GCFF – January 2020
Hi everyone and happy 2020!
I’m Larry Strauss and I’m proud to be President of Gold Country Fly Fishers. In the relatively short time I have been a member, you may recall I joined GCFF in September 2017, I have made numerous new friends with whom to share my passion for fly fishing. I waited until after December 21st, the Winter Solstice, to draft this letter because I often gain a boost in energy following the longest night of the year. More daylight each day provides more minutes to be outdoors; more time to be on the water.
A brief bio about me: I am a San Francisco native; grew up on the Peninsula (Carlmont HS in Belmont); college at Claremont McKenna College; graduate school at UC Berkeley; career as a Chief Financial Officer for venture capital backed technology companies, primarily the biotech and medical device industries; lived near Vail, Colorado for 5 years; then Seattle for 5 years; then back to California in 2016; succumbing to the lure of grandchildren. My wife, Cathy, and I, along with my mother, Helga, settled in Lake Wildwood on Golden Trout Way; quite a fabulous street name for a fisher!
So, how did I get to be president? Shortly after joining, Tom Grant asked me to help with the fishout committee. Then, in early 2018, Mark Rockwell departed for Santa Barbara. Clay asked if I would help as club Secretary. By the end of 2018, Jimmie asked if I would be club vice president during his term as president which, as occurs in most cases, leads to the presidency the following year. I am having a blast!
Like many of you, I joined GCFF to answer the question, “where does one fish around here?” Where I would fish was not a priority during our search for a home. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find fabulous day trip fishing opportunities abound for members of our club, and members of GCFF have shown me the way. GCFF currently has about 185 members. For our club to continue to attract fishers to be members and to show them where to fish, I believe we need more members to participate in club operations. Fortunately, we have a stellar group of members who have agreed to board positions and to chair committees. Most members are not ready to be committee chairs but participating simply means helping one or more of our committee chairs. Spreading the workload out among more members will be most appreciated by me, the board, and our committee chairs. You will find the names and contact information in this newsletter. Contact a committee chair of your choice. Discuss what is involved and how you can help. I trust you will find the experience as personally rewarding as I have.
I want to acknowledge your 2020 club board (You can find their names and all the committee chairs elsewhere in this newsletter and on the club’s website, www.goldcountryff.org.) and thank them for their service. Five of the nine board seats are filled with relatively new members, including me. So, there will be many new ideas for
our club coming out of board discussions. However, I don’t foresee large scale changes to what is a popular and enviable fly fishing club. I invited the 2020 board, the 2019 board and several past presidents to a 2020 planning session on November 22nd. The consensus was that GCFF does a lot and does it well. I hope to foster incremental improvements to club offerings and activities through working with our committee chairs.
One possible area for substantial improvement is how the club interacts with and encourages youth who may be interested in fly fishing. But, like all other committees, we need people to focus on this effort. It won’t happen without new ideas and time commitments from the membership. Should you have an interest in youth fly fishing, please drop me a note. The club periodically announces open positions for volunteers, but please don’t wait to see a request for a specific job. Reach out to the leadership. Discuss what’s happening. Get involved.
I hope to see improved two-way communication between club leadership and club members. I know the 2020 board would like to hear your ideas and comments on what the club is doing well, what needs improvement or should be dropped, and what is not happening that should. I promise your thoughts will be discussed. More and more, the club’s communications will move to an electronic media. Afterall, it is 2020. We have a good newsletter but the hours it takes to prepare have become quite many. An email campaign process for announcements, calls to action, and general news has been implemented. These campaigns are also known as ‘shout-outs’. We will continue this communication channel. The same information that is typically in the newsletters and email campaigns is also on our website, www.goldcountyff.org. Please access our website and explore the information there. Again, should you have questions about where to find certain information, please ask. Peter Burnes is our webmaster. He strives to make improvements to enable access to club information via the website. In 2019, we briefly started up a place for club members to discuss all aspects of fly fishing. These online conversations are called forums. Unfortunately, since our website does not require a login for access, we were hacked and had to take down the forum. The board will consider the pros and cons of requiring a login to better secure our club information and discussions.
Our club is renowned for our fly fishing education opportunities. Although I had been fly fishing since the mid-1980s, in the first year I joined, I immersed myself in the classes and clinics offered throughout the year by our fly fishing education committee, chaired by Clay Hash. Classes and clinics of this caliber typically cost hundreds of dollars. In 2020, we hope to have a full lineup of classes and clinics. Should you wish a class or clinic on a certain aspect of fly fishing, please let Clay know. In addition, we will try for each of our fishouts to have club mentors available to assist anyone interested in honing their fly fishing skills at that particular venue. Regardless of your fly fishing experience, your age, or gender, please do ask for assistance. The club has numerous members who enjoy teaching others.
Finally, as we start 2020, our annual club membership dues are due. The price of membership is $40 for individuals and $60 for a family. Please bring cash, a bank card, or check to the January 7th general meeting to pay your 2020 membership dues.
Best regards and remember, the tug is the drug!
GCFF 2020 President