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Emerging Anglers Dinner and the Joan Wulff Special

Judy Van Put
Posted 9/20/22

On Saturday September 18, 2022 the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum held its 5th annual Emerging Anglers Dinner at the Beaverkill Valley Inn. With more than 100 attendees filling the tent, …

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Emerging Anglers Dinner and the Joan Wulff Special


On Saturday September 18, 2022 the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum held its 5th annual Emerging Anglers Dinner at the Beaverkill Valley Inn. With more than 100 attendees filling the tent, the dinner honored Hoagy Bix Carmichael, featured a special presentation by the Woman Fly Fishers Club and guest speakers Brandon Dale & Brant McDuff.

CFFCM Board President Anthony Magardino and Ali Abate, new Executive Director, addressed those in attendance, followed by Tom Woodbury, who gave a wonderful testimony to Hoagy Carmichael, from his childhood in Hollywood to moving East to New York and fishing the Catskills.

The eldest son of America’s beloved composer of songs such as Star Dust, Heart and Soul and Georgia On My Mind; Hoagy is a film, television and theatrical producer, author, and was co-founder of the American Tap Dance Foundation along with Gregory Hines. In 1968 Hoagy met Edmund Everett Garrison and was impressed by the exquisite bamboo fly rods Garrison constructed. During the 1970s, bamboo fly-rods had all but fallen out of favor with American fly-fishers; however, Hoagy decided to document, photograph and painstakingly recreate the steps Garrison took to build his rods, authoring A Master’s Guide to Building A Bamboo Fly Rod, which rejuvenated the craft of bamboo rod-making. He has constructed more than 100 bamboo fly-rods using the methods he learned from Garrison; the Garrison/Carmichael workshop is now on permanent display at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum. 

NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther presented Hoagy with a framed Citation, and Hoagy spoke of the great fondness he has for the Catskills and the wonderful fishing he’s experienced here.

Janet Nelson, of the Woman FlyFishers Club, spoke of the WFFC’s 90th Anniversary, for which they called upon Ed Van Put to create a Catskill-style fly to honor WFFC member Joan Wulff and commemorate the occasion. 30 years before, the WFFC commissioned Ed to create a fly in honor of Mable Ingalls for the Club’s 60th Anniversary, which the club named the Able Mabel. For this 90th Anniversary, Ed conceived a fly named the “Joan Wulff Special.” A beautiful shadow box of the fly, the fly pattern, a photo and write up of Ed and Joan, and insignia of the WFFC was created and presented to the CFFC&M by Peter Leitner, who also gifted each of his project’s team (Joan, Ed and Judy, Ross Francis of the WFFC, and Catskill John Bonasera, who tied a Joan Wulff Special for each member of the WFFC,) a replica of the shadow box.

Known as the First Lady of Fly-Fishing, Joan Salvato Wulff is one of the world’s outstanding fly casters who has been fly-fishing since childhood. Raised in northern New Jersey, Joan learned to cast from her father, joining her younger brothers at the local casting club at the age of 10. She went on to win the Junior All-around title for New Jersey that next year, regional titles, and six National titles in one year (1951) including the “Fisherman’s Distance Fly” title against all-male competition. Joan was the National Champion in at least one casting division for 17 years until retiring in 1960. She traveled the world and has fished for both freshwater and saltwater species, from trout to salmon to tarpon. She came to the Catskills with her husband, Lee Wulff, in 1977 to establish the Joan and Lee Wulff School of Fly-Fishing, located in Lew Beach, still in operation today.

Ed Van Put and Joan have had a long-standing friendship, as Ed also grew up in northern New Jersey and frequented the sports store owned by Joan’s father, Jimmy Salvato. In 1966 Ed moved to Livingston Manor, where he tied flies for Harry and Elsie Darbee, and secured employment with the NYS Conservation Department. He spent a 40-year career working in Fisheries and Habitat protection and acquired many miles of fishing rights for the public, along the famous trout streams of the Catskills. 

After the dinner buffet, guests enjoyed the excellent speaker Brandon Dale, life-long outdoorsman, fly-fisher, hunter and conservationist, who moved to New York City from Lousiana. Brandon is committed to conserving and passing along the traditions of the land, especially for underrepresented hunters and anglers of color. Brandon was followed by Brant MacDuff, a taxidermist and conservation educator, who entertained guests with a humorous talk and power point presentation. 


Judy Van Put is a long-time member of the NYS Outdoor Writers Association, and is the recipient of the New York State Council of Trout Unlimited’s Professional Communications Award.


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