Passing It On

Throughout the centuries in which man has pursued fish, the transfer of piscatorial knowledge has remained quite static. Anglers have largely come upon their craft by way of mentor, and the bonds developed therein are, when compared to the transferred skill sets, a memory often held in higher regard. Parents, uncles, family friends, and even river bank dwelling small town residents out of a McManus novel have all played the role of teacher, and, within the kayak angling sub-genre, the phenomenon is no different. Our sport is one built upon a cornerstone of comradeship; communication lines transcend competition, and the fostering of proficiency is one of the hallmark traits of kayak anglers.

In this issue of The Milkcrate, we celebrate individuals known for their commitment to growing the abilities of their fellow practitioners. The group in question is also one that has driven forth a change in methodology. Great teachers are often graced with superlatives touting their innovative approaches; these men are exemplary in that regard. Be it through personalized and catered field-based instruction, a willingness to move beyond the tried yet rote paradigm of brick and mortar shop mentality, or a heartfelt passion for boat-ramp-based ambassadorship, this group of interviewees has dedicated a great portion of their collective time to the passionate and creativity-fueled teaching of others.

For denizens of the northern hemisphere, the summer sun is waning. The cool nip of fall air will soon be upon us, and as we gather the last of the season’s warm weather fishing trips into our journals, the time seems apropos for devoting a bit of reflection to our own angling mentors. Mine revolve around a small rubber raft hiked deep into Oregon’s Cascade mountains and placed upon an alpine lake glowing in the new dawn sun. Trout dance above the aqueous surface as horizontal beams of light warm the morning hatch. My father and mentor explains the nuances of subtle paddle strokes and naturalistic patterns of fly movement. Further topics delve into the complex worlds of playing fish, cleaning fish, and wrapping fish with the correct seasonings and amounts of foil. I may never rise to equal with regard to my mentor’s angling ability, but, as mentioned above, it is the memories that are held in highest regard.

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