Lefty was everyones favorite fly fishermen. If you ask anyone in fly fishing who the most legendary fly fishermen is; without hesitation… “Lefty!”. I find it hard to believe anyone who has ever lived helped grow the sport more than Lefty. It was not through his social media, or his hip style. His smile alone just made fly fishing look fun. Lefty’s patients and reasonable approach to teaching made it achievable. Countless people studied his writing, videos, and seminars trying to pick up a hint of what he had to say. Lefty always appeared to be a very happy man, and I would venture to say, a lot of that had to come from bringing the joy of fly fishing to so many anglers. I can’t think of a expression more iconic to fly fishing than that Lefty Kreh smile.
I first became aware of Lefty because of his picture on the wall at the old McRae’s bait shop in Homosassa Florida. His weird name and his crazy tarpon photos amazed me. Now we didn’t fish for tarpon as a kid. However, Homosassa was a fishing town, every kid knew the stories of the Homosassa tarpon. Then there was this Lefty fella… He was out there fishing for them with a fly rod… What the hell was a fly rod? Not to mention why did people want to follow him around with a camera? His smile just had this mystery to it, like he knew something about fishing that made it extra fun. He made you want to know his secrets.
Then a few years later I learned about fly fishing. I picked up a book on tying knots, by Lefty Kreh! “Thats the crazy smiling tarpon dude from wall at McRea’s!” Then I watched Youtube videos for hours on how to cast a fly rod… “Hey this guy is everywhere!” It didn’t seem to matter if he was teaching a casting video on Youtube or holding up a fish from some corner of the world. That smile was recognizable anywhere. Was I starting to learn what made him so happy?!
I, like probably thousands of other fly fishermen spent hours studying his casting, knot tying, fly tying, and teaching techniques. Actually I can’t remember I time when I didn’t know the name “Lefty”. From the first time I went down to the bait shop with my folks, to the first time I ever cast a fly rod.
Thanks For Everything
I posted this on my social media, but Paul Puckett sketched something up that I thought was so perfect, I cant help but share it again. Paul captured what we all loved about Lefty, I never knew him, but “Thanks for everything!”
Thank you Lefty, and thank you to your family for sharing his time with all of us.