Thursday, October 10, 2013

Q&A with Cortland Line Pro Staffer, Bob Jacklin

Bob Jacklin, of Bob Jacklin's Fly Shop in West Yellowstone, Montana has been a member of the Cortland Pro-Staff for over 39 years. Bob has been passing on his knowledge of fly fishing and fly tying to thousands of fly fishing enthusiasts around the world for five decades. We asked Bob a few questions to help you get to know this Fly Fishing Hall of Famer a little better.

Q: Bob, give us a little background of where you first started fishing.
A: I'm a self-taught and very dedicated fly fisher and fly tier.  I grew up in the Elizabeth, New Jersey area and was very much taken with trout fishing.  Naturally I started fishing with worms and salmon eggs for stocked trout and soon became very interested in fly fishing and tying my own flies for native brook trout in many of the head water streams of northern New Jersey.  I have been selling flies since I was 17 years old.  I started supplying flies on a limited basis to three sporting goods stores in the Elizabeth, N.J area through my last years in high school and through my three years in the military.

Q: How did you end up opening up a fly shop in West Yellowstone?
My first trip to the Yellowstone area was in 1967 just after completing my three years of military duty and was totally captivated with the rivers, streams, fishing, and general beauty of the area.  I joined a new organization that summer in Bud Lilly's Trout Shop in West Yellowstone, Montana and became a charter member of the Federation of Fly Fishers with a continuous memberships and a life membership with that organization. I was offered a full time job in the fall of 1969 with the Bud Lilly Trout Shop in West Yellowstone, Montana teaching Bud's Fly Fishing School, guiding fishermen, and working in the trout shop.  After several years of working for Bud Lilly, I was offered a job with the Fenwick Corporation teaching their new fly fishing school in West Yellowstone.  I have worked with Fenwick, Sage, and now St. Croix Rod company as a Pro-Staff member. I eventually opened my own fly shop in West Yellowstone, Montana in the spring of 1974 and have been in buisness ever since. The key aspects that made my business successful is very hard work, and being very tenacious.

Q:Bob, in your opinion what types of changes in fly line technology have stood out over the years?
A: I have seen many changes in fly lines over my almost 50 years of fly fishing. First, the new plastic coating over a braided core used by Cortland in the 333 series. The second change in technology was Cortland's developing the use of a Mono Core in the construction and taper of a fly line as used in the Clear Camo Intermediate and other lines. I have always enjoyed casting and fishing Cortland Lines. When selling a line all that is needed, is to open the package and let the customer feel the smoothness and the extra polishing process each Cortland line goes through.

Q:During your early years in the industry did you ever imagine you would be inducted into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame?
A:In the year 2004 I was inducted into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. That was sure a special day. After almost 40 years in the fishing industry at that time it was sure nice to be recognized with such a nice dinner and many friends. My family members also my sister and other family members attended. I have always had a warm spot in my heart for the Catskills and the Beaverkill River where I had fished as a young man and learned to appreciate the history of the rivers and the people in that area. I have been a longtime member and supporter of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and to be inducted into the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame was a very special part of my life.
Q:Over the years, who are some of the greatest people you worked with in the industry? 
A: Over the many years I have met so many wonderful people through fly fishing it is almost impossible to name them all or even come close.  I would need to start first with a great organization the Federation of Fly Fishers.  The early conclaves and the on going Fly Fishing fairs allow the visiting public a very unique opportunity to visit with and interact with the top people in our sport and way of life.  Those early conclaves allowed me as a kid of 22 years old a chance to meet and get to know many of the top people in the fly fishing community.  People and companies like Leon Chandler and Cortland Line, Frank and Gladys Gray, and Jim Green of the Fenwick Company.  I was able to meet and become life-long friends with Lee and Joan Wulff and so many others like Lefty Kreh.  I give a special thanks to Mr. Bud Lilly for allowing me the chance to work for him and learn from one of the best retailers in the Yellowstone area.

Q:With all the changes over the last year what excites you most about the future of Cortland Line?
A: What excites me most about Cortland Line and the future of Cortland's fly lines is now working with a full staff at Cortland all dedicated to improving the quality of the product, teaching and carrying on the sport of fishing with the artificial fly and keeping the warm and personal relationship that Leon Chandler passed on to us through the Cortland Line Company.

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