Remembering "Don" Coleman
The combined memorial Don Coleman outing

Including the Suncoast Fly Fishers, Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club and the Florida Fishers.

sunshine skyway
 On 22 July, 2006 an outing involving the fly fishing clubs Don was most involved with was held at the Blackthorn Memorial, located at the I-275 rest stop, just north of the Sunshine skyway bridge.

To find fish Go where they are going to be – C.W. ”Don” Coleman

a bait fisherman on the sunshine skyway flats
It was one of Don’s favorite locations. The area is known locally for its flats.  Don would have gladly share his space with the bait fisherman.

Keep things simple when fishing in saltwater – C.W. “Don” Coleman

The object was to fish a little, eat a lot and remember Don by telling some lies.  It’s not a bad way to be remembered.  All in all a good turnout for a remarkable man.

TROPHY FISHING – boils down to ego and self-gratification.  Pleas don’t tell me you go after trophy fish because you are hungry.  Their is a lot of satisfaction in mastering your home waters and catching local fish, whether they are bluegills or spotted sea trout.  There is more to life and fly fishing than tarpon and bonefish and permit, or fancy lodges, good cigars and fine wines in foreign countries.  You can’t substitute money and guides for time on the water if you want to be an expert fly fisher. – C.W. “Don” Coleman

This bunch is always hungry,  If it looks like food it IS food!  I’ve got to admit, I slept in.  But I did make it in time for the food.  With this bunch you better be there early or you’ll be eating sand!

A fly doesn't have to look like food, it only has to act like food. -- C.W. “Don” Coleman

After the guys had eaten all they could, our club president stood up to say a few words.  He reminded us why were were holding an outing at this location, and gave a brief review of  Don's hunting and fishing life.

Release your fish.  don't weigh or measure your fish.  Your memory is a better judge. -- C.W. "Don" Coleman

It Seemed everyone had a story about Don.  One day, at an outing, he walked up to me and said, "I just learned a new way to roll cast.  It's a good way to get the fly off the water, if you have a lot of slack in your line and you can't take time to strip it in."  then he showed me how.   I've used it several times.

 He was remembered as a teacher and a friend.  Many of the guys in this picture didn't get to fish with Don, but all of them knew him.

Ideally, saltwater reels should have the complexity of a hammer and be large enough to hold a floating fly line and 150 yards of 30 pound Dacron backing.  Reels do not need to be expensive, but they should have a palming rim. -- C.W. "Don" Coleman

Don had a since of humor and a lot of the stories revolved around the funny things that happened.
FEEDING FISH -- fish don't wake up in the morning and say, "I guess I won't eat today."  They are always looking for food.  they are not going to pass up one species of baitfish thinking,"I guess I will only eat Thread Fin Herring today."  You have to find where they are feeding -- C. W. "Don" Coleman

After a moment of silence, we Acknowledged our gratitude for having known Don.  After that the individual stories started.

LEARNING -- Knowledge is meant to be shared and he who is unwilling to learn anything new is already half-dead.  Enjoy the mysteries you encounter and celebrate each new discover along your fly tying journey.  the world is a magical place if you are willing to explore new methods and techniques.  Negativity is a destructive idea.  -- C. W. "Don" Coleman

running before the storm

Don Coleman originally came from New York State.  He fished most of the storied rivers around the Catskills, most notably the West Branch of the Delaware.  For most of his life he was a fresh water fisherman but several years ago he came to the Suncoast area as a snowbird.  He almost immediately came in contact with local legend Carl Hanson and the two became close friends.  Their personalities were as different as day and night, Carl the vocal one, always sharing his opinion and Don the quiet one, sharing his knowledge.

 Don also spent a lot of time with Paul Sequira, who became his fishing partner.  The two went well together.

Each fall Don returned to be a regular at the meetings of the Suncoast Fly Fishers, as well as the Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club.  He both taught and sought after knowledge.

Of Carl's passing, Don said, "He's fishing from the other bank now."   So is Don.
He’ll be missed.

You can't learn to "read the water" from books, only by spending time on the water. ... Fly fishing, even with expensive tackle is less expensive than golf and it keeps you off the streets... and you are always in good company.  Your wife should be pleased. Do your own thing.  Don't let others do it for you.   Pay more attention to what your heard tells you to do than your mind -- Go Flyfishing. C.W. "Don" Coleman