Lefty Kreh - fishing, tackle and Lefty's Deceiver
Lefty Kreh favourite fishing place and changes to the sport.
Pattern for Lefty's Deceiver, the future of fly fishing and cruelty.
If you had to choose a place to go fishing, where would it be?
If I had to choose a week’s fishing I would go for bone fish and probably go to Los Rochas in Costa Rica, Los Rochas is 90 miles off the north coast and it has some of the best quality bone fish that I know of and because its very small only a few people at a time can fish there. I hope that it will remain good for some time to come.
What are the most important matter to be addressed for the future?
There are some important matters that fly fisherman need to think about. The most important is that we are not getting enough young people into fly fishing. There are many activities that young people can get into such as hockey, baseball, basketball, all these other sports. One of the sad things is they have all these sports in the school but they do not have fly fishing. A lot of people here think that the fly fishing associations are a huge operation but the truth of the matter is that fly fishing manufacturers in the US and the UK and other places are not large. So we can’t get all these small companies to put up money to promote fishing and that’s the biggest problem we have. And the other problem is that we have got to protect our resources. We have a lot of people doing that but we need to continue its not a war its series of battles and we have got to stay with it.
What are the most significant changes to fly fishing over the years?
Fly fishing has changed a lot over the years. The first thing that was a major change was when we went from silk lines to nylon lines and what really made the difference was when they learned how to make lines without the complication of building the taper with the braid because these lines were very expensive. Tapering was a hand operation that was very expensive and time consuming. Leon Martouche, the original owner of Scientific Anglers and others invented the concept of having a level braid and building the line over it. That was a major breakthrough in fly fishing because it made lines that were good and affordable to the general public. Before that only rich people could afford good fly lines. The next great thing was the invention of glass fibre and then graphite because it did two things. One, rods dampened quicker and so you could cast them better and the blue collar worker could afford to get a good rod whereas before that bamboo rods were very expensive and only the elite could afford them. The other thing which I think has had a great impact is that when I started fly fishing in 1947 there was nobody around to talk to and the few people who knew how to fly fish would not tell anybody anything about it. Now we have videos, casting instructors, shows to go to etc. In the 1950s and 60s there were few fly fishing books in the United States now there are so many you don’t know what to buy. In 1965 three individual organisations started in the US each unknown to the other these were Trout Unlimited, Fly Fishing Federation and Salt Water Fly Rod of America which later became international. What these groups did was to bring fly fisherman together to share knowledge and that really proliferated the sport and I think that was a major thing.
Recently our industry has radically changed we now have many low cost rods coming into the market and we have reels that are superb and cost less than 300 dollars for salt water work and they used to cost twice that. I can see that the whole industry is changing over and some of the high price manufacturers are going to have trouble selling expensive rods. Its bad for some people in the industry but ultimately I think it will be good for fishing because if you have two kids and you have to buy two 500 dollar rods you cannot afford to take them fly fishing but if you can buy 89 dollar rods then they will get into it.
If you could have one piece of fly fishing equipment from your past what would it be?
If I could retrieve one piece of fishing tackle from the past it would be the first deceiver I ever tied. When I tied Lefty’s deceiver I wanted a fly which would not foul, that you could make in different sizes, could use with different colour combinations and that was easy to cast and attractive to fish. The first Leftys deceivers were all white and I don’t even k now what year it was but it was in the late 1950s. I would love to have kept that first one just as a memento.
Do you think that fly fishing is a cruel sport?
Some people think that fly fishing is a cruel sport what did Lefty think? Boy a lot of times I do when I’ve got to untangle my line and my leader spooks fish and I think that the gods don’t like fly fisherman, but no. Actually it’s the second most enjoyable thing in my life. In fact Harald Bainbridge was the editor of Esquire Magazine for years and when somebody asked him about fly fishing he said it’s the most fun you can have whist standing up.
And finally does Lefty think that fisherman have a special bond?
Oh absolutely I think that fly fisherman do. In our country a bass fisherman throwing lures will actually put his rod underwater so no one knows what he is using, there is not the sharing of knowledge amongst spinning anglers but in fly fishing if you walk on a stream and you are not doing too well another fly fisherman might come down and give you a fly and say try this or try that. You do not have this in other kinds of fishing and I think that the fly fishing fraternity is not an elitist group, most of the fly fishers are blue collar workers.
The tying below is for the particular fly illustrated, the colours may be changed to suit conditions or species and weed guards are added where necessary.
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