My Early Christmas Gift of Fly Fishing With Tom Dorsey

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Meeting and fly fishing with a hero of mine. Photo by: Louis Cahill

As a kid growing up, my Mother always allowed us kids to open up one Christmas present early every year. I’m not sure if it was a holiday tradition that she’d carried on from her own childhood or something she started after she was blessed with a family of her own. Chances are, it was more likely just a way for her to get a little peace during the holidays, and a break from the non-stop haggling from my siblings and I, as we begged for her permission to let us open presents early. Another reason I think she granted us an early present was because it did a pretty good job of killing our urge to go snooping around the house looking for our big ticket Christmas presents. Those never showed up under the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve, when Santa would drop them off while our family attended evening Church service. It took me years to figure out why my Mother always had to go back into the house to use the bathroom, after she’d already loaded all of us kids in the car. I have to say, that was a pretty sneaky way for Mom to get Santa’s presents under the tree, so they’d be waiting for us when we got back from church.

It’s been many years, since I’ve lived out that early Christmas present tradition, that I enjoyed so much as a child. With a family of my own now, it’s no longer me on the receiving end, but instead my own kids. This year, however, was and exception when I was surprised with an early Christmas gift of my very own, and it’s one I’ll cherish the rest of my life. We all have fly fishing heros that we look up to and respect, but most of the time we never get the opportunity to meet them in person, much less spend a day on the water fly fishing with them. My early Christmas gift this year, was spending a day on the water with the great fly fisherman and fly rod builder Tom Dorsey, from Thomas & Thomas fly rods.

You hear stories of disappointment all the time from the lucky few who get to meet their childhood hero’s in person. The hero usually ends up falling short of the grand image that’s been built up over the years by the person in their head. That wasn’t the case at all for me with Tom Dorsey. My expectations were not only met in full, but were exceeded beyond my wildest dreams. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy to hang out with on the water. He’s got a special way with his words and storytelling as well. I could have listened to him talk about his life pursuits for days on end. Tom’s charismatic personality was deeply interesting, and I have to say, the grand reputation that his name carries, had me feeling a little nervous stepping into the boat with him that morning. I wondered if he would study my fly casting and say something like, “I thought you were supposed to be a good fly fisherman” or “You call that a pretty loop?” Instead, our day on the water together was filled with positive vibes, a mutual love for fly fishing, and respect and congratulations to each other for fish landed during the day. I paid my respects by offering Tom the bow, but it was mostly so I could enjoy watching the master at work.

We didn’t catch a ton of fish that day, but we did thoroughly enjoy each others company and get to know one another. What a great early Christmas gift it was to spend a day on the water with a legendary fly rod builder, with over 50 years under his belt. I hope I get to do it again in the near future, and I hope all of you out there receive the gift of meeting and fly fishing with one of your own heros one day. Merry Christmas to everyone and have a Happy New Year. Thank you for all the support this past year that each of you have provided Louis and I on Gink & Gasoline.

Keep it Reel,

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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