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The Contented Angler fly shop
September Mourn salmon fly

  The Contented Angler History

It's hard to believe that we've been doing this for 50 years. I remember when Orvis came out with a new product called "weighted nymphs! Beads were not yet around. Most had a Fenwick Glass rod, a Hardy, Martin or Pflueger reel and a Cortland 444 line from when Leon Chandler was still there. We remember that Bob Borden owned Hareline Dubbin' and sold nothing but blended rabbit. There was more natural material than synthetic, now it's the opposite since John Betts introduced synthetic material in tthe 80's  I remember moving up to the Orvis Far and Fine series which we purchased from John at the Fishing Post.  I remember how we used to dye material to get the color we needed and how to overdye natural material to ge the colors we needed.  Another lost art. Thomas & Thomas not only had fine fly rods and also catalog of materials.. I remember when one of the "Letort Regulars gave me an official patch. I never wore it because I don't deserve to. I know you don't know who they are. Neither does your mentor.

When other tyers were seeking fame and fortune we were at the Allenberry listening to some of the old Pa. masters talk.One taught me to be humble just by his actions.I remember when one of the "Letort Regulars gave me an official patch. I never wore it because I don't deserve to. I know you don't know who they are. Neither does your mentor.  I thought that fly fishing would survive the mean hateful and chaotic way the world is today, but I was wrong. People are just angry and can't wait to pick a fight. There will be no mentors from this era. No teachers that want to preserve the proper way to fly fish Only those who attack the proper way so they can catch as many fish as they can in the shortest amount of time. In my day, you hoped your friend caught more fish than you. When young people today accept this attitude, we will know that they have arrived.

Wouldn't it be great if we modified the rules of baseball and had scores like 100 - 92?.. This is the fly fishing team today. Catch as many 8" trout in the shortest amount of time without using a fly line and watch them swim away for the third time believing they survived the battle. Why not have a fly fishing stadium with announcers, popcorn, and beer? after all we don't want to acknowledge our surroundings and absorb the healing aspects to our brain. I have a book that scientifically explains this Even being arouond the trees can make a great difference in our attitudes and outlook. Someone who is too ignorant to read should not be teaching young people.

Let me just say that I admire and respect the professional bass anglers tour. They don't pretend. I also admire the skilled spin fishermen.

In our day we had "real authors" People like, Joe Humphreys, Ed Shenk, Kenny Abrames who wrote the best book on baitfish but your mentor has never seen it. We had Harry Middleton who was the best of all. Oh, how I wish young people would read Harry middleton today. Jim Teeny explained the immportant part of fly fishing better than anyone. We spent an evening fishing with kenny Abrames. Rich Murphy also comes to mind as does Vince Marinaro. Does anyone today believe they can improve on Kenny Abrames on the subject of baitffish. What about Col. Joe Bates  Your mentor doesn't know that Jim Bashline wrote a book on fishing the alleghenny at night.   

We were around when Hurricane Agnes scoured Kettle Creek down to bedrock. This is what you see today. 

My most important task was to tie an acceptable fully dressed Jock Scott. I was paid $60.00 for this one fly or exchanged it for a rare gift if I wanted to give it away. All of these great local tyers never received $60.00 for one fly. This took so much study and practice. You needed to know the story behind the fly to tie it and you ended up learning everything there is to learn about how to match the hook to the fly. This even prompted a trip to see poul Jorgenson and the Dettes. Of course we also wanted to fish the Beaverkill and Willowemoc.

After a visit to the Adirondacks, we were the only shop to offfer the "Fran Bettors rod " we also decided to keep a few for ouselves. After tying the Atlantic Salmon hairwings we thought we were ready for the mIrimachi. I thought I could cast but, like your mentor,  i needed some work The Miramichi was like stepping into holy water and there are some strict rules enforced by the guides. This was rotation fishing where standing in one pool like we do at Erie wasn't tolerated. Americans were only allowed to fish certain pools and I remember I had to break off a large salmon because it ended up in Candian water and i couldn't chase it.

Believe it or not "To be continued"

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