That is regrettable because nothing could be further from the truth, and if I confused you in a similar fashion, I’m sorry.
What I wrote was: “The face of fly fishing in these parts changed drastically and for the better with the arrival of Bill Stroud. I know and fear that it will change again with his departure.”
Frankly, after re-reading that passage repeatedly, and considering that my blog post was devoted and dedicated to Bill and his larger than life impact on fly fishing as I know it around here, I’m going to stick with that opinion. Simply put, it was intended as a tribute to Bill Stroud, the shadow of his influence on fly fishing in general and the club in particular – for all of which he is irreplaceable – and nothing else. If you read something more into it, I suppose you can say it was my error to leave you room to do so.
With no disrespect intended toward Bill, it is my opinion that Stroud Tackle can and will become a better resource for the fly fishing community than it has been for the last three years under the limited schedule that was tailored to fit Bill’s health and energy level since losing Eileen as his partner in life and in business.
Rick Vorst is a great friend of long standing who met the Strouds when he was a teen with an itch for saltwater fishing that they scratched. In time, he became a major fixture in their lives and they in his. Rick tagged along with Bill and Eileen to Lake Morena where he became a proficient fly fisherman. Over the years, he became their “go to guy” for any issue or problem they could not solve themselves. In their final years he was their caregiver and then some. As Bill often said to me, any parent would be proud to have a son or daughter as caring and devoted as Rick was to them, and they loved him like a son.
Bill’s passing has been hard on many, but none harder than it has been for Rick or may continue to be as he sorts and tends to what has been left behind. Since helping Bill to reopen the shop, Rick became its manager and learned the job on the run with Bill gradually turning over all responsibilities. Along the way, Craig Smith proved to be an invaluable resource as his schedule would allow and was sincerely and greatly appreciated by both Bill and Rick . An array of Bill’s “backroom buddies” helped as they could, even if it was to keep Bill company when Rick was not available.
The torch of running Stroud Tackle has been passed to Rick and I am certain he is going to run long and hard with it.
In conversations we have had over many years, he knows that there are many things that need to be done. The shop needs a new look inside and out, and that includes sorting through the inventory, modernizing the marketing and merchandising and establishing a new schedule that will better meet the needs of customers.
Fortunately, Rick has the skill and energy for all of that along with the support of a large segment of the fly fishing community.
The future of Stroud Tackle is in good hands, even if they are no longer Bill’s hands.