For his part, however, A.K. insists that Geirach is as persistant as he is, but adds that, “John is a much better nymph fisherman than me.” (Knowing both of these guys’ opinions about nymphing vs. dry fly fishing, it’s hard to tell whether this is meant as a compliment.) Gierach and Best have both long been known as purists. But even the purists have their moments. “I don’t like beadheads,” Geirach says,”but I can’t say I never fished with one. And I’ve been known to buy a Dave’s Hopper or a Royal Wulff. When you get to be known as a purist, it sort of takes on a life of its own. I might even buy a spey rod this year.”
Gierach recently turned in his 60th column to Fly Rod and Reel magazine, and FR&R’s editor, Paul Geurnsey, says Gierach’s influence extends far beyond the pages of his columns and books.
“John is the angling voice of his generation,” says Geurnsey. “He is probably the best known flyfisherman in the country next to Lefty Kreh. His sense of irony and introspection is outstanding and he is a very authentic, very American writer.”
Again it is Gierach’s lack of pretension that shines through. “In flyfishing there is a strong streak of snobbery,” Geurnsey says. “But Gierach will turn in a column about fishing for carp or something and he’ll actually help bring some of his readers down to earth.” Geurnsey adds that up to half of the stories or ideas for stories he’ll receive from aspiring writers are obvious attempts to imitate Gierach in their writing style. “Nobody can, of course,” Geurnsey says. “But they all try.”
Because Gierach so enjoys both writing and fishing, I asked him one last question: “If you had to put down either your pen or your rod for a year, which would it be?” He thought for a second while his friend, Mike, in the background, gestured like he were holding a gun to his head, as if to say, “Fishing, of course. That’s a no-brainer.” And Gierach did agree, saying, “It’s more likely that I’d need a break from writing than a break from fishing.” But lucky for his fans, he probably won’t need a break from either. “I don’t travel or fish to ‘get away,'” he once wrote, “because my life at home isn’t something I need to escape from.”
We should all be so lucky.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.