Backwater Angler Celebrates 21 Years on Mardi Gras

The adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” clearly applies in the case of continuing Wally Vait’s On The Fly since 2001. While not necessarily an auspicious year to restart a retail specialty fly shop, many that year found solace and comfort from the happenings of 9/11 along the river.

Since then we have proudly served both Gunpowder regulars and anglers who have been lucky enough to travel further afield in search of beautiful fish in stunning landscapes. In this way, and in the moment our hope is that these fishers have found a bit of peace from the stresses of the 24 hour news cycle, work, familial responsibilities and the unexpected happenings of being human.

This could not have occurred without the support of our loving family, friends, dedicated staff and longstanding and loyal customers. To misquote John Donne, “No fly shop is an island…” In a little over two decades, we have seen many fly shops fold that serviced their local communities well and have seen many long-lived and favorite friends of the shop pass away all too quickly.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to them as we would not have had nearly the fun or been able to celebrate the success of our small independent fly shop without their laughter, their support and interest in our and the Gunpowder River’s future in the face of roll up consolidations, big box distribution models and lately, supply chain interruptions.

We hope to celebrate in the future with folks we have not yet met as we continue passing along and sharing our knowledge and learning from others. We believe that fly fishing as a craft, sport and livelihood is rightly described as, the “quiet sport. For us, fly fishing also allows us to be a kid again by entreating us to get lost in the moment and explore the mud, the muck and see and hear the first signs of spring first hand. The sport gives one an opportunity to stand in the flow of clear water over polished gravel waiting till the gloaming of the ever fleeting golden hour presents. The benefits are innumerable and include a so-called time expansion for those caught up in matching the hatch, seeing a wild fish leaving its holding lie and taking a bit of fur, feather and yarn wrapped onto hook secured to a gossamer leader and connected to a willowy rod held lightly in a hoping hand. It is in these moments that one witnesses something wild quietly and playfully going about its business of life. In this way, fly fishing allows one to step into a serene, pastoral landscape painting and discover nature’s wonder in a respectful, reverent and holistic fashion.

Thank you all for your support and love of the shop and the Gunpowder River over the years.

Laisez-les Bon Temps Rouler,

As an aside, Riverkeeper is also celebrating an anniversary this year-our 11th as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit characterized by the IRS under Natural Resource Conservation and Protection. We protect the waters of the Gunpowder and Bush watersheds, drinking water for 1.5 million metro area residents, sensitive species and communities that benefit by these waterways being in a protected state buy outreach, advocacy and litigation when necessary. Please consider supporting this cause for present and future generations. If you should have time to volunteer or join a committee we would love to hear from you!