I had an experience early last week in which an older friend gave me all of his fly fishing equipment. He'll never fish again. It was a ceremonial event, at least in my mind. We both knew this day would come, we both weren't looking forward to it, but time and age are cruel mistresses. I'm honored to receive his gear. This is a man who learned to tie and fish from the great Joe Humphreys. He was at Penn State when Milt Eisenhower was there. He's got stories of Ike stopping by the college to meet his brother before heading out to the region's legendary spring creeks. He's been tying as long as he's been fishing.
I don't take this lightly. The closest thing I can liken it to is when Johnny Cash gave Bob Dylan his guitar...except while I have no problem likening my friend to Johnny Cash, I ain't no Dylan.
Still, he gave it to me. Fly tying supplies, hand made rods (the only graphite I'll fish with!), old click pawl reels lined with Cortland 444 DT lines that are still quite usable, boxes of leader material, and the crown gem of them all-a hand built Richardson fly box filled with his flies.
Most of his flies were rusted out, and it pained me to throw out so many flies, but I was able to salvage quite a few, and I've been fishing this past week with a mixture of his flies, my own ties (which are getting better!), and ties made by a friend of mine.
I've been told the best I can do for this fellow, who I'll never ever be able to pay back but I'll sure try, is to send him pictures of my fishing adventures. He takes pleasure in knowing that his stuff is still being used, so here you go old friend. This stuff is built to last, don't be surprised if my own children use it some day!