SEC T I ON T WO ON S T R I PP I N G AND ME NDING By Gerald ‘Jerry” Darkes PHOTO COURTESY OF JERRY DARKES ABOVE: AUTHOR, GERALD DARKES “Oddly, most people think still fly fishing is an expensive sport, but nothing could be further from the truth. For a couple hundred dollars you can be well on your way out the door and on the water.” I am not a tweed jacket and pipe smoking kind of guy. Never was. Instead, I grew up pretty much blue collar in a Cleveland, Ohio, suburb. I was exposed to f ly f ishing early and it was part of how we f ished seasonally. Trout on f lies in April, bass and bluegill on f lies in May, then gear the rest of the year. Lake Erie was just rebounding as a walleye f ishery and we focused gear efforts there. I even guided for walleye on the big lake for a number of years. I managed to become a sales rep for a group of f ly- f ishing manufacturers and also started guiding f ly anglers seasonally for smallmouth bass and steelhead, being one of the f irst in Ohio doing this. It was in the early 1980’s when steelhead were coming onto the radar screen of Great Lakes anglers. In 1992, the movie A River Runs Through It hit theatre screens. These two things really kick-started f ly f ishing in this area. The Great Lakes steelhead f ishery brought anglers in from all over the world in pursuit of these over-sized rainbow trout and we found we could catch them on f lies- lots of them. “The Movie” attracted all kinds of people to the sport, even those that had never f ished Volume 03  No. 01  | 2019