One of fly-fishing’s great iconoclasts, he represented the Huck Finn in all of us. His innovative fly patterns, like tiny soft hackle patterns, his elegant “sparrows” and the rambunctious saltwater “Gurglers”, were often tied on a vice clamped to the steering wheel of his taxi while waiting for fares in and around Boston. That is how he made enough money to go on his next fly fishing adventure. Jack lived a fishing life with unbridled enthusiasm, from the trout rivers of Yellowstone Park and New Zealand, to his beloved Boston Harbor for striped bass. “I frankly don’t make much of a living, but I make a hell of a life,’’ he told the Globe Sunday Magazine. He was a “trout bum” in the best sense of the words, before we even knew what one was.
Among his many recognitions, he received the FFF’s “Arnold Gingrich Award”, TU’s Appreciation for the Protection and Enhancement of Cold Water Fisheries, the Outstanding Achievement Award for Fly Tying and The Izaak Walton Fly Fishing Club’s prestigious “Jack Sutton Award”. Jack Gartside relished living his dreams of being able to “light out” at a moment’s notice, astride “Gerald” his inflatable giraffe, just like Huck on his raft; something not lost on this former high school English teacher.