Farewell to Lefty

Saltwater Sportsman - - Tod / Casts + Blasts -

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.”

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