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Friend's fly tying material brings with it a lifetime of memories

Blog by: David Coulson 11/9/2011

As we go through life, friends will come and go depending on where we are in our lives.  If weíre fortunate, a few friends will transcend lifeís stages. No matter how long youíre apart it will seem like yesterday when youíre together. When Ron first spoke those words, I was honored to be counted among his closest friends, and yes, he remains one of my closest friends today.

We first met through my tackle shop in Grand Junction.  A practicing orthopedic surgeon, Ron ran a monthly clinic in Meeker, which sits on the White River.  One day Ron invited me to join him on clinic day. As the clinic was generally over by noon, he figured I could fish while he worked and then weíd fish together in the afternoon.  After that, Meeker Wednesday became a routine.

Over the years Ron and I have enjoyed many fishing adventures.  There were trips to Canada and Alaska. Some were true adventures, such as Kannah Creek, a seven mile fishing hike as the crow flies along an overgrown stream.  The spouses were about to call search and rescue when we finally made it home.  Or the day on the White River when I took a dive, running a beaver cut willow shaft through the palm of my hand, requiring a run to the emergency room.  Not to mention the many broken rods when someone stumbled riverside.

There were non-fishing adventures also, such as the mountain bike ride on the Moab Trail where I broke my elbow.  Ron did the surgery and I suggested that busting up friends wasnít the best way to drum up business. As much as fishing was core to our friendship, just spending time together and enjoying each otherís company is the basis of our friendship. Even better for us, Sue and Kathie our spouses, are also close friends.

With retirement, Ron now pursues his true passion, golf. Oh, he still fishes on occasion, such as the week we spent at Arctic Lodges this summer. Today we mostly enjoy each otherís company doing things other than fishing together, and no, golf isnít one of them as I never warmed up to the sport.

Like many fly fishers Ron tied many of his own flies and, like most tiers, accumulated a large collection of materials over the years.  As with fishing, tying no longer holds the same interest for Ron as it once did; he asked me if I would like his fly tying materials. I was both humbled and honored.  Needless to say, I didnít hesitate long before accepting his gracious offer.

Shortly thereafter, he gave me seven large boxes of materials with the understanding that when we fish together that Iím responsible for making sure he has adequate flies and equipment.  In retrospect Iím wondering if he might have gotten the best part of the deal.  I rather hope so!

 It took me a couple weeks to work my way through the collection and blend it into my personal stash.  As I did so, I realized Ron had been tying and collecting materials long before we met.  His inventory rivaled all but the largest fly shops in the country.  Yet, for the enormity of the collection and the sadness I felt rolling it into my collection, I was surprised to find it quickly blended into mine without issue, requiring only a couple additional shoe boxes of expanded storage capacity.

The wonderful thing about having Ronís stuff is that every time I sit at the vise I am reminded of the great times weíve had on the water and look forward to more great times in the future.

Ron waiting for the plane to Arctic LodgesSaskatchewan lake troutRon playing a Arctic Lodge, Saskatchewan northern pike
Ron with a nice Canadian northern pike 
Blog content © David Coulson