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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

 By Mark Greer

Yesterday I mailed in the warranty card for a Lamson LightSpeed reel.

Nothing significant about that. It happens all the time. The funny thing is, that warranty card had sat in the box it came in since late 2005. I knew about the warranty card. I purposely left it in the reel box. I felt that the LightSpeed was such a well-designed and manufactured reel that Id never need to use the warranty service. When I finally sent it in, it wasn’t because of a problem with the reel. It works as great as it did when I first got it. I sent the warranty card in because it has immense sentimental and emotional value to me.

My late son, Anthony, got that LightSpeed for me when he was working out at Flaming Gorge Resort, as a guide. He gave it to me, along with a new pair of SIMMS wading boots and waders, and a new RIO fly line, during a weekend trip that Id made to visit him one fall. The gift blew me away. It was completely unexpected and I knew that he’d likely saved his guiding money (which was scarce) to purchase it, and that he had probably also skimped on meals to be able to give his father a nice reel. He’d eaten a lot of eggs when he was guiding, because they were a cheap source of protein. 

That’s how he was. Always doing things for other people. To make them happy or to help them out, even giving away his own personal gear to those that had an interest in the sport but couldn’t afford the necessary gear to get out on the river.

So, the other day, I was looking at that LightSpeed, recalling that memorable weekend when he surprised me with it and how we’d gone and fished on the Green and gotten into some nice fish. I realized that it is more than just a fishing reel to me. It’s a conduit to a time in my life spent on the water with my son. Time I’ll never have again. Its tied to beautiful memories of special fish caught and released with someone that meant more to me than I can express. 

There is so much emotion associated with that inanimate object of milled aluminum, that if something were ever to happen to it, I would be devastated. So I maiedl the warranty card to Boise, to the corporate headquarters of Lamson.

So, why not just retire it? Replace it with another reel? I’ve certainly entertained that idea, but having that reel along with me out on the water brings a sense of comfort — perhaps even peace to my soul — when I glance at it and remember Anthony.

Mark Greer
Gink & Gasoline
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29 thoughts on “lightspeed

  1. Beautiful article…. Very cool to have something that you connect too on a personal level on the water. Great reel too so keep using it…

  2. Lovely article, Mr. Greer! This past Sept. I was able to fish with my son for first time in 10+ years. He was busy starting an independant life and family and that took precidence. That week on the Kispiox together renewed what is a priceless relationship, that of father and son. The picture of his huge Kispiox buck is my screen saver and daily reminds me of how precious such moments are. God bless, Mark grampus

    • Thanks for your comment, Mark.
      Just remember two things when you’re out fly fishing with you son … (1) Time spent fly fishing with the people you love cannot be deducted from a man’s life, and (2) you cannot take too many pictures when out on the water – fly fishing.

      – Mark

  3. On the wall above me, as I type this, hangs my first fly rod and reel; gifts given to me by my late step-son who heard many times of my love of the small Appalachian streams that I backpacked along. He decided, one Christmas, that I could get even more intimate with them with the rod. That gift has shaped my life in many, many ways and I am forever and profoundly grateful. One day I will thank him again.

    • Thanks, Mike.
      I hope that your ‘gift’ will continue to provide you countless hours of enjoyment on your Appalachian fly fishing adventures, and serve as a constant reminder (and memory) of your late step-son (and your time spent together on the water).

      Tight lines.


  4. Awesome Piece Mark!

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. One of the reasons why I have grown to love Fly Fishing as much as i do, is the amazing way it’s able to conntect you with with the people closest to you in ways you would never imagine it could.

    • Thanks, Stephen.

      The longer we fly fish – the more we begin to realize that it’s not just something that we do, but part of who we are – even who we become.

      For me, even after 30+ years, the journey is as exhilarating today as it was the day I caught and released my first trout with an Adams dry fly.

  5. Well written sir. I can’t imagine losing a son. Brought back memories to all of us; to me, of my dad. He taught me to fish, fly cast, tie flies, and took me fishing a lot. We had plans …. rivers, lakes and salt water that I had discovered in my wanderings that I wanted to show him when he retired. But he never got to “officially” retire. That was many years ago now. But thanks for reminding me that I should take that battered old Hardy St. John out fishing again ….. Thanks.

    • Definitely don’t retire your old fly fishing rods and reels. Give them a rest, if needed – put them on display in your office or your den – but make sure that you take them out on the water and enjoy them, too. Fishing with the gear that’s associated with memories of the people and places we love can only bring us more joy and satisfaction on the water.

  6. Just yesterday I was taking pictures of one of my Dad’s old fly rods to sell it when I realized that by getting rid of that rod I was getting rid of those memories I shared with him stream side as a kid. They are my happiest memories.
    Thanks to this article I will never sell that rod and I think that old Scott will see the water more often.

  7. So nice Mike. And the posts as well. What did the guy say, “Some people fish for a lifetime and never understand it is not about the fish?” – or something like that.

    • “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”

      – Henry David Thoreau

  8. I will forever keep my first Spey rod & reel given to me by my mentor, instructor and friend of 17 years. I still fish with it more than any of my other gear and one day it will be retired, hanging on the wall as a constant reminder of the memories.

    Great article… thanks for the reflections.

  9. Awesome read that is a good reminder of the little things that matter. It’s not all about the fish, but the journey that you take to get there and that it takes you on after.

  10. Mark,

    This was very emotional for me to read…I know how much you deeply miss Anthony. I do wish all 3 of us could’ve spent more time on the water together. If I could pick my “heaven”, it would include a lot of fly fishing with good friends like you and Anthony.

    A big hug to a man I respect and admire.

    • Thanks for not giving up — for encouraging me to get out an fish again after losing Anth. For that act of kindness and compassion, I will forever be grateful.

  11. Great article! My father gave me an Orvis Helios 5wt and Hatch Monsoon 5+ when I graduated College as a graduation gift 4 years ago. At the time, we had only gone on several guided trips together and I wasn’t much of a fisherman. Since then I have moved to Denver and now fly fish 2-4 times a month at a minimum. My father passed away suddenly almost a year ago to date and now that rod and reel mean more to me than I could put into words.

    I did not truly appreciate the gift at the time I received it but now I have that same sense of comfort everytime I am on the water and hold that rod and reel in my hands. I can no longer share my fishing stories with my dad but I know he is always with me I get a bend in that rod and reach for the reel…

    • Thanks for sharing, Ian.
      Fly fishing, and where it takes you in life, is truly a remarkable gift and a fantastic journey.

      Tight lines.

      – Mark

  12. Mark – I was deeply touched by your article. At the same time, I felt a real sense of the love your son had to have for you, and that you had for him. Thank you for sharing this memory of your son.

    • Thanks for commenting, Andy.
      Writing, like fly fishing, is therapeutic for me. So, writing this piece helped me immensely.

  13. Pingback: Tippets: Lightspeed, Topwater Tactics, Gila Genetics | MidCurrent

  14. I am a father of an Alaska fishing guide, and have been blessed to be in his company on several adventures. I treasure those memories!! My heart goes out to you sir!! Use the %#(& out of that reel !!!!!

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