Dale’s Top 6 Influences 3 of 6
Well I fell off on posting as the summer season kicked in. But now we are back on track and I am exited to share with you about my next mentor.
Ben Bergen is a guide whose life could be told by a Nashville Song or Western Ballad. I first met Ben on the cold streets of Bryson City in the first fall season we were open, 2014. I knew Ben had been a guide but I wanted to know if he was interested in working with us as trips were growing and I was not interested in closing the shop in order to take a trip. So, Ben got started with us that winter in which he was navigating some life circumstances that created an enormous amount of transition.
To help work through this transition, Ben turned to fishing. Ben, myself and Bobby would meet up and try to push the limits on our fisheries. For example, floating the Tuck at night (don’t do it - get your sleep) or wading the Lower Nantahala at night with full generation (Don’t do it - you get one life!). Needless to say, and many of our guests can tell you, Ben loves fishing streamers. Ben introduced me to intermediate and full sinking lines with articulated streamers. This was all about the same time as Kelly Gallup was hitting full stride with his books and videos on tying big articulated streamers.
Ben also had great influence in teaching me how to handle the oars on a drift boat. Ben had been a Nantahala/Ocoee Raft Guide in a previous life and had great anecdotes as to how to navigate the rivers. If we were floating a new stretch of water and I would ask which line to take, he would keep casting and without looking just say “follow the water, its easy man, you got this!”. On the drives to and from those waters we would talk hydrolics and eddy behaviors and what gets rowers in trouble.
The last two summers Ben spent time learning a new bass fishery that had been long forgotten. Several times I met up with him and Jumped in the boat or gritted my teeth through class five wading to get to a perfect area of bass habitat. Many of our guests last summer did indeed get to experience the fruits of his research and time to figure out the puzzle of this fishery.
Unfortunately back on the night of July 4th Ben was in a terrible car accident. When I saw Ben’s car I could not believe that he was still alive. So, we find ourselves with Ben going through yet another transition of life. Only this time Ben must rely on his family, and God to help navigate. Fishing can not be the crutch this time. Everyday Ben continues to make progress cognitively and physically and is currently under the care of some of the Best Doctors in the world. It remains to be seen if Ben will ever be able to fish again, with guiding certainly out fo the question for the foreseeable future. The Tuck Fly Shop family loves Ben and are grateful for his influence and leadership on the water. Please keep help Ben by praying for his recovery and for his family.
**You can catch and episode of the Tuck Cast with a Splash of Bourbon with Ben as our guest where we discuss his fishing origins as well as his favorite species, Bass**