“Up moved the long green shadow, deliberately and gracefully, and the Jassid [fishing fly] disappeared in an eddy that barely disturbed the surface,” he wrote. “I quickly raised my rod, hoping not to break the 5X tippet [line] against its moving weight.”
But then, he wrote, the fish fought back. “His broad red side glistened in the glow of the setting sun. Down the river he charged, taking most of the line in his first run and clearing the water twice with shattering leaps.
Whitlock had a long association with the company that inspired his fishing: he wrote and illustrated the “LL Bean Fly-Fishing Handbook” (1983), ran the company’s fly-fishing schools in the 1980s and consulted on fly selection. fishing equipment that came.
In the manual, he laid out rules that underscored his chivalrous approach to fly fishing. “Don’t crowd other anglers,” he wrote. “If you have a good spot and notice that other anglers are waiting for a chance to fish it, either give up the spot after fishing it for a while or invite them to share the water with you.” And: “When hooking or losing a fish, refrain from loud talking, profanity, shouting, or other noises that interfere with the serenity of others.”
Dave Whitlock shaped fly fishing in the USA.Credit:NOW
In 2021, Fly Fisherman magazine cited Whitlock for “his artistic creativity in his fly tying and painting” and his love of teaching.
David William Whitlock was born on November 11, 1934 in Muskogee. His father, Joseph, was a construction welder, and his mother, Evelyn (Smith) Whitlock, was a beautician.
Dave was born with a spinal condition that weakened his back; when he was two he contracted polio, which made his right leg weaker and shorter than his left. Finally, at the age of five, he had the strength to start fishing, often in the company of his grandparents.
He entered Northeastern State College (now University) in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, hoping to study art and journalism, but was pushed by his parents to focus on subjects that could ensure he made a better living. . He took pre-med courses, but veered off into chemistry, biology, and physics, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1955. He spent the next dozen years working as a research chemist for oil companies and for the United States Bureau of Mines.
In the late 1960s, he decided to make fly fishing his full-time life. For the rest of his career, he fished, painted and drew (fish, not people), taught, and developed lures bearing colorful names like Dave’s Hopper, NearNuff Crayfish, Diving Frog, and Whitlock’s Gorilla’s Damsel-Dragonfly.
“I don’t think there’s a fisherman in the country that hasn’t been touched by Dave Whitlock,” said Mr. Deeter of Trout Magazine. “If you look in our fly boxes, you’ll find a fly that he designed.”
Whitlock defined himself as a fisherman and an artist. In his 20s he was fishing in a stream in Montana where the sight of a trout swimming in crystal clear water fascinated him. The following year, he wore a diving mask so he could observe them underwater as artistic subjects.
“You know,” he said. “When you go underwater in a clear river and see the vegetation and the light and the bubbles and the fish and everything that moves in that flow, instead of seeing everything in the air, it’s like another world”.
He added: “The moment I saw it I said, ‘This is what I want to paint.’ I want to show people this other world’”.
In addition to his wife, Whitlock is survived by his son Allen; his stepdaughter, Jessica Capps; his stepson, Nicholas Langevin; and a granddaughter.
The New York Times
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