I am the youngest of three boys in a fly fishing family. That meant generally getting the poorest fishing spots on most family excursions, but once in a while (and later on, I learned) that paid off in terms of patience and perseverance. I first held a fly rod at the age of five, and by six or seven I was an accomplished caster and fly fisher. It was also at that time that I started tying flies (initially learning from my brothers) purely for utilitarian purposes. When I was still quite young (during the late 1950s and early 1960s) I fondly remember going down town to the Meier and Frank store in Portland and sitting for hours at the side of Audrey Joy at her tying desk. She was the hired tier for the fly fishing section in the sporting goods department at that store. Audrey provided fantastic instruction along with information about how to obtain various materials. At that time, the Herter’s Catalog was the primary source for all things fly tying.
My parents owned a small cabin on a mining claim in what is now the heart of the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River, and it was there that I learned how to read water for trout and steelhead, throw a long line, and catch the Rogue’s famous steelhead on a fly. I still own property in the same vicinity, and I consider the Rogue to be my home water. I have also fished (more or less) all over the Rocky Mountain West as well as the Pacific Northwest, with a few Caribbean saltwater destinations thrown in for good measure.
Fishing is a passion of mine, and it was to me (during the mid 1970s) that my great college (and now life-long) friend, Rockwell Hammond, turned for fishing and tying advice and instruction. From the beginning, he was a willful and astute student, gathering from me all that I would yield. For a short period I was his tying mentor (until his passion for it and expertise at it surpassed mine), and he now serves as a tying mentor for me and many others. You all may hold me responsible as the mentor of the mentor.