Lefty Kreh is my hero.
Long before I met this fly-fishing guru I bought his book: Fly Fishing in Salt Water. That book was my fly-fishing bible for years. I advise anyone contemplating fly fishing to obtain a copy. It has everything you need to know.
Kreh is the man when it comes to fly fishing. He has forgotten more than I'll ever know about the sport.
About 15 years ago, I got the chance to spend a day fishing with him. He was in town to be the featured speaker at a Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers banquet.
The day was lousy, overcast and very windy. That was great! I received a day of casting lessons, stories and jokes from the master.
There are several stories about Kreh. One is that he always takes a nap in the middle of the day no matter where he is. On the drive back to Sarasota, I looked back and saw Kreh sleeping with his mouth open.
Another story is that once he meets you, he never forgets your name.
A few months after spending a day with him, I ran into Kreh in the lobby of the Denver convention center. We were both attending the annual fly tackle dealers show. I stood by the side as Kreh talked with several people. When the last one left, I stepped forward, extended my hand and said, "How are you doing, Lefty?"
He looked at me, shook my hand and said, "I'm doing great, pal. How 'bout you?"
Lefty had no idea who I was.
Three years ago, I emailed him a couple of requests. I asked him for two business cards (one with his autograph) and for one of his Lefty's Deceivers, a fly that he created years ago. It might be saltwater fly fishing's most famous fly.
I received a small package a couple of weeks later. I opened it and found two business cards (one with his signature), an autographed photo of Lefty holding a giant northern pike that he'd taken on fly and a note.
He wrote that he quit mailing out Lefty's Deceivers because he couldn't keep up with the requests. He hoped I would understand.
I did. His business cards are in my collection. His photo is framed and on the wall in my home office/fly-tying room.