Out of the streams of North Carolina come the individual life stories of a group of men who have set themselves apart by choice, The Fly Fishermen of Caldwell County. For generations they roamed the local creeks and rivers, and then adventured beyond, forever searching for the elusive next catch. Like scientists, they studied the trout they sought. As sportsmen, they combined knowledge and passion to create flies and rods that accomplished their goals. As environmentalists they joined forces to protect the waters they fished. Compiled by Ron Beane and Gretchen Griffith, this book is written by the fishermen themselves or by their families.
Cover photo of Newland Saunders taken by Bill Everhardt
Meet the co-author, Ron Beane:North Carolina native, Ron Beane, is a former teacher, coach and school administrator. During his tenure as a Caldwell County (NC) Commissioner, a local stream, Wilson Creek, was designated as a Wild and Scenic River. Serving on the National Public Lands Steering Committee and the State of North Carolina’s Clean Water Management Trust Fund Committee gave him a greater appreciation for protecting natural resources and passing on that passion to our younger generation “to pick up the mantle and carry on.” Through his love of fly fishing, he was fortunate to have met and fished alongside several extraordinary men with equally extraordinary life stories that he felt needed to be preserved. He and his wife live in North Carolina. They have two children and four grandchildren.
Fly Fishermen of Caldwell County:North Carolina Life Stories
Featuring chapters about these fly fishermen in Caldwell County, North Carolina:Newland Saunders“Cap” WieseCharlie BeanJoe McDadeHenry WilsonJohn TurnerCecil HarmanStanley TuttleMonty TuttleBill BarlowMonte SeehornJay ReeseKen BeardJames Henson
North Carolina Society of HistoriansOctober 2015Judges’ Collective CommentsFly Fishermen of Caldwell CountyThe title of this book confused our panel until we read the Statement of Support and then one member stated…”I love Fly fishing, I’ll read it first!” A day later it was being passed on to the next member. Why? It had already been read, judged, savored and enjoyed. The panel member made nothing but positive statements about the content, layout and design, historical value to both current and future generations.All panel members enjoyed this book, and learning about the fishermen, their families, their ‘craft/hobby,’ the areas they fished, and the types of fish caught. Fish have sustained many families throughout the ages, as well as animals and birds…different modes of catching them were utilized, a few are discussed here…from equipment to fishing styles. Where our ancestors may have used the good old branch fishing pole and some string, we were able to learn the names of ‘modern’ rods and reels, fishing line, bait and ‘flies.’ More than that, though, we were able to learn about the people. There is an old, old joke that states, “What is a fisherman?” Answer: “A jerk at one end of the line waiting for a jerk at the other!” This book erases that joke completely from the books. These were fine men with families. Men who were admired by many, missed if they passed away. Men who left something behind after they passed to be remembered by. How?The book visits with twenty-eight fishermen. Each fisherman’s title page contains his photograph (in action), and a list of his ‘favorites’: fishing rod & reel, flies, angling waters, the largest fish he ever caught and where, and a list of his fishing partners. Each story is then dotted with some great black and white, vintage and current photographs. The narrative is really interesting and often entertaining, and one forgets that this is an unusual history lesson at its best. Future generations will use this book as a source of information, not only about fly fishing, but about the twenty-eight fishermen, the areas they frequented, and the fish they caught.We thoroughly enjoyed this book and foresee its historic worth in so many ways. What is done now will be tomorrow’s history…if current events are written so as to make it easier to identify us as a people living in the 1900’s and 2000’s, it will give our descendants a better overall view as to who we were and what we were about. This is a book that will do just that!