Hewitt's Neversink Skater

From Halford's early dries to the Catskill dry and everything else that floats on the surface.
Bamboo&Brookies
Posts: 732
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 4:44 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by Bamboo&Brookies » Sat May 04, 2019 10:30 am

If I can get up to the museum in the next couple weeks, I can look around for some more photos of Sparse, LaBranche and other 'Neversink Rods' to help narrow down positive IDs.

The photo you just posted of LaBranche shows one of Hewitt's famous plank dams in the background. He had several of these built on his stream mileage to provide holding water and aeration for the river. I think they also helped to keep his big fish from migrating too far. Sadly, many of the remaining ones have been either washed out in some of the torrential floods we have had, or they just rotted away. I think a couple remain here and there, Ed O posted photo of one a while back, it is quite a ways up on the East Branch Neversink in private water.

All fascinating stuff!
Give a man a fly rod, a shotgun and a bird dog and he'll never be worth a d*mn.
-Old New England saying

cwfly
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:09 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by cwfly » Sat May 04, 2019 10:49 am

I do not mean to get off topic but the wooden dams were very important to Mr. Hewitt. In the January 29, 1951 lease to The Big Bend Club, Inc. he made specific provision for his, as landlord, obligation to provide at no cost to the Club a fairly large number of board feet of lumber for dams.

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bearbutt
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by bearbutt » Sat May 04, 2019 12:00 pm

Not off topic at all, Charlie--I love this detail, and tracing the evidence to Hewitt's lease. Thanks, B&B, for your observation too.

The film does show one of the plank pools, and Hewitt fishing just below the dam--skating a skater across the current--and manipulating the rod and line to increase fly speed. This is to me the most fascinating part of the film, and no still image can show this effectively.

I just wrote to Ashaway, to see if they maybe have the full film in their archive--it's still not clear still who owns the copyright--Bovey or Ashaway. The five minute version is a cut-down version that omits the date and copyright--so part of the task is to also get our hands on the longer version.

Here's another picture of Hewitt fighting a fish--notice how he has reversed the reel so he is playing the fish against the rod in a way to redistribute stress and avoid sets. This particular fish, by the way, was about 20 inches. I dunno how many more of these stills I can put up before I start abusing the notion of 'fair use', if I haven't already.


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Bamboo&Brookies
Posts: 732
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 4:44 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by Bamboo&Brookies » Sat May 04, 2019 2:32 pm

I have mentioned this elsewhere on this site but might be worth repeating, Hewitt could be a cagey old fella and he took a personal interest in each big fish he raised in his on-site hatchery.

Once released into the plank dams on the Neversink, the fish would get hand fed by Hewitt. It's said he trucked in special Long Island mussels to help them put on pounds. (The upper Neversink is actually not all that fertile.)

He would feed them Friday before weekend guests arrived so the large trout would not rise to the fly so readily.

Cagey.

Each fall he would also drive up and down the river, beyond his place, with a big water tub in his dilapidated truck. He would drop in on neighbors who lived on the river so he could hunt down and recapture some of his big fish that had strayed, to return them to the hatchery raceways where they would spend the winter.

An amusing old soul.

(This per a passage in Len Wright's 'Neversink.' )
Give a man a fly rod, a shotgun and a bird dog and he'll never be worth a d*mn.
-Old New England saying

Theroe
Posts: 696
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:46 pm
Location: New York City

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by Theroe » Mon May 06, 2019 11:05 am

Gentlemen of the left is George Michael Lucien LaBranche.........

Odd fun fact of the day: my company used to do business with Labranche & Company, albeit way before my time......if I had been 50 years older :lol: :lol: :lol:
“Time to go fishing”

bearbutt
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by bearbutt » Sat May 11, 2019 9:25 am

Reading Sparse last night, his observation about fishing and hanging out with Hewitt: "Fishing was to Mr. Hewitt what whiskey is to a drunkard."


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cwfly
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:09 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by cwfly » Tue May 14, 2019 1:48 pm

bb,

The movie was shown in April 1940.

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bearbutt
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by bearbutt » Tue May 14, 2019 7:56 pm

Charlie--

1940?! That's at least ten years earlier than I had surmised--thank you so much for this! Can I ask what newspaper the announcement was in?

The other big piece of news in this tidbit is that the other fellow was Dick Hunt--not Sparse--and about Dick I know nothing at all, and need to do some research on him. (Unless he's the Richard Hunt for whom Leonard Hunt pattern rods are named?)

Thank you, again, for your research!

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cwfly
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:09 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by cwfly » Wed May 15, 2019 10:47 am

bb

The clipping is from The Brewster Standard, Brewster, NY, 4/4/1940 at 3.

I am sure that the reference to "Dick Hunt" is to Richard Carley Hunt. Mr. Hunt was one of the Neversink Rods on Hewitt's water.

Charlie

bearbutt
Posts: 482
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Hewitt's Neversink Skater

Post by bearbutt » Wed May 15, 2019 5:45 pm

Thanks, Charlie--. Dick Hunt was for a while president of the Angler's Club of New York--. In one of the Bulletins, Hunt was described like this: "outwardly Dick is a nice example of a big shot downtown lawyer--a man of affairs who can disembowel a balance sheet, dynamite a log jam, articulate a merger or adorn board of directors as well as write a brief or argue a case. But inwardly, he has a vivid appreciation of beauty and acute awareness...". He was widely described by colleagues as an especially knowledgeable angler and outstanding flycaster. He died midstream on the Brodhead.

New topic now. Among some older Bivisibles I recently obtained, including an uncommon Pink Lady Bivisible, I found this miscreant fly. It is tied on what seems a size 4 or 6 longshank hook. It seems like a marriage of a Bivisible and a Skater--the hackle at the widest point near the eye is 2 inches across. What do we have here?

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