The Master

The Master

Andy Dear | Monday, 10 May 2021

In several previous Front Pages, I have told the story about the genesis for the series of interviews I did for RodMaker, twenty years ago this year. Over the next several months I'd like to detail not only how many of these interviews evolved into friendships with these folks, but also how they of interviews affected my life long term.

  I've detailed several times how I initially met Jim Green through a quick internet search and a cold call. I wasn't exactly sure how he would receive being contacted out of the blue by a complete stranger with virtually ZERO writing experience. However during that initial conversation, and every subsequent conversation we had, Jim was always what I would call a "true gentleman" from the old school. He was open, articulate, and most of all, humble. I remember when I sent him the rough draft of the transcript for his approval, one of the things he was very adamant about changing, was his use of the word "workers". During our conversation, he referred several times to the employees at Fenwick as workers. After he read that he wanted that term changed to "employees" as he felt the term "workers" was somewhat disrespectful and didn't honor their position as the craftsman that he felt they were. I always that was a really classy thing to have done, and showed how conscientious of a man he really was.

At one point in our interview, Jim replied to one of my questions regarding his long history in the fly fishing business with the following quote "Well I was very fortunate you know. I never made a tremendous amount of money, but I don't think of it that way. I think the people who design things and build things are the luckiest people on earth. Like myself, I was making almost a new rod every day. I could hardly wait to get back to work the next day to try that new rod as it came off the line. I'd tape some guides on it and go try it. It was the kind of job where I wanted to go back to work. When I developed a fly rod, there was a fondness about it and a love about it. To me, it wasn't an item that you mass-produced. In other words, it was something that I really enjoyed, a great item to me, something I could be proud of. Every rod meant something it to me, I didn't treat it as just an item to be sold." What I remember about that quote was how his voice changed dramatically to a very serious, almost sad tone and tenor. You could really feel that he loved what he did for a living and that he was very proud of his accomplishments in the world of rod design.

  Although we kept in touch through several subsequent conversations after our interview, it wasn't long after, that Jimmy passed away in 2004. He was a wonderful guy who I wish there had been more time to get to know. I will however always be grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to conduct that first interview. At that time, I had almost NO prior experience as a writer, and he had no reason to give me a shot....but thankfully he did. As I look back on it now, I can say without question that my life would have most certainly been much less interesting without having gotten to know Jim Green. He will, in my mind always be the greatest fly caster and rod designer that ever lived.

Hope you all are staying safe and healthy,