American Legacy Fishing Company
NEWS FLASH – November 23, 2008
ANYONE who wants to fish, CAN (and more)…
“The main reason I tournament fish,” said 24-year-old Clay Dyer of Hamilton, Ala., “is because my life has always been a competition with the situation I’m in, being the way I was born. To me, it’s the fact that I know I’m competing against the best anglers in the nation. By no means am I at that level. My main perspective is that it’s such a challenge to fish at that level. I don’t want to do it for a year or two and then have the fire burn out.”
Indeed, Dyer has a fire inside. Dyer was born without legs and without a left arm. His right arm extends to his elbow. Nevertheless, Dyer flings a bait-caster by clenching it between his cheek and collarbone, cranking the reel with his right arm.
“I can make any cast I need to make,” Dyer said. “I can cast left or right. I can pitch and flip – I do that a lot. I can pitch and flip as easily as I can throw a big crankbait. It took a lot of practice – a year or two – to learn a lot of the casts.”
Dyer started fishing at 5 years old and began tournament fishing with older friends at 12 years old. By 1996, when he was a senior in high school, Dyer was fishing full time, and since then, he has won 30 team and regional tournaments. His next goal is to fish FLW Tour and EverStart Series events. Dyer’s hopes are buoyed by a full roster of sponsors, including Yamaha, Minn Kota and Plano. He also splits fishing time with inspirational speaking engagements.
“When you meet the guy and see how determined, how outgoing and how willing to tell his story he is, it’s that much better,” said David Simmons, field promotions coordinator for Yamaha Marine Power Group. “As far as his marketing and promotional abilities, they’re excellent regardless of his abilities or disabilities.”
Another angler with determination and ambition is Brett Ketchum of Little Rock, Ark. Last year Ketchum fished the National Bass Association of the Deaf circuit and the full BFL Arkie Division, taking seventh at Lake Ouachita. “I don’t think (my lack of) hearing affects my fishing at all,” Ketchum said. “That’s why I chose fishing rather than hoops or baseball, which required hearing. I only need help from my partner for the flight call.
“My events for 2003 should be the same with the BFL,” added Ketchum, a cabinet maker with Raytheon Aircraft. “I’m still looking forward to the EverStart Series. If I get a chance, I will go for it!”
Going for it – it’s a common theme among anglers with disabilities. In a way, their fishing is not unlike any other aspect of their lives, with day in, day out obstacles to overcome. The way they look at it, one of the most crucial components of any aspect of their lives is the mental edge.
“I’ve always had a lot of willpower,” Dyer said. “I’m not trying to brag or boast. When something gets in front of me, I’m going to go 110 percent until I accomplish it.”
Another Story from the G. Loomis Archives…..
The saltwater shallows were called “flats” by the old-time anglers that we emulated as kids. The flats were nearby, starting in Biscayne Bay and stretching like a broken tapestry from under the shadow of Miami’s skyline to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas 70 miles below Key West.
The muse that awoke my brother each daybreak and spoke to him of school, ball gloves, girls and the upcoming prom, never visited me although my brother and I shared a room.
I was unable to discuss the sights and sounds of my dreams with parents or normal fold… they would, with few exceptions have been unable to visualize low morning sunlight shining through those two or three droplets of water suspended along the spine of a bonefish tail waving in the early stillness of an awakening flat.
Distant, rolling thunder from squalls that has spent the warm night out in the Gulfstream would later in the day chase the sounds of least terns and ospreys off the flats and replace their working vocabulary with the sound of sweet rainwater slanting in on a breeze smelling of ozone.
These sights and sounds forged my yougerhood in the crucible of South Florida’s heat. These were the sights and sounds that called to me at those very moments when I might have been steering a path that followed most others… It didn’t’ happen.. I was like one of Peter Pans’ lost boys. I ran into other lost boys, and lost men, and I fit right in! Norman Duncan, Chico Fernandez, Ralph Delph, Stu Apte, John “Dozer” Donnell, Jimmy Grace, Bob Fordyce, Sandy “Catfish” Moret, John Emery, Jim Brewer, Eddy Whiteman, Hal Chittum, Lefty Kreh and other lost boys became my tribe and it felt totally right.
The flats were in bicycle range. We waded from shore mostly, but often used common air mattresses to reach deep or farther fishing areas.
We were so often absent from school that most thought we were not enrolled. The consequences of not attending classes were simply not part of our collective, conscious thought stream. Some argued that we had no conscious thought stream at all beyond fishing. I have a feeling that many of you know exactly what portrait I’m painting here… You may have been there!
My work has allowed me to cleave to the values and lifestyle adopted back on those air mattresses. These days I’m fortunate to be able to fish many wonderful and exotic destinations which I never dreamed I would see. Often I glance at the other end of the skiff or canoe and see with today’s eyes, the folks who have been with me in skiffs and canoes down through all these many years and I realize how lucky I am to be sharing these experiences with friends who have stood the test of time… there are many.
G.Loomis rods, Shimano high-performance reels and high tech skiffs have replaced the primitive weapons of the early 1960’s. We’re challenged by these better tools to improve our casting and angling skills. I’m always learning from new people that I come in contact with in my travels and I keep working on those skills. Often, while I’m at it, I get a glimpse…just the quickest glimpse…of that skinny kid on the air mattress, paddling out into Government Cut Shipping Channel, while from behind a huge, jetty rock, unseen, a man who looks a lot like my dad, silently mouths the words… “Be careful son”.
G. Loomis prices will go up 5% to 15% starting January 1, 2009. And “no”, we can’t sell rods we already have in stock at the old prices. Loomis actually sent us new price tags. Something about a level playing field, and we have to play by their rules. So, friends, if you need a Loomis rod, Escape Luggage, Loomis fly reel, blanks, or any other Loomis item now is the time to buy.
And 24 Hour Phone Ordering…
Giovanni Costenaro with one of my favorite fish, a Grayling (Temolo in italian) in Valtellina (SO), Italy.
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