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Mel Krieger has died

On Oktober 7, 2008 Mel Krieger, one of the best known fly fishers in the US and guest at many fly fishing fairs in Europe passed away during the sleep at the age of 80. Mel was suffering from a brain lymphom but he was not suffering from pain until he died.

Mel Krieger was an amusing and at the same time charismatic personality and the most brilliant motivator among all the instructors I have met so far. He was known to be the showman among them. Mel was always ready to play a joke and has contributed a lot to the spreading of our passion all around the globe.

I was lucky enough to get to know Mel Krieger many years ago when he was still full of energy. He has coinitiated the FFF flycasting instructor certification programme and always had an eye on Europe if it was about developments in fly casting even at times most US fly casters were mainly interested in their own technique. I still remember well when Mel sat next to me in a meeting in Livingston, when suddenly he got up and shocked the US fly fishing élite with the saying: "We have to wake up! In Speycasting the Europeans are light-years ahead of us! We have to do something!" He pronounced it and this was already the start of the American Double Hand Programme. Mel has also developed various other instructor programmes and has spread them all around the US. This was not completely to the joy of the FFF, however, this was Mel, and one could just not be angry with this nice and funny guy. Teaching fly casting was his life, and he simply had great pleasure to travel and to talk about it.

Mel was always open minded for everything new and he was not afraid to proceed also sometimes in the pupil's role. This surprised me on the one hand, however, it honoured me at the same time when Mel asked me in 2000 to allow him to join me when I was teaching the Gebetsroither style(in USA misleadingly called Belgian Casting) at a conclave in the States. He wanted to learn from me and had great pleasure to see me teaching. Already in 1995 he asked me to help him with a group which he was about to teach the double haul, of course also with the idea to discover maybe something new as he admitted some years later. This openness made Mel such a special person. Despite the fact the top US fly casters never really took him serious as fly caster, Mel, with his appeal to the public and the marketing of his films and his person made them all stand in his shade. His book "The Essence of Fly Casting" and his video films belong to most popular of its kind in the US. With Mel Krieger the US fly fishing scene lost one of its most outstanding  personalities which will without doubt leave  a big gap.

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