Bill Gallasch, who tied flies for Joe Brooks, Lefty Kreh, Bing Crosby and other notable anglers, died on June 26 in Richmond, Virginia at the age of 98. His fly-tying career started as a hobby and grew into “Bill Gallasch Flies.” Joe Brooks considered Gallasch the finest saltwater fly tier of his era, and Gallash has been credited with authoring the famed Brooks Blonde streamer pattern, a fly that Brooks took all over the world to catch many species of fish. “If I had only one pattern for all big fish in both fresh and salt water, I’d choose the Blonde,” Brooks was quoted as saying. (Joe Cornwall offers a detailed look at the Blonde and the patterns it inspired here.) Lefty Kreh once noted that Gallash’s Skipping Bug had caught more fish in saltwater than any other popper.
Gallasch was born in northern Germany, where he lost his father during World War I, and at age nine he emigrated to the United States with his mother and brother. Bill was a lifetime member of the Virginia Anglers Club.