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News Editor's Notebook

John Goddard Passes

by Ross Purnell, Editor   |  December 29th, 2012 0

Today I received the sad news from both Gary Borger and Lefty Kreh that fly fishing legend John Goddard passed away on Dec. 26 at the age of 89. He was an extremely influential author and fly tier and will be sadly missed.

My mentor and long-time editor & publisher of FLY FISHERMAN had this to say about him: “John Goddard had a great life and contributed as much as anyone to our knowledge on trout behavior and how to catch them. President Jimmy Carter considered the Goddard-Clarke book  The Trout and The  Fly to be his best instruction of all the books I brought to him at Camp David in 1980. John was also on of the best fly fishermen for trout on chalkstreams that I have ever fished with, and I learned a great deal simply by fishing with him and watching him stalk trout. ”

Here is part of an obituary written by his friend and coauthor  Brian Clarke.

From the frontpiece from John Goddard’s book, Trout Flies of Britain and Europe.

From the frontpiece from John Goddard’s book, Trout Flies of Britain and Europe.

It is probably true to say that, more than any other British writer in the 20th century, John Goddard persuaded anglers at large that a knowledge of entomology could be a huge advantage when trying to catch trout on artificial flies. He not only designed a veritable hatch of imitative patterns based on his own observations, but adapted the dressings of others and wrote extensively on methods for fishing them. He delivered the complete fly-to-landing-net package.
Others had trodden the entomological path before him. Frederic Halford and George Selwyn Marryat had studied the flylife of the southern chalk streams in the 1880s and 1890s and, thanks to Halford’s writings, had effectively systematised dry fly fishing as a sport by the turn of that century. G.E.M. Skues later did much the same for those who had fished the chalk streams with sunken flies, by showing how aquatic nymphs could be imitated and fished. In being able to stand on their shoulders – and to a significant extent also on those of J.R. Harris, who published An Angler’s Entomology in 1952 – Goddard was able to take anglers further, both technically and geographically.
Goddard was also one of the most complete all-rounders who ever lived. He exhibited an enthusiasm and breadth of interest that not only embraced coarse and game fishing, but conventional sea angling, fly-fishing in the sea and competitive, international big-game fishing. In the latter specialisation, he captained his country’s team several times.

To read the complete transcript see the post by Gary Borger at garyborger.com

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