Thursday, December 4, 2008

We lose one of our own

One of the pioneers of spey in the Midwest, and all around dedicated flyfisherman Marty Kwitek has passed away.
I didn't know Marty as well as I would have liked to, but he did stop in at my flyshop several times and we talked for hours about gear, Hardy reels, and the romances and art of the sport. He was the only other guy I knew that wore a waxed cotton English jacket. He was truly a romantic. So long brother.

Here is the announcement and excellent memorial from Tim Landwehr;


Today is a sad day at Tight Lines. After years of fighting Chrohn's disease, shop friend Marty Kwitek passed away this morning at 2:30 am. Our little fly fishing community has suffered a great loss. Years before Tight Lines was in business and Bob's Bait & Tackle was the hub for all our fly fishing needs, Marty was there driving our passion. I met Marty when I was about 19 while searching for a new fly rod. I remember going into Bob's and meeting Marty. My take on him was "this is a man that loves the sport." This was a man who loved the history of the sport and someone that inspired us to go out and fish. I also realized quickly he may have been the best damn salesman I have ever met. I remember leaving Bob's with Whiting dry fly necks, Roderick Haig Brown books and countless other item that I did not need. I loved him for it. Salesman or not Marty showed more passion for our sport than just about anyone that I know. What I also remember about Marty was his stories. Countless stories. He and Matt would fish the Brule during Hex season and come into Tight Lines and paint the picture in all of our minds. He, of course, would leave out details like, the mosquitoes are as big as robins, we got lost, the hatch didn't happen, fish wouldn't eat etc. This was part of his magic. The story I remember most was told to me by one of our customers. I am not sure who told me this but I am positive it must be true. It sounds like Marty to me. One of our fly fishing friends pulled up to the run at J Bridge on the Oconto, a favorite haunt of Marty's. It was a cool October morning and steelhead and browns should have been moving into the river. He noticed Marty was sitting on the side of the bank with his rod in hand but not wearing waders or vest. He called down from the bridge to Marty "how's the fishing?" Marty looked up to the angler and said "caught two and just had another pull" The onlooker remarked, "are you catching them from shore? You are not even in the water!" Marty looked up at the other angler and said "I am fishing in my mind. I haven't wet a line. I am visualizing it" Perfect. This is who Marty Kwitek was. The fishing itself was not always the magic. He loved the tackle, the romance, and most of all, he loved sharing it. Marty will be greatly missed by all of us. The sport of fly fishing will miss Marty the most. He taught hundreds of anglers how to tie flies, cast, and to love and embrace fly fishing. Marty will go down in my book as one of the greatest promoters of our sport in the state of Wisconsin. We owe him a lot. Next time we are on the stream, especially his favorites like the Oconto or Manitowoc, I ask all of you that knew Marty to make a cast for him. We will miss him. I will always remember Marty Kwitek.

Tim Landwehr

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