|Dave at the Salmon River in NY.|
What do you get when you combine decades of experience on the river with humor, kindness, cockiness, swagger and top it all off with a layer of crust? You get Dave Baker. This is the guy that you want to fish with. This is the guy you want to tie with. This is the guy you don't want to eat lunch with. Wait...what?
I met Dave at Clearwater Fly Shop. We tied flies together on weekends and Dave was always there with his vise and his seemingly endless supply of Reese's. His insights on tying have been invaluable and I constantly ask myself if the bug I just made would pass his inspection process.
When I first started tying, he would take the fly of my vise, cut the material off and tell me that my design isn't worth the hook it was on. Lessons were learned hard, but I'm a better tier for it.
Fishing with Dave is not for the faint of heart. If you have plans to do anything else that day, don't go with Dave. Commit to a trip from morning until the dark of night - he's not leaving until the flashlights come on.
Dave has a way of making a 6 1/2 foot 3wt throw line like a spey rod. We fished a small pond one day and he made that line shoot a good seventy feet with zero effort. I guess that's the reward for years of practice.
The lunch thing.... yeah, ok. One day, we're on the bank of the Andro eating some lunch and Dave is sharing Vietnam stories - something he tends to do. I had to stop him mid story because the graphic details of his story made me almost lose my lunch.
That's the quick and dirty on Dave. It's been a few years since we fished, but I'll bet within five minutes, he'd flash the four crooked fingers sign when I asked him how he was doing.