I count myself as one of the many fishermen out there that can identify the moment and the person that set them on the watery path they currently find themselves following, and I'm quite sure the man pictured above has a lot to do with many, many people picking up a rod of some type, then hitting the saltwater in search of tough fighting and high flying quarry like redfish, bonefish, tarpon, and snook. Watching "Walker's Cay Chronicles" on a cold winter morning in Erie, Pennsylvania provided an escape from the brutal conditions I was likely to endure if I chose to go outside and attempt to clear the driveway of its three feet of drifted-in snow. I normaly chose to stay inside a few minutes longer so I could see where Flip's travels took him and what locale I was going to add to my "Wish List."
"Come with me on a trip into angling adventure. We'll ride the ragged edge where the fish are big and wild. From the fabled Walker's Cay we'll travel to the ends of the earth, to the loneliest ocean and the farthest rivers in search of the best light tackle action. We'll pit the smallest lures and the lightest rods against the toughest fish, and we'll burn the stories in to the memory of film, on the Walker's Cay Chronicles."
Just the introduction alone sucked me and thousands of others into a world of angling we never thought existed. Did Flip and the show's producers know what kind of marital trouble they were causing with a simple half-hour TV show? All those locations and all those fish infected a lot of people who probably never imagined venturing outside their current region, but their subconscious mind surely traveled while the innocent angler slept. Little did I imagine living and fishing in the exact area highlighted on numerous episodes would ever come to fruition. Ultimately catching the same species they made appear so glamorous turned into a lifelong goal as soon as we became Florida residents, and I'm still working on the list.
Flip's life has followed many paths along the way and there's no way I could ever do justice to his story, but rest assured that he's a legend who has spent countless hours on the water with many of the other pioneers in the sport of saltwater fly fishing. They're the ones that develop the tackle and techniques we employ today, so in a very true sense, we owe our success to the work Flip and his pals did back then.
Spending the night of September 10th with the Backcountry Fly Fishing Association at "The Legend Series" sponsored by Hell's Bay Boatworks is your chance to hear the stories first hand while possibly learning a few things that'll make you a better angler. Becoming involved in a club made up of a bunch of guys who share your love of fly fishing, fly tying, or just spending time on the water can't be a bad thing in itself. The club helped me to develop as a fly angler, ultimately leading me to writing about and sharing my love of the sport. I'm no John Gierach, or Norman Maclean when it comes to storytelling but we all share something in common with Flip and his friends, and that's passion.
Make plans to spend the evening with Flip and some new friends (and possibly some new fishing partners) on Thursday, September 10th. It's sure to be a gathering you won't soon forget.
Brian "Beastman" Eastman