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‘I shot an arrow into the air….’


March 27, 2013

The unexpected results of writing this column continue to surprise me. People sometimes approach me at the Callicoon Farmers’ Market to praise or reproach me for words I have written. Sometimes the phone will suddenly ring. Once, it was a lady who said she had been a long time friend of John McDonald, the author of the book “Quill Gordon.” She wanted to thank me about something I had written regarding McDonald. I just never know what reaction a given column will produce. Some readers, such as Frank Salt of Damascus or Bob Moase of Sweet Valley, enjoy playing Clem’s Quiz in order to win two of my “poorly tied” flies. Since the baseball season is nearly here, the next quiz will run in early April.

It is not always easy to get these scribblings to the paper in a timely manner, especially when I am in Texas with a new bionic knee and an extended period of rehabilitation. Lately, my fishing has been reduced to little more than recalling memories. The February column was particularly difficult. The deadline was fast approaching and I was bereft of ideas. I was sitting in my fly tying room with no words flowing off the tip of my pencil. I was deep in thought, seeking an idea to get the words flowing. There I was, staring at some flies sitting on one of the many bookshelves in that room. On one shelf there sits a full dressed salmon fly tied by Keith Fulsher. Alongside that fly sit several flies mounted in glass jars, tied by some of the luminaries of the Dallas Fly Fishers. There are also two stoneflies tied by Agnes Van Put using Lee Wulff’s method. There is also a small plastic box that contains a Letort Hopper and a Henryville Special. I recalled the evening that these two flies had come into the possession of my diminutive, long-time fishing partner Barbara Ann. I suddenly smiled, for there was the answer to my problem. I had only to go back to my fly fishing journal of 1970 to find enough material to produce a small fishing story describing the events of a time long ago.