- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
" 'Gee, Charlie, that's great.' I said, never expecting anything to come of it. But he did mean it. The next time I was in France I found I'd become an apprentice saucier, the lowest form of life in the kitchen. I spent most of the time wanting to throw up, smelling all those bones. Two-hundred pounds of bones had to be roasted and then boiled with vegetables every morning to make the demi-glace. The kitchen was blazing hot, and I usually had a cognac hangover. But that's how I got started."
Now in the Bahamas that long-ago apprenticeship paid a delicious dividend as the master turned the supposedly inedible bonefish into a treat for his visitor and his wife, Diane, whom he married in May 1989, after Patti's death in 1987.
In the comfortable aftermath of dinner at Marsh Harbor, it was, of course, to fishing that the conversation returned. In particular, to the sometimes absurd "purism" to which fly-fishing has been exposed over the last few years.
"Charlie Ritz had it right," McClane said. "Just get that fly on the trout fast, the minute he sticks his head up. Charlie didn't know one fly from another, but he caught a hell of a lot of fish. He got fascinated by the Light Cahill [a mayfly imitation, which rides high on the water with upright wings]. Whenever I went to France, I'd bring him dozens of Light Cahills. He just wanted a fly he could see."
The evening inevitably progressed to the name-your-favorite-gamefish stage. "Atlantic salmon, sea-run brown trout, bonefish," McClane said, after giving it some thought. Bonefish is his current obsession, and he hopes to build a house on Little Exuma Island, settle down and spend a lot of time with them.
"Want to trade?" he said. "A week for me on your water in Wales gets you a week in Exuma."
Readers of McClane's New Standard Fishing Encyclopedia should anticipate a revised and enlarged entry regarding sea-run brown trout in future editions.