I’m a good dancer. The late fly tier extraordinaire Jack Gartside at the Little Lehigh Fly Shop.
I was standing at the end of the jet way, waiting for my new friend to deplane. A tall slender man with sandy hair, rugged facial features and an impish look came strolling down the ramp He wore no hat, red sneakers, chocolate brown corduroy breeches, pink dress shirt and a purple velour sport jacket. Obviously not a writer for GQ, he had a beautiful woman on his arm.. He greeted me warmly, hugged his companion for which he received an enthusiastic kiss and bid her farewell. He had met her on the plane. During the hour drive from Phiilly to the shop this Boston cabbie critiqued my driving unmercifully. Before going to dinner, we checked him into his motel. He was excited that it was across the street from Dorney Parks Wild Water Kingdom. On the way to dinner we stopped at a convenience store for a pack of Camels. He came out with the cigarettes and a date with the clerk to take her to Wild Water Kingdom. Totally amazed I asked, Jack how do you do it. His response “I’m a good dancer.” -----------------------------------------------------
The following ws gleaned from information acquired over the years. I take no credit for it but this tribute is appropriate. Gartside was taught how to tie flies at the age of 10 by Ted Williams John Clarence "Jack" Gartside was an American fly tyer and fly fishing author. Considered one of the most talented and innovative fly tyers of the modern era, Gartside was taught how to tie flies at the age of 10 by Ted Williams, the Boston Red Sox outfielder. Among his best-known original patterns are the Sparrow, the Soft Hackle Streamer, the Pheasant Hopper, the Gartside Leech, the FishHead, and the Gurgler. His designs have been featured in Eric Leiser's "Book of Fly Patterns," Judith Dunham's "The Art of the Trout Fly," Lefty Kreh's "Salt Water Fly Patterns," Dick Stewart's "Salt Water Flies,"Bob Veverka's "Innovative Saltwater Flies," and Dick Brown's "Flyfishing for Bonefish." He was one of the first fly tyers to be profiled in Sports Illustrated (October 12, 1982). Gartside has been profiled in Robert H. Boyle's "Fishing Giants and Other Men of Derring-Do," and David Dibenedetto's "On the Run." In 2010 the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum inducted Gartside into its fly fishing hall of fame. The American Museum of Fly Fishing added a number of Gartside items to its collection
Gartside was a proponent of natural materials and the impressionist style of tying. A common theme in his patterns is blood marabou wound as hackle, as seen in his Soft Hackle Streamer and Soft Hackle Deceiver patterns. Although limited in his use of synthetic materials, he is credited with popularizing the use of corsair tubing (as seen in his FishHead and Floating Minnow patterns), and closed-cell foam (as used in his Gurgler pattern).
Jack Gartside, a noted fly-tier and author of many angling books, said he lived a dry-fly cast away from Fenway Park in the 1950s when Williams and heavyweight boxer Jack Sharkey were demonstrating flycasting at a sportsman's show in Boston.
"They had this beautiful babe in a bikini at one end of the casting pool with a cigarette in her mouth and Ted would try to knock it out of her mouth," said Gartside. "He always did it." When Williams tied flies at a table between casting demonstrations, Gartside was fascinated. "I wormed my way up to the table and asked if he'd show me how to tie a fly," said Gartside. "They sat me down at the vise. Ted went though the motions to show me how to tie a woolly worm." "The Splendid Splinter" was inducted into the International Game Fish Association's Fishing Hall of Fame in 2000. As a teenage baseball fan, Gartside saw another side of Ted Williams. "We used to haunt the entrance to Fenway Park where the ballplayers came in," said Gartside. "My friend got there before me and said, 'You'll never believe this, but Ted Williams talked to me before he talked to anyone else.' "I said, 'No kidding. What did he say?' "He said, 'Get out of my way, kid.'"