Lefty Kreh

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Bernard "Lefty" Kreh is an American fly fisherman, photographer and instructor currently residing in Hunt Valley, Maryland.[1] Kreh is most known for being one of the pioneers of Saltwater Fly fishing[2] and his book, "Fly Fishing in Salt Water," is considered the seminal volume on the subject.

His wife Evelyn Kreh,[3] died in November 2011. They had two children, Victoria and Larry, and several grandchildren, Larry's son- Larry Jr, and Victoria's children- Matthew (married to Laura), Hillary (married to Ronald) and Sammantha (married to Colin) and great grandchildren from Hillary and Ronald- Alexandria, Allyssa, Ryan, Emily, and William.

Early years[edit]

Kreh was born February 26, 1925, in Frederick, Maryland. His parents were Theodore (aka "Whitey"), who died when Kreh was eight by a basketball accident, and Helen M. Purdy. His father taught him about fishing and after he died he would bring fish home for his mother and three siblings, Eileen, Dick and Teddy. He began fly-fishing in 1947 while serving as a guide for the famous fly fisherman Joe Brooks.[4] In 1965 he moved to Miami, Florida, and became the Director of the Metropolitan Fishing Tournament. He wrote for various fishing magazines. He is known throughout to always throw his fish back, keeping the flow in the waters for more fish.He began to fish for salt water species in the Florida Keys. It was during this time that Kreh, Joe Brooks, Al Pflueger, Tom McNally, George Hommel, Stu Apte and Bob Stearn's pioneered the techniques, deviating from the classic "Ten to Two" casting technique,[5] that modern salt water a use to pursue fish with fly fishing gear.


In addition to his fishing accomplishments, Kreh has been an active outdoor writer for more than forty-five years.[6] He has written for most major outdoor magazines. He is the retired outdoor editor of The Baltimore Sun and holds a staff position on several outdoor magazines. Kreh is also an accomplished photographer.[7]

#2 Black, Olive and Yellow Lefty's Deceivers (U.S. quarter in foreground for scale)

Creation of Lefty's Deceiver[edit]

Lefty's Deceiver is an artificial fly commonly categorized as a streamer fly which is fished under the water's surface. It is a popular and widely used pattern for both predacious freshwater and saltwater game fish. It is generally considered one of the top patterns to have in any fly box.[8] Kreh invented the Deceiver fly in the late 1950s as a streamer that would be easy to cast in wind and would not "foul" (or wrap around the bend of the hook) a common problem for older streamer patterns.[9] The original Lefty's Deceiver was tied in an all white pattern, but fly tiers have recreated the pattern in a variety of colors. A darker colored top with a lighter bottom (mimicking the various forage fishes that larger fishes feed upon) is the most popular design. The Deceiver is arguably the best known saltwater fly pattern in the world and in 1991 the U.S. Postal Service honored Kreh’s creation with a postage stamp.[10]


In 2010, the first "Lefty Kreh Flyfishing Challenge Course" was created as the centerpiece of instruction at HomeWaters University, which is located in Spruce Creek, Pennsylvania.[11] Kreh designed the course himself, incorporating dry land, still water and moving water into various casting stations. He calls it a “challenge” course, as opposed to a “casting” course, because he included real-world fly-fishing conditions. Scenarios include the need for long casts, short and precise presentations, casting into the wind, casting with no room for a back cast, and dealing with boulders, rapidly moving water, logs and other floating debris.[12]

HomeWaters University opened in June 2010 and offers fly-fishing classes. Its twenty fishing guides take on students of any skill level, beginning to expert, and teach them casting techniques, as well as how to catch a fish. The two-day-long courses are held at the confluence of Spruce Creek and the Little Juniata River.

Other awards[edit]

Kreh received the prestigious "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the American Sportfishing Association, has been honored with the "Lifetime Contribution Award" by the North American Fly Tackle Trade Association and is also in the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. In 1997 he was named "Angler of the Year" by Fly Rod and Reel Magazine. In 2003 Kreh was inducted to the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.[13] Kreh has served a number of years as Senior Advisor to Trout Unlimited, the Federation of Fly Fishers.

Other Appearances[edit]

Video Games: The iPad games Chuckin' Bugs 101 and Olive the Woolly Bugger pay homage to Kreh. One of the main characters, "Lefty Crayfish", is an anthropomorphised crayfish named after the famous fisherman. Beginning in 2010, Lefty has co-hosted the Outdoor Channel fishing show, Buccaneers & Bones along with host/narrator, retired news anchor Tom Brokaw, several other outdoor professionals and entertainment personalities. The show is shot on location on the coast of Belize and the Bahamas and features the cast teaming up with local guides. The focus of the show is to draw attention to the efforts of The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, a conservation and research organization dedicated to the preservation of the two warm climate saltwater gamefish species.


Other writingsTh[edit]

In addition to "Fly Fishing in Salt Water", Kreh's works include:

  • "Tying Flies That Catch Fish"
  • "Lefty Kreh's Ultimate Guide to Fly Fishing: Everything Anglers Need to Know by the World's Foremost Fly-Fishing Expert"
  • "Saltwater Fly Patterns"
  • "Lefty Kreh's Longer Fly Casting, New and Revised: The Compact, Practical Handbook That Will Add Ten Feet - Or More - To Your Cast"
  • "My Life Was This Big: And Other True Fishing Tales"
  • "Lefty Kreh's Presenting the Fly: A Practical Guide to the Most Important Element of Fly Fishing"
  • "Lefty Kreh on Fly Casting"


  • [1] Biography
  • [2] Deceiver stamp
  • [3] Instructional video on tying Leftys Deceiver
  • [4] Q&A With Fly-Fishing Expert Lefty Kreh
  • [5] Q&A with Lefty Kreh
  • [6] Lesson in Timelessness by a Fly-Fishing Master
  • [7] "The Big Catch: Fly-Fishing Guru 'Lefty' Kreh of Maryland is Still Making a Splash" by Dave Jamieson
  • [8] "Lefty Kreh's 5 Principles of Flycasting"
  • [9] Pawley Island and Outdoors
  • [10] "Q&A With Bernard "Lefty" Kreh" by Samantha Carmichael
  • Comar, Catherine (Winter 2013). "The Legacy of Lefty" (PDF). The American Fly Fisher. Manchester, VT: The American Museum of Fly Fishing. 39 (1): 18–19. Retrieved 2014-11-16. 


14. Buccaneers & Bones, Outdoor Channel - http://outdoorchannel.com/showabout.aspx?show-id=741