Farewell to Lefty
The angling community mourns the loss of Bernard “Lefty” Kreh, who died on March 14 at his home in Cockeysville, Maryland, at the age of 93.
So pervasive was Lefty’s imprint and influence on modern angling that his last name is scarcely necessary in conversation, especially among fly-fishers. His fly pattern, Lefty’s Deceiver, remains a staple in fly boxes everywhere and was commemorated with a postage stamp in 1991. He authored more than 30 books, including Fly Casting with Lefty Kreh, which introduced a then-radical approach to fly-casting that redefined the fundamentals, codifying the mechanics and incorporating advancements in tackle, and Fly Fishing in Salt Water, which acquainted fly anglers with a rapidly developing new aspect of the sport and today remains a valuable primer.
Through the years, Lefty kept a full schedule of appearances, was featured in videos and on television, weighed in on tackle design for top brands, and wrote innumerable magazine articles, many for Salt Water Sportsman, a publication in which he held a masthead position from 1990 until 2017, when he retired from public activities and fishing adventures.
Lefty was one of a kind, but for all his accomplishments during a long, prolific career, he will most of all be remembered for the thousands of fly-casters whose game he elevated, offering advice and coaching, usually with an always-ready joke or quip.
In a letter disseminated via email in October, Lefty announced his health no longer allowed him to follow the active lifestyle he’d maintained for decades, but that he had plenty of projects at home, and true to form, that he was “busier than a Syrian bricklayer.” In closing, he thanked all his friends, saying: “I’m busy and content, but I want you to know I am so appreciative you’ve shared your lives with me.”