Guess Who Came to the Show?

This is pretty cool. On Saturday November 22nd, at the 24th Annual International Fly Tying Symposium in Somerset, New Jersey, a man came to my table. He was intently eyeing my flies, moving back and forth, from one end of the table to the other. Finally the customer I was speaking to departed, so I devoted my time to this fellow. He was a fine looking man, and well dressed, casual. I’ll move ahead in this story for a moment, but after he left my table, my girlfriend, Mary, said, “That guy looks so familiar. I think he’s a newscaster.” Well…

The thing that was fascinating and interesting, was our conversation, which was driven by the questions he asked. This man knew full well, about Carrie Stevens, about Rangeley streamers, about the 19th-century B-Pond wet fly, and even Lucius A. Derby, for whom Carrie Stevens created a memorial streamer pattern in 1942, based on the B-Pond wet fly.

Our conversation covered details about the Masonic Lodge in Lowell, Massachusetts, named after Lucius A. Derby. According to the book, “Carrie Stevens: Maker of Rangeley Style Trout and Salmon Flies,” by Graydon and Leslie Hilyard, she made seventy-five of these streamers, which were presented to the Lodge members at the memorial service for Lucius A. Derby in 1942. He knew all about this.

He then asked about the “four known brook trout fin wet flies,” to which I replied, “Actually there are six historic trout fin patterns.” I had a Riker Mount with all six, so I got it out and showed the man. Brook Fin, Trout Fin, Brookie Fin, Bergman Fontinalis, Fontinalis Fin, and Armstrong Fontinalis. Michigan angler, fly caster and fly tier, Phil Armstrong, created the last three.

I also had my six original trout fin wet fly patterns; based on classic style, they are: Olive Trout Fin, Hemlock Trout Fin (previously published), and the Gold Trout Fin, Silver Trout Fin, Rainbow Fin, and Brown Trout Fin. There is one more original but I can’t think of it now.

He was there a good twenty minutes. The conversation was active, engaging, and never slowed for a minute. This man was knowledgeable beyond most of the fly tying / fly fishing folks who stop by my table. We also talked of Carrie Stevens fly tying. I had a Kelley’s Killer original, an image of the fly, tied by her, on my digital camera, so I got the camera out and showed that image to him as well. We discussed its components, differing greatly from the pattern in Hilyard’s book. It was one of those kind of exhilarating meetings that you remember.

We never did figure out who he was until we were at the bar that evening. Mary kept saying, he looked so familiar, but she could not remember his name. All of a sudden, I stated, I’m seeing an “image of the guy wearing a bow tie.” Kind of a page in my mind that just turned. She googled, “news correspondents who wear bow ties” – and BINGO!

Tucker Carlson – of Fox News. Formerly of CNN and MSNBC. Kind of made my day, after the fact. It was impressive that he was so knowledgeable about historical aspects of fly fishing and fly tying. Cool stuff!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

12 comments on “Guess Who Came to the Show?

  1. Bruce Matolyak says:

    Great site Don. Really enjoying it, thank you for your efforts. Bruce Matolyak

  2. Kelly L says:

    Wow Donnie. That was a very cool story. I remember seeing him a few times on the news. It is a small world alright. Who would have ever dreamed he would be up on historical flies like that. This story was one of a kind, I loved it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hey Kelly;
      Yeah, I agree, him being “up on fly history” really made it special. Plus the fact neither Mary nor me knew who he was, I don’t watch much TV…heck, if I did know, it might have made me nervous… 😉

  3. flydressersguild says:

    Hi Don, sounds like you had a great show:)

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi Darrell;
      That was one of the good parts of the show. It was not well-attended, which reflected on the success of the exhibitors and fly tiers. Still had fun though, and Mary really enjoyed it. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      • flydressersguild says:

        Unfortunately numbers were down on the show I was at… but at least I had one guy interested in my little display of MOM Bass patterns – he ties fully dressed salmon patterns and was impressed by my floss work! – go me!!!

  4. johntbarrett says:

    Are the Carrie Stevens flies presented to the Masonic Lodge in Lowell viewable by the public? Or has the collection ended up in other hands?

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hi John;
      I have no idea on that…I wrote the Lodge President of the Order, asking if anyone might remember the flies and perhaps someone’s father or grandfather had one that was passed down. Unfortunately, there are no specimens of the Lucius A. Derby streamer in the Lodge archives. Perhaps one day, one will turn up in a collection…I assume the flies were given to each Lodge Member in 1942 as a memento of Mr. Derby. He had a son, but no grandson…so trying to locate a direct descendant – daughter – is difficult at best. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Don Bastian says:

    Good on you Darrell! That’s great you had an admirer who knows the effort behind the finished result… 😉

  6. Bill says:

    A great story about what must have been an exciting encounter. Thanks, DB, for your detailed telling of it. Please continue with your recent surge of interesting and informative posts.

    • Don Bastian says:

      Thanks Bill!
      Surge of posts…thanks! That is likely, but next week is deer camp and there’s no internet at the cabin. 😉 Glad you have been enjoying the writings, ramblings, and pics!

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