I suppose it is a bit risky to talk about yet to be published information, as there has never been a shortage of plagiarizers when it comes to fishing in the Smokies. However, this tidbit is a bit too juicy to sit on without sharing with the board.
As of late here, Horace Kephart has been talked about by some as though he was a casual fisherman. The facts are though, that this was hardily the case. In fact, Kephart loved to fish and was not shy about approaching the tackle makers of his day for a free sample or two, a practice still honored among today’s outdoor writers.
Kephart’s fly wallet can be inspected at Western Carolina University (along with a small tackle box containing his Al Foss, CCBC and other hard baits.) Years of diddling about in the world of antique tackle enabled me to recognize the flies in the wallet, of which most are clearly tied by Louis Rhead who spent much of his life around Cornell University not too far from where Kephart resided in his sober days.
Rhead is best remembered as an artist and illustrator of children's books, most notably were editions of Robin Hood, The Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, and Heidi. He also was an extraordinarily talented tyer of what arguably were the first “realistic” flies. Below this post is a letter from Rhead to Kephart that board followers might find interesting.
Here’s Rhead’s obit from The New York Times, Friday July 30, 1926:
LOUIS RHEAD, ARTIST AND ANGLER, DEAD. Exhausted Recently by Long Struggle In Capturing a 30-pound Turtle.
...About two weeks ago Mr. Rhead set out to catch a turtle weighing thirty pounds which had been devastating trout ponds on his place, Seven Oaks. After the turtle was hooked, it put up a fight for more than half an hour. Although Mr. Rhead was successful in the end, he became exhausted. A short time later he suffered from his first attack of heart disease. Yesterday's was his second
Rhead and Kephart went down with their boots on, God Bless us all to be so fortunate.
Thanks also to everyone who has been so generous to share a knowledge of flies and fly tying in the Smokies.