Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
August 7th, 2006

The Durango Kid
(Guest column by a writer about J Castwell)

I think his name was Charles Starrett, the 'Kid' was a cowboy, an movie actor back in the 40's. We needed guys like him then. America has always needed it's hero's, real and imagined, both hero and super-hero and somehow we have always come up with them. Sometimes they were more or less common folk, Hewitt the fly fishing guy, he was one. Probably didn't know it at the time, but he was. And that Leonard fellow, made great strides in building bamboo rods, he was one too in his own way. But there are some differences. Some were real and some were not. In fact, the made up ones were often larger than the real ones.

Take for example some of the writers over the years. Some names that were of real people, became famous, Zane Grey for one. Annie Okley might be another. Sometimes the line between the real and the fictitious became a little blurry. Zorrow? Was he real or not? Lash La Rue, how about him? Where is all this going. When we have needed a hero, if there wasn't one handy, we made one up, Superman is a good example. One thing though, fly fishing has always had someone.

Look back over the years. Leonard, Hewitt, Marinaro, any of the other rod makers, hero's all. Payne, Young, at least in my opinion. So now I ask you to envision some of them in your mind's eye. Can you 'see' Trueblood? How about Frank Forester? Wulff? We all have our own images of these great men. There is another yet who has accepted the gauntlet and is jousting against the windmill's of environmental destruction and bait-fishing. He is a fictional character, invented by a lowly outdoor writer in Washington State, USA.

Actually it was 'Crabby Crabwell' who he invented as a 'side-kick' to his adventures of salmon fishing. An event occurred and Crabwell got a job writing for the FFF but wrote under the name of 'Castwell' as he had always enjoyed the time worn Skues tale of the man by that name who died and went to Hell. So, he doesn't really exist. J Castwell is one of the made up ones. One who is a mixture of things thought, learned, hoped for and downright stolen. You picture him and think you know him and that is as it should be.

When he is called to that great casting contest in the sky, there will be someone who will accept the yoke of tutelage and attempt to carry on the mission of offering the information to those who might be seeking it. Just as the Lone Ranger went fearlessly into the hills of danger, so does Castwell enter into discussions with those who would attempt to lead the younger ones astray. Astray I tell you, by recommending knots that do not work well. Knots like the nail knot which was invented to use from gut to silk lines which did not have a coating that could separate. But, no. There are yet those who will swear by the thing, only saying that it has not cut itself or pulled the coating off...yet. And so it goes.

I, perhaps, know him more closely than any other, having a peculiar insight to his pervasive nature. And his generosity and affability. And his talent, his unfathomable talent. Is there no limit to this mans talent and luck. There are those who would claim he is impatient. He is. But with justification. It is with those who are not willing to help others, not willing to learn how to teach fly fishing and fly casting and all other things 'fly' related. Yes, with them he is impatient. As a super-hero he is to be especially admired as he 'goeth it aloneth' withoutest a side-kicketh,' that is true dedication.

To see him in person is indeed a remarkable event. Few indeed are they who even claim to have seen the real 'J Castwell.' As I stated, remember, he exists only in the shadowy mind of his followers. If they do not believe in him, he does not therefore actually exist. So it is with some timidity that I will say that perhaps he will make an appearance at the Michigan 'Fish In' in Grayling. I have been given to understand that he has created a rank of 'Fly Caster' that is unsurpassed by any and in fact unequaled by any. Time and the cameras will prove this for posterity. Can you say 'Maestro?' Again, our 'hero' has come forth.


Lighter Side Archive

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ] © Notice