As we approach the upcoming season Bob and I agree we should remind all of you about why and how the shop is what it is and why it is an institution here in Northern California. Ted Fay started his guiding business in Dunsmuir in the early 50’s out of a motel he owned offering free guiding for guests who stayed in it. He popularized the short-line, weighted fly tactic known as “short line nymphing.” Fay popularized his version of the pocket water technique, which usually involved two flies; one tied at the end of the tippet, the other some distance above as a dropper. For a time in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Fay’s fly patterns were hot items, so much so that “authentic” Ted Fay flies began appearing on the shelves of other fly shops. Fay died in 1983 a year after I met him and Joe Kimsey at Ted’s shop. Joe was tying and guiding for Ted then and continued the shop at the Acorn Motel until 1996 when Bob Grace, the current owner, bought it from Joe. Joe carried forward Ted’s short line technique, teaching it using all the popular Fay flies such as the Bomber, Spent Wing, Peacock and Burlap. After Bob purchased the shop Joe continued to be a fixture here. One of my fondest memories of Joe was when a customer would walk through the doorway and inquire enthusiastically, “Where are the fish?” Joe would reply in a blink “In the water!” Joe continued to show up every day almost to the end tying flies in the old Ted Fay style and swapping stories with Bob and the customers. Joe was laid to rest in 2010 wearing his signature red suspenders. We miss his presence but know that his spirit is minding the store.
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