An afternoon remembrance and lesson from a master


February 8, 2024

Cal Bird stopped by my shop in northern California on a hot midsummer afternoon about 40 years ago. He was on his way to fish Hat Creek and wanted me to come along. If Cal wanted me to go fishing with him, I rarely refused.

Cal was old enough to be my father. I called him Papa, as his children did, and we loved each other as a father and son.

We met when I was a student at San Francisco State. He had a small fly shop not far from where I lived. I was amazed the first time I watched him tie — and peppered him with all sorts of questions. He dealt with them in a way that invited more.

He wa...

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