By Anne Jones Marion

Published Sunday, March 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm

   About 20 people met famous fly fisherman Lefty Kreh in an intimate clinic on Saturday. Hundreds of people had the opportunity to meet the "father of fly fishing" yesterday at Pawleys Island Outdoors.

   Kreh, who has been credited with creating a revolutionary technique for fly fishing and making the sport more popular world-wide, visited Georgetown County this past weekend.

   Over a period of more than 60 years, he made fly fishing more accessible by modifying the traditional way of casting. He incorporated the whole body instead of a couple of appendages. "I don't know any sport other than fly fishing where you only use your arm and wrist. You even use your body in ping-pong," he said.

   With Kreh's technique, fishermen do not bend their wrists - they move the rod back and forth by turning their entire bodies.

   On Saturday, seasoned fishermen and beginners were all enlightened to the technique. Josh Horton, who works at Pawleys Island Outdoors, said he's a beginner but learned a great deal after just four hours with Kreh. "I've learned a lot just listening to him," he said. "Just practicing what he's showed us will be a big help to me. He's really remarkable."

   Hutch Hutchinson, a technician at Baruch, said he's been fly fishing for two years and the clinic with Kreh helped him convert what he had read about into physical motion. "I could have passed a multiple choice test about it, but I couldn't do it," he said.

   Jack Newton, who has been fly fishing since 1956, said he learned "after 50 years of fly fishing, I've been doing it wrong."


   Heather Templeton is a Pawleys Island resident who has known Kreh almost her entire life. After knowing him for years, she's still impressed with how the 86-year-old man makes himself and fly fishing accessible to anyone.

   Kreh used to give private lessons at his house in Maryland.

   Newman Weaver, a Georgetown resident and local fly fishing guide, took a one-on-one lesson from Kreh 10 years ago. "For four hours, I learned 20 years worth of questions. It was the best $100 I ever spent," Weaver said. Weaver also credited Kreh with spreading salt water fly fishing to people all over the country. "If it wasn't for [Kreh], fly fishing would be considered a loony sport," Weaver said.

   After Kreh learned to fish from Joe Brooks, another well-known fly fisherman, he went on to write about fishing for numerous publications. Kreh has written at least 30 books - most of which are about fly fishing techniques. The fishing guru also traveled all over the country teaching seminars and clinics to other fisherman. While he was in a new area, he would stay for a few days and learn from local masters to improve his own techniques. He also landed gigs hosting television shows that allowed him to travel the world. He has been to Australia, England, Belize, New Guinea, Canada and many other countries and has caught more than 100 different types of fish on fly rods. "You should never display your knowledge but you should share it," Kreh said.


   Kreh didn't only share his knowledge with 20 people at Rice Hope Plantation on Saturday - he met hundreds of people at Pawleys Island Outdoors on Sunday. "We wanted to kick off the fact that Pawleys Island Outdoors is a full service fly shop," manager Kevin Grant said. He explained that more Georgetown County residents have started to show interest in fly fishing recently. "We're growing and filling a void for the demand," he said.

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