Pimp (a.k.a. Don Gustafson):
boyhood chum. My best friend in grammar school. We didn't know
what a 'pimp' was; we thought it meant 'small' or 'short.' When
we were only 12 years old, we wanted to fish a lake that was about
45 miles from our homes, but we had no one to take us. Now, here
was this beautiful Pontiac sedan that belonged to the Gustafson
family, just sitting there in the garage, and Don's parents were
on vacation. Don learned how to drive by watching his father.
Hmmmm. What the heck?" (PS We caught two bass that day on Flatfish
one time, Joe owned Sports Afield magazine. Joe was easily
the most creative person I've ever met. Geez, what a character!
He had a bear cub and he'd put the little guy on the front seat
in the convertible and drive downtown Chicago on Lake Shore Drive
to call on advertising agencies!
I read a chapter that Joe wrote in the late 1920s. It was beautifully
written, and more importantly stressed the necessity for catch-and-release.
I'm talking way back in the twenties, mind you, when photos of
a creelful of trout or two guys holding big stringers of bass
were often featured on magazine covers. Joe was among the first
to write about catch-and-release."
wonderful, delightful, charming character. I met him at a casting
tournament in Paris, France when I served with the military. He
introduced me to the Pezon et Michel company, which at the time,
made fabulous split-bamboo fly rods. After I returned to the States
to start Sportackle International, he allowed me to use the Charles
Ritz name on some glass-fiber fly rods that I manufactured. 'They
better be good,' he warned me. And they were."
answer to Zorba the Greek. He operated a dorado fishing camp on
Argentina's Parana River. He had little formal education, and
although we didn't speak Spanish and he didn't speak English,
he was able to convey a complicated, hilarious story to us (see
The Great Drinking Bout).
Ellen and Dave:
seemingly-intelligent, worldly couple became involved in a fishing
camp representation business which cost a friend, whose camp they
represented, a huge amount of money. This caper could have also
destroyed my company! They disappeared and made the FBI's 'wanted
only a very important mentor in my life, but he contributed heavily
to the popularity of Latin American fishing. He helped Andy Growich's
El Tarpon Tropical in Mexico, which was one of the first light-tackle
fishing places in Latin America. He also helped Parismina Tarpon
Rancho and financed Casa Mar Fishing Club without even seeing
the area first. In a 'Life for a Salmon', Don has
to decide whether he will fulfill his ambition to catch a silver
salmon in Alaska and possibly die on the trip, or stay home, 'and
do some bobber fishing' and live for maybe ten more years."
H. Hupalowski (Pres. of Safari Outfitters):
was wearing a suit coat, very formal. I expected him to be wearing
a safari jacket...he was a man in his late 50s or early 60s, but
seemed older and peered suspiciously at me through horn-rimmed
glasses. He did not look like an outdoorsman, certainly not like
a big-game hunter... you know, like in the Stewart Granger or
Clark Gable safari films.
"Roman was a very knowledgeable hunter and did much to enhance
the golden years of safaris in the 1970s. He gave me an opportunity
and I started the Fishing Division...the first of its kind. Later,
for some unknown reason, he changed my contract so I resigned.
He told me that money can spoil a person, so, he in effect, was
protecting me. Something like that. I was grateful for the opportunity,
but pitied him when I left."
always wondered, what makes a person drive that hard for that
extra yard or two while seeking excellence? Michael Jordan, Walter
Payton, Tiger Woods are good examples. In my opinion, Stu Apte
belongs in that elite group. Most of us would have been deliriously
happy to settle on lower, but still lofty peaks . . . not Stu."
is my hero as far as outdoor writers are concerned. In my opinion,
Al was the best outdoor writer that ever lived. No one comes close
to the amount of fishing knowledge he possessed. And, of course,
he wrote the bible of all fishing encyclopedias. What I liked
about him is that he never lost that special feeling for catching
a fish. I watched him land a bonefish and it gave him a special
thrill, even though it might have been the 10,000th bonefish he
landed in his lifetime. When I was in high school, his articles
in Field & Stream influenced me to try to make a living
through fishing. Unfortunately, some of the younger anglers, don't
even know who he was. Or some will say, 'Yeah, McClane...he was
a writer, wasn't he?' And, we're talking about the greatest fishing
writer of all time. Sad."
a privilege it is to have known him. What a fantastic thrill it
was to go fishing with him. He caught a sailfish on a fly rod,
on a blistering hot Costa Rican sea, and I feel honored that I
helped to tease that fish up. He was 86 years old when he did
that. Awesome! Sadly, he died soon after that, flying his Piper
Cub. I had the opportunity to talk to him about his philosophies
on life and fishing during the epic fight with that sailfish...
Just before he died, he tied two Royal Wulffs without a vise for
me...a No.12 and 28. He sent a letter of authenticity, too."
of my favorite people on earth. His early life was horrific, because
he came from a dysfunctional household and a friend's family raised
Winston. He's a self-taught, very successful businessman. He is
also one of the finest fly fishermen on earth today, make that
in the history of angling. He is the first to be on the fishing
waters in the morning and the last to return to camp. He'll stay
on those blazingly-hot flats in Belize all day, not coming in
for lunch, just staring in the revolving mirrors of shiny, reflecting
waters, searching for permit, without taking time to drink water.
How many fishermen can be that focused? When he returns to camp
or to a live-aboard boat he'll drink a quart or two of fresh orange