LEFTY KREH, the man behind the Deceiver, the man who revolutionised casting, the man who went everywhere and caught everything with everyone. It’s hard to quantify the impact of Lefty’s hefty contribution to the world of fly fishing as it straddles many fronts from casting clinics to guiding and consulting to brands like T.F.O, but it could be argued that writing for magazines and writing his own books has had the biggest impact. Forget the poetry associated with most fly fishing writing (♫ there she lay finning in the dappled sunlight. I knew she’d be mine ♫); like his approach to fishing Lefty’s prose is practical, aimed at teaching people how to be better fly tiers and fishermen.
Taking us round his house (while we interviewed him for ISSUE 5), that approach was evident both in his stories and in the tricks and fixes he has devised to make stuff work better. “Anything that causes me problems or irritates me, I try to do something about it. I’m always innovating stuff.”
In short, Lefty is a walking, talking R&D department.
Hack 1: X does not mark the spot
“Rain-X, the stuff you put on your windshields. You can run through ten rain storms without your windshield wipers, the water just goes off of it. If you coat the outside of your fishing glasses with Rain-X, it does the same.”
Hack 2: Make a multi-tool
Get a toenail clipper (not a fingernail one), superglue sandpaper to the side and you have a great, grippy, all-in-one tool for clipping line, sharpening hooks and ensuring you could be a sandal model.
Hack 3: Flat out
If you want to get a good flats picture, Lefty says, “Once you get the fish off the hook, it’s tired. Getting someone to hold the camera, give it a little shove and let the bonefish swim into the picture.”
Hack 4: Learning from loss
“Ted Williams designed the first stripping basket. He was up on this platform when he hooked about a 130lb tarpon. It ran through the boat and he got all tangled up and lost the fish. He cussed like hell and said, we’re going to do something about this. He went to a hardware store, got a round piece of aluminum rod about a half inch in diameter, then went to a place that makes sails for sail boats. The next day we went back out to the same place, he was stripping line back in there (his new basket) and he hooked a tarpon around 100lb and landed it. It was the first stripping basket I ever saw.”
Hack 5: Fluff remover
Lefty’s got a piece of PVC gutter attached to his fly tying desk. Once he’s done tying, he removes a stopper at one end and sweeps out the cuttings.
Hack 6: Grease Trap
“Every time there’s a problem, I figure there’s got to be a better way to do the damn thing. Like sunscreen. I carry rubber gloves with me. When you’re going to put sunscreen on, put the rubber gloves on and then put the stuff on, take the rubber gloves off and your hands are not greasy. You don’t get it on your glasses and your rod won’t get slippery.”
Hack 7: Fish and Chips
“If you’re offshore and you see birds, everybody runs to them. If you see some fish breaking, run over and put out a bag of potato chips. Most bait fish are oily so you’ll get big oil slick out as if they are chewing up the bait down there and the birds pick them off the water. After a while you’ll see all the boats running to the potato chips. It really fools them and of course while they’re fishing all this empty water, you’re having a ball with the fish. Remember, I taught you to do that.”
Bonus hack – how to be popular in a jungle
“In every jungle people love chocolate, but you can’t take chocolate with you. It melts. When I went to PNG (Papua New Guinea) I packed a bunch of M&Ms and everyone loved them in the jungle.”