The Kindness of Strangers

The Kindness of Strangers

Andy Dear | Thursday, 6 August 2020

One of the great things about working professionally in the outdoors industry is the myriad of interesting people you get to meet. Some of them are more "interesting" than others, but most of them are wonderful people, and in many cases, are insanely talented as well. I have been very fortunate over the years, in that many of these folks have been generous enough to gift me some stunningly beautiful, angling related items. One of those individuals is a gentleman from Spain named Joaquin Sospedra.

  To be honest, I can't remember exactly how or when I first met Joaquin. I know it was through our common interest in rod making, but what I don't remember is the exact reason why our paths actually crossed.

  What I do remember is that at some point in our long-distance friendship, Joaquin started sending me some of the most beautiful handmade fly tying tools I have ever had the pleasure of using. Back in those days, the jungle cock feather inlay that was first popularized by Russ Gooding at Goldenwitch flyrods in the late 1990s was all the rage. Joaquin took that idea and began making fly tying tools with hand-shaped wood handles that were dyed different colors, then decorated with the feather inlay technique. Additionally, the owner's name and the year of manufacture were then hand inscribed on the wood, and sealed with a clear coat to bring out the depth and color of the dyed wood.

  I probably received these tools...unsolicited mind you, from Joaquin two or three times during and shortly after my first tenure in the angling business. When I took a hiatus from angling in 2012, I packed all my fly tying and rod making equipment away and focused on other pursuits for several years. As I knew it would, fishing, rod building and fly tying eventually wove their way back in to my life, and when Jackson took a rabid interest fly tying in 2017, I began to sort through my old equipment and stumbled across the tying tools that Joaquin had made me almost a decade ago. As much as I was the first time I received them I was impressed not only his artistic ability and eye for elegant and detail, but also humbled his generosity and thoughtfulness to send such a unique and beautiful set of gifts, not once but several times, to someone halfway around the world that he had never met.

  So, Joaquin, this Front Page is for you. Thank you for your generosity and friendship over the years. Your tools receive almost daily use, and are still as stunning as the day I received them so long ago!

Hope you all have a great week and are staying safe and healthy!