from East Providence told me it saved one of his salmon fishing trips to Quebec, the only fly that caught any fish on a fishing trip. I wrote about this fly in the eighties for UFT “ Roundtable” magazine.

7) I seem to remember tying most flies on the shortest hooks available, back then it was a Mustard 1/0. I haven’t seen any lately. I think I have a couple left from them days. The hooks were so short the buck tail couldn’t wrap around the shank. That was one of the problems back then. Even today I see that happening on lots of the synthetics.

8) I don’t have any flies that I can say is mine, especially salt-water. Fresh-water yes. See #6 Which I had caught Atlantic Salmon, Coho Salmon, stripers, bluefish, I just added flashabou to the Mickey Finn.

9) Al Brewster and I have had a lot of discussions on flies. One of Al’s patterns, “the shrimp fly” he came up with after the night before we fished all night over stripers without taking one fish, having them run against our waders. We always were trying to come up with a bait matching color. We even did some dying trying to get the right color. Harold was always talking about matching colors of the bait whether dry, wet, streamers, fresh or salt he felt that color was the most important.

10) Harold Gibbs was a person who was very scientific, in fact, he had a lab right on the bank of the Palmer River, up above the bridge on the Warren River which changes to be named the Palmer. He was artificially inseminating quahogs for Luther Blount of Blount’s Seafood. He was working also on breeding chickens for their hackles, trying to develop a natural blue-dun. He also carved miniature birds. He always had the time to talk fly tying or fly fishing, Harold use to like to go to Canada to fish for the Atlantic Salmon, which was impossible during the second world war. He and his brother, Frank who I didn’t know, started fishing for, and catching stripers on flies with a fly rod and flies. He never claimed to start it, in fact he always maintained that there was many others.

11) Fishing philosophy back then was to take the time to show others the art of fly fishing, and tying without the thought of turning a profit. Today the so called masters are looking for big bucks on showing how to cast or tie. Lots of the young folks today find it difficult to get started. I am not really an expert as far as casting, or fly tying, but I am always ready and willing to try and help anyone that wants to start. Places to fish here in the RI area..

12) I belonged to the South Seekonk Gun Club, which had quite a few salt-water fly fishers all who were willing to have a youngster tagging along, whether it was fresh, salt fishing or hunting. I am always available to help anyone who needs it. I can and do offer advice on where to go and what to do. I don’t hid nothing I am always giving advice about where to fish in RI, and if I can I will even take them. I have run or helped on some of the claves. One of which I had about six well known so called experts from the area, but it was cancelled because of the weather. I sure would like to fish at Monomoy once before I die."
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:29 PM
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I fished an Icebreaker and a Fall Fling with Art and other Forum members. I remember Art coming up to my truck window to give me a peek at his flybox in the pouring rain. The rain did not bother him one bit. He truly loves to share his knowledge and ideas.
Certified Stan Gibbs Cape Cod Canal Classic Flyrodder

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Old 02-28-2008, 04:33 PM
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I only met Art once he's a true gentleman. My prayers go out to him. FishHawk
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:49 PM
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I had the pleasure of fishing with Art a few times. One time, before I was even into flyfishing, I was fishing from the rocks at the end of Napatree Point and the stripers were feasting on anchovies right around the rocks. People were hooking up on almost every cast and it lasted for hours. When I got chased off of my rock by the rising tide, I started to head back towards the beach and found Art sitting on a boulder, taking a break from the action. I had only met him once before at one of the Rhody claves but he recognized me and waved me over to say hi. Later, we ended up walking back to the parking lot together, and during the mile or so walk, Art gave me pointers about fishing Napatree and other places in western RI. He also talked about how much fun it was to catch fish on a flyrod, especially albies.

Art -- Thanks for your generosity and enthusiasm. I'll be thinking of you.

The farther you can cast, the easier it is for a fish to take you into your backing. I seldom see my backing . . .
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:32 AM
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This is sad news. I've only interacted with Art once years ago at our flyfishingforum booth in Marlborough, but I could sense his energy and passion for everything fishing related at that time. Since then, I have been the benefactor of PMs from him here and there with timely advice about where the fishing has been hot in RI.

I wish him comfort and peace.
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Old 03-03-2008, 10:49 AM
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Hawkeye Hawkeye is offline
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I met Art a number of years ago at a spring gathering in RI. My brother and I got paired up with him and he spent the day driving us all over what seemed the whole state showing us his favorite spots giving us advice and watching us fish. He didn't pick up a rod the whole time and seemed more than content to simply share with us. I will always remember that day and not for the fish but for the time spent with a legend who gave so generously.
Tight Lines,

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