The Jedi master of fishing, Lefty Kreh, is the subject of two new books. Most of us would kill for one volume, and here's Lefty with two keepers.
One he has put together himself, something he has been threatening to do for some time but never found the time. The other is a tribute from some of fishing's big names.
Kreh, who held the job I now have until his "retirement" in January 1992, has written an entire library full of fishing books and magazine articles. But for his autobiography, My Life Was This Big, he has teamed up with Chris Millard, a former editor at Golf World magazine.
The other book, All the Best: Celebrating Lefty Kreh, is the work of Flip Pallot, angler, author and TV host. As a biography, it covers much of the same ground. Its advantage is the stunning number of photos - some by Kreh, many of him - and memories shared by those who have fished with him.
As Nick Lyons, no slouch in the writing and fishing departments, notes: "This is a happy book - a book written with love and profound gratitude to celebrate a man who has accomplished so much, befriended so many, and added to our small world of fly fishing a unique and enduring luster."
The autobiography is a fun read with lots of background on the origin of his famous fly - Lefty's Deceiver - which was depicted on the 29-cent postage stamp in 1991; how he came to be a world-class caster with either hand; and his own casting technique, a far cry from the traditional 10-and-2 style taught to generations of fly anglers. For carp fishermen, he even includes a can't-miss recipe for dough balls.
A Depression-era kid from Frederick who honed his outdoors skills to put food on the table for his widowed mom and three siblings, Kreh includes stories about fishing with Fidel Castro and Ernest Hemingway and with regular folks like you and me.
In any autobiography, there are bound to be stories that don't make the cut. I wish his publisher had found room for the one about Kreh being contaminated with anthrax while working at Fort Detrick (the sub-strain is named for him) and the one about being marooned in the Everglades with two outdoors greats: Vic Dunaway of The Miami Herald and Nelson Bryant of The New York Times.
I'm not going to spoil those tales, in case Kreh decides to pen a Volume 2.
One quibble: The title of the autobiography is in past tense. Even at 83, Kreh still has some living left in him.
The tribute book is out now. You can pick up My Life Was This Big starting in October.
Loch Raven deer hunt
The big powwow on deer hunting in the land around Loch Raven Reservoir will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday at Loch Raven High School.
Baltimore County and city officials are trying to decide whether a bow hunt is the best way to bring the burgeoning deer population under control and give vegetation a chance to regenerate. The number of deer browsing the landscape is eight times what it should be, and the loss of plant life and corresponding erosion is a major water quality concern.
The last time officials announced that they wanted to open up Loch Raven to hunting, the hunting haters spooked them so badly they reversed position. Deer hunting is permitted at Baltimore's two other reservoirs - Liberty and Prettyboy.
No doubt the same forces are gathering again. It will be interesting to see whether hunters and people concerned about restoring the natural balance of the landscape will cowboy up.
Deale Pro-Am tourney
The Deale Pro-Am fishing tournament is fast approaching, and organizers have added another reason to participate.
On each day of the contest, Sept. 6 and 7, young anglers under the age of 14 fishing with a registered captain will be allowed to check in one fish. Trophies will be awarded each day to the top three finishers, and every angler will receive a certificate of participation.
Every tournament should have a division for kids.
Also, keep an eye out for the 15 patients from Walter Reed Army Hospital who will be competing aboard Capt. Bob Baker's boat, the Miss Grace. Even if they don't catch a single fish (I'm not betting against them), they'll give you a reason to cheer when they reach the dock.
The tournament couldn't be any easier: no morning check-ins, captain's meetings or boundary limits. The weigh station is Deale Marina on Rockhold Creek, which will be open from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days. Top winners will be the four largest rockfish, plus the largest bluefish and largest Spanish mackerel.
The entry fee is $75 per day per boat, with no limit on the number of fishermen per boat.
All the rules and fine print are at www.dealeproam.com, or call Capt. Kerry Muse (1-800-381-2727).