. . . my grandmother had not taken me to 'Kids Creek' when I was
four and with a stick and a worm helped me catch a speckled
trout, would I be the same person I am today?
. . . the dung pile at the creamery (they still used horses in those days) had not yielded some grubs, I would not have caught my first fish from a boat with my dad and my uncles when I was five.
IF, when I was not yet in my teens, we had not gone to Canada after 'specks' and I met our guide, "Indian Joe," would I be who I am today?
IF I had not landed the seven pound Brook Trout when I was twelve and looked up the world record, and dreamed of going someday to Labrador after even bigger ones, would it have changed how I look at fly fishing now?
IF, when I actually put a live grasshopper on my fly, I had not felt pangs of guilt, would I still fish with live bait?
IF Sonny Cogan had not said, "Jim, lets go up to the cabin for the weekend, we can do some fly fishing at my dads place," how would I remember the Green Cabin Pool on Michigan's famous Au Sable river today?
IF we had not gone for that weekend, how would I have ever met my wife? And if I did meet her somewhere else, where would we have gotten married?
IF I had not started tying my own flies, would I have met Rod Towsley from Scientific Anglers and become a 'Field Tester' for them, and then gone on to start my own company?
IF he had not, while attempting to help with my casting, totally intimidated me, how would I feel about distance casting these days?
IF I had not joined the original chapter of TU, would I have started the first FFF chapter in Michigan?
IF I had not met Neil Travis while camping at Canoe Harbor near Grayling, would he and I have formed the fly fishing school we had. And had I not found the insects interesting enough to take home and raise and photograph, would I have ever met Vincent Marinaro?
IF Vince had not been willing to take me under his arm and show me how trout flies and the real insects look from under water, would I have become a student of entomology?
IF I had written the book for Crown Publishing that we had a deal for back in the early 70's, would I have written any others?
IF Tommy Travis had not been a pesky little kid who Neil and I taught to fly fish mostly to keep him out of our way, would Tommy have started the very successful fly shop in Livingston, Montana?
IF, when Carl Richards and Doug Swisher and I used to fish the morning 'trico's' had I not met that little kid, Randy, would I feel the same way towards Sage today?
IF I had not learned to type in school, would I be editor of this? When my Irish grandmother told me the most important thing a person can do in life is become a writer, had I not believed her, what then?
IF my wife had signed her contract with the Turner Broadcasting Company, what would she be writing now and for whom?
IF FAOL wasn't doing this and trying to re-establish the Fraternity of Fly-fishing' would anyone else be providing it?
IF this was not here for all of us (you and me) to share our ideas, hopes, dreams, suggestions, methods, tips and successes, and with the help and involvement of each of you to make it what it has become, would we ever meet?
IF we (my wife and I) weren't doing this, is there anything else (except perhaps a bit more fly fishing) we would rather be doing?
No 'IF's' about it. ~ James Castwell
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