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Art Flick book...

Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2022 7:57 pm
by Mike62
I just finished reading, "Art Flick, Catskill Legend" by Roger Keckeissen. I had seen a copy in Ken Callahan's latest catalog and bought it. I'm glad I did. The author, Roger Keckeissen, had never written a book before, never even thought about it. His claim to fame was being able to recite, verbatim, long passages from anything he had ever read. One of Flick's best friends was Ray Camp, outdoor columnist for the NY Times for decades. Camp had been badgering Flick to write a book for years, even threatening to dissolve their friendship if Flick didn't write it. Not wanting to lose a life-long friendship, Flick sat down and penned his subliminal, "Streamside guide"; an instant classic (much to the consternation of Preston Jennings).

Keckeissen was one of Flick's constant streamside companions, and when Flick died, started putting together this 'remembrance'. The book is a wonderful read. A literal 'page turner'. Flick knew, and fished with, everybody. Running one of the Catskills favorite 'fishing Inns', he sat behind the bar tying flies, making the best highballs, and talking fishing with all of the gods of yesteryear. The list of famous fly fishermen that this man called a friend, is staggering. Pick a name, any name; they all sat at the bar at the Inn.

So many nuggets of our history, our heritage, can be gleaned from this book. If you're a fan of fly fishing gossip..., it can be found here as well. The decades long evolution/devolution between Preston Jennings and Flick is like a slow motion train wreck. Although, to be fair, neither Jennings nor Flick ever actually addressed the issues head-on. Jennings was pissy in private, Flick, ...never said a bad word about his former mentor, though I can't imagine he was ambivalent.

On the back cover of the book, is a picture of Keckeissen and Ernest Schweibert, and a huge rainbow (13lb.s). The picture is titled, "Roger and Earnie's last fish". Both Schweibert and Keckeissen died shortly after the picture was taken. Then, there's a picture of Flick and his son on the Salmon River in Pulaski, with Flick holding his final fish; a bright 12lb.s salmon.

It really was a wonderful read. To be able to go back through time to the halcyon days of fly fishing in the Catkills and listen in to the conversations of some (most) of our heroes, is amazing. Seriously, Flick knew everybody! There's a picture in the book, almost as an aside, showing Flick standing on a street corner, leaning up against a building, having a conversation with John Voelker. This is a man who sat around and got drunk with George LaBranche! Good gawd...

To me, at this point in the festivities, the Schoharie is a footnote in time. But there was a time, when that stream was the epitome of everything that made the Catskills what they were. The fact that Flick was such an ardent advocate for 'his' water; a conservationist, a practitioner of catch and release long before it ever became fashionable, an unbending streamside ethics maven, is remarkable.

So much history...

No, this isn't Hemmingway; so much the better. This is a wonderful 'feel good' read. It will lift your spirits and at the same time, break your heart. So charge your glasses, gentlemen, and raise a toast to them what came before us. I've never fished the Catskills, but boy, how much fun it must have been.

Re: Art Flick book...

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2022 8:51 am
by Variant
Great write up Mike!
When I first read the book I thought that it would get more press!
This book is truly a diamond in the rough!

Lou

Re: Art Flick book...

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2022 9:54 am
by letumgo
Mike - Thank you for the excellent write-up. I've added this book to my Amazon wishlist. Now I know one to the things I want for Christmas. :D ;)

This is one of the things I love so much about our forum (avid readers & fly fishing history buffs).

Re: Art Flick book...

Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2022 4:24 pm
by JohnMD1022
letumgo wrote: Sun Sep 25, 2022 9:54 am Mike - Thank you for the excellent write-up. I've added this book to my Amazon wishlist. Now I know one to the things I want for Christmas. :D ;)

This is one of the things I love so much about our forum (avid readers & fly fishing history buffs).
There is a new copy on eBay now for $26.95 + $4.95 shipping.

I find that it is almost always easy to beat amazon pricing.

Re: Art Flick book...

Posted: Tue Sep 27, 2022 8:23 pm
by DOUGSDEN
Mike,
Your thread above is fascinating! Thank you for bringing it to us! The way you described the book, it sounds like "an easy read". Very enjoyable reading and at the same time, very informative to the point that it (the writing) keeps you on the edge....you can't put it down! This is the way it should be. Now, finding it! The next big challenge for me! John, you mentioned above about finding a new copy on Ebay! It's probably not there anymore! I need to get off my duff and register with Ebay and Amazon and the multitude of others out there to make the task of finding these treasures easier! This is purely on me!
Forever in love with and in awe of the incredible fly fishing literature that's out there,
Dougsden

Re: Art Flick book...

Posted: Sun Oct 02, 2022 8:17 pm
by Mike62
Doug, write this name down: Ken Callahan at Callahan & Company, Booksellers. He is in in Peterborourough, NH and specializes in nothing but out of print sporting titles.

He sends out a monthly catalog, free of charge, that is a page turner in itself (not this month, he and his wife are taking a vacation to Tuscany). He has at least two more copies of this book at very reasonable prices. To request a catalog...

ken@callahanbooks.com

...or,

Callahan & Co.
PO Box 505
Peterborough, NH
03458