ONE OF A KIND

THE FISH­ING WORLD LOST A BELOVED PI­O­NEER WITH THE PASS­ING OF LEFTY KREH, A MAS­TER WITH THE FLY ROD

Anglers Journal - - CONTENTS - An­glers Jour­nal

Lefty Kreh is re­mem­bered as a beloved pi­o­neer who was one of the most in­flu­en­tial fig­ures in mod­ern fly-fish­ing. By GARY RE­ICH

Bernard “Lefty” Vic­tor Kreh — one of the most in­flu­en­tial fig­ures in fish­ing dur­ing the past 70 years — was an author, jour­nal­ist, pho­tog­ra­pher and tackle in­no­va­tor who taught thou­sands of peo­ple how to cast a fly. He died March 14, 2018, in his Cock­eysville, Mary­land, home af­ter a brief ill­ness. He was 93.

Kreh not only rein­vented the way fly an­glers cast, but he also cre­ated some of the most suc­cess­ful mod­ern salt- and fresh­wa­ter fly pat­terns, and col­lab­o­rated in the de­sign of nu­mer­ous pieces of gear. He caught 126 species on ev­ery con­ti­nent ex­cept for Antarc­tica, and fished with four U.S. pres­i­dents, Ernest Hem­ing­way, Fidel Cas­tro,

Ted Wil­liams, Jimmy Dean, Tom Brokaw, Patag­o­nia founder Yvon Chouinard, Flip Pal­lot, Bob Clouser, Bob Popovics and many others. A beloved fig­ure, Kreh was widely con­sid­ered the mas­ter of fly-fish­ing.

Kreh was born Feb. 26, 1925, in Fred­er­ick, Mary­land. His fa­ther, Chris­tian “Whitey” Kreh, was a brick­layer. His mother, He­len, was a home­maker. He had three sib­lings: Eileen, Dick and Ted.

Kreh was 6 years old when his fa­ther was killed in a freak bas­ket­ball ac­ci­dent, leav­ing him as the de facto man of the fam­ily. The fam­ily ended up on wel­fare. Dur­ing high school, Kreh trapped and fished around the Mono­cacy River to sup­port his fam­ily. “We were so poor we couldn’t af­ford to buy a mosquito un­der­pants,” he said as an adult.

He grad­u­ated from high school in 1942 and, a week later, was called up by the U.S. Army. He was in­stalled in the 69th In­fantry and fought in the Bat­tle of the Bulge. He was among the sol­diers present when the U.S. and Soviet forces met at the Elbe River. Af­ter the war, look­ing for shift work that

Jay Flem­ing took this por­trait of Lefty in Au­gust 2017.

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