Dan Fallon Fly Fishing Article Column 6 2016
Dream Fly Christmas
"He hath awakened from the dream of life"
Percy Shelly 1792-1822
Fly fishers all over the world have put away all their gear and with some sadness accepting fact its all over for the year... Young future fly maniacs begin preying that new fly rod or reel will be tucked under the tree. Memories of wonderful trips and catch and release flow freely as old friends remind you of that great trip early spring never to be forgot! An endless ritual for all fly fishers passing of another year on and in the waters that provide the memories...
Few years ago a long time fly fisher friend passed and his family showed up with 100 or more of his fly rods and reels asking me to evaluate the worth of his life long collection! Fly rods lined across living room and spare room. What a sight nowhere to walk wonderful memory. As I sorted through and made notes with an occasional expensive Bamboo popping up. I was in heaven for days.
When his Son came by three days later to get the gear and listen to my evaluations the tears began to flow. Each rod I picked up brought another story to revel in. When the afternoon ended I realized how much everyone of those fly rods meant to my dear old fly Pal. He had special tubes and sacks and wooden long boxes for every rod. Surely he must have known it would be me his life long fly Pal who would be going over his cherished possessions. An honor never to be forgot.
While visiting old friends in the town of Electra Texas in the early 1990s. I was feeling a little homesick for the left coast and the endless fly fishing streams and rivers I have roamed since childhood. The dinner conversation was ok and getting boring. I stood up excused myself and wondered outside thinking if I were home near Yosemite National Park.
I could easily escape and head for my favorite Brook Trout stream near Lake Tanya with my 4 weight Bamboo. My wondering mind and listless face must have tipped my host to my home sickness... He walked past the Christmas Tree picked up a long thin gift package and then asked his wife, "Honey do you think I might be able to open this one gift early?" He unwrapped his brand new three piece Winston Rod Bamboo handed it to me and said, "Dan think we can break this in down the road at my favorite creek. What say you California fly man?" A golden sweet memory never to be forgot.
We caught and released several nice wild trout with the new Bamboo taking turns.
My love and obsession for fine hand made or rare Bamboo fly rods is well known. Have written many tales featuring my favorite Bamboo. In the 2000s set world record with 6 weight Bamboo catching 33 Pound King Salmon in deep Alaska at fabled lake Marie fly lodge. Have had several Alaska Grand Slams armed with fine Bamboo.
My fondest Christmas Bamboo story features legendary Bamboo Rod maker Walton Powell. After Mr. Powell and I became friends I spent time at his last home on Fall River upper California. Near the end of his life he still loved to fly fish and talk all day about his Bamboo adventures decades in the past.
On one of my last visits before Mr. Powell passed he said, "Dan think you might like this Bamboo I signed and scribbled your name as well". He handed me a three piece 6 weight that had been made for a Doctor who never picked it up. He signed it in front of me and also gave me several of his own hand tied flies, One of the best days of my fly fisher life!
He told me endless fly tales and I wrote several stories about his outdoor life including "Lord Of The Flies" A rare man indeed. Never will be another Walt Powell...
Few years ago near Christmas I got an e-mail saying, "Hi Dan just found and old Bamboo trolling rod made for the famous writer Jack London. It says it was made by another famous fly rod maker Mr. Powell? Would you be interested in taking a look at it? "Soon their after a man and his faithful wife arrived with camera and the Powell wrapped up like a rare treasure that it appeared to be.
I spent some time going over every aspect of the rod and decided it was possibly made by Walt Powell’s very famous Father E. C Powell long ago. The look on that man’s face and the firm handshake great holiday gift... One can now find the story and photos of that rod on the web.
When I lived near Yosemite Park early 1883 - 1993 married into a cowboy family. My fondest memories are those of ice cold mornings with my Father in law throwing flies while he tossed worms into the mighty Merced River and catching Rainbows and fat Browns. He always caught more fish and never said a word smiling as I beat the water to death with my beloved fly rods.
All the best memories are tied to fly rods and fly adventures around the world. Every day I thank the Lord of Lords for the great luck of discovering fly fishing and Bamboo at an early age. Life with out this obsession would have been boring and lifeless indeed...
Written by Dan Fallon © 2016