He rolled up in a big silver suburban. Bob Skoronski retired (Green Bay
Packer) was driving. I fish pretty often with Bob Skoronski. This was
the fifth time I had been trout fishing with Coach Bob Knight
(retired). Coach Knight flashed me a big smile and we decided to gear
up right there in the parking lot of the gas station where we usually
meet at. As the Coach geared up I gave Coach something that I had been
saving for him.
It was a Curt Gowdy Parametric Fiberglass Rod.
The rod was made by Berkley and was about 37 years old and in mint
condition. It was a Curt Gowdy Signature Series. The Coach was honored
by the gift. He got a little choked up. He said: " I have another friend
that bought an original Ted Williams fly reel for me." "Ted and I were
good friends." "I am going to put that reel on this rod and display it
proudly in my den."
During our last outing in 2007 I heard
the Coach tell a story about his old friend Curt Gowdy. Coach and Curt
were good buddies and fished a lot together in the old days. When the
two would go on fishing outings Curt would always buy a newspaper.
During the long trips to the streams Coach would drive and Curt would go
to the sports section and read the entire sports section en route to
the stream. It was an up close and personal Cavalcade Of Sports from
Curt Gowdy to his good friend Coach Bob Knight. Coach said Curt's voice
was so unique and it was an honor to ride with Curt to the streams.
Coach said: "It was almost as good as the fishing."
we went to the streams. Coach Knight had told me from other outings that
he was a quantity guy not a quality guy. He liked lots of fish and was
not a "big trout guy". We decided to target some spring creeks in
Southwestern Wisconsin. I had quite a few of my friends tie up lots of
flies for the Coach to use. The flies varied from nymphs to big ugly
bunny leeches. Rich Femling , the owner of Rose-Creek Net Releases and
Fly Boxes, gave me a fly box full of Bass Flies when we fished last to
give to the Coach. Coach's eyes light up like a kid at Christmas as he
perused the fly box..
The Coach already had his favorite fly
tied on. It is a size 8 girdle bug. I had a hard time getting him to
change flies. He said it was tried and true and he had caught trout from
Russia to Bozeman on the fly. I did get him to switch flies a couple
times. Not long after the switch I would see him tying his "tried and
true" back on. Coach even crossed the stream to the top of his waders
and crawled up in a tree to retrieve his girdle bug. In the 5 outing
with Coach I have never seen him lose a fly.
Coach and Bob
Skoronski told stories of the old days when Skoronski use to drive all
over the western United States to bird hunt with the Coach. Lots of
times when I fish with Bob Skoronski he talks about his glory days with
the Packers. This also came up during this outing . Coach caught a
decent brown trout and I whipped out my camera and jokingly said, "
Smile" to the Coach. Coach immediately frowned. I took the photo anyway.
Knight looked at Skoronski and said: "Bob haven't you taught Len what
Lombardi instilled in to you players." I looked puzzled and the Coach
elaborated. Lombardi use to say;
"Act like you have been there before."
When his guys scored, they didn't do any outlandish dances or posing.
"I don't smile in trout glory shots." "I act like I have been there
before." Both the Bobs smiled and we kept fishing.
fails when the Bobs are together the Ice Bowl always comes up. Coach
likes to hear what Bart Starr said in the huddle to his linemen before
the "famous" quarterback sneak. Each time we have gone out it comes up.
It is 30 degrees below zero and the Packers are on the 1 yard line and
Starr turns to each of his linemen in the huddle. They had scouted Pugh
and when he got tired he stood higher in his four point stance. Jethro
Pugh was tired and they could go there. Pugh was a man mountain for
those days and dwarfed almost all offensive linemen that he played
against. The call in the huddle was fullback dive between right guard
and tackle. Starr lined up his troops and at the last second he decided
to do a quarterback sneak due to the frigid conditions and Starr thought
a hand off might be risky. Starr had a silent hand signal with his
center that meant quarterback sneak. It depended on what butt cheek
Starr goosed his center on which direction the sneak was going. The rest
We wander throughout the Driftless Area for the
entire day. The Coach loves the small streams and solitude fly fishing
brings. Many times I would go ahead of the Coach and leave him alone on
the stream. I figured he has a hectic life and is surrounded by many
people and trout fishing is a cleansing process. Time to listen to the
birds and watch the wind in the trees. Alone time...is very important.
At the end of the day Coach had landed 27 trout. a mixture of
brooks and browns. All trout were caught on the tried and true girdle
bug. A couple of glory shots were taken without a smile. I understood
what he meant by the end of the outing. Coach shook my hand firmly as he
left and flashed me a big smile. He said: "Thanks for the great day and
it really looks like You Have Been There Before."