Bruce Farris, the legendary Fresno Bee sportswriter and father of this very report, passed away last week at age 88. To many, he was the heart and soul of The Bee Sports section for many years — leaving a lasting legacy that has deeply affected several generations of Valley sportsmen and athletes.
For decades, especially in the ’70s, I think we all came to rely on his signature style of knowledgeable reporting and writing as the benchmark for what a fair and balanced sports story and article should be. It’s a vivid memory, during the years I was growing up, waiting for the then-Thursday edition of The Bee’s Fishing Report to be delivered. I would comb over every word — more than once — with meticulous detail to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Every time I write I have to thank him, because during that time he was inadvertently showing me how to capture the facts and spirit of a topic.
His reports and stories were accepted as truthful, complete and reliable, a difficult feat especially when dealing with your peers! His columns covered the breadth of local and regional sporting legends. I hoped that someday I would be successful enough to be mentioned alongside the many heroes he held up for us to know. As many of us remember, just to be mentioned in Bruce’s columns was huge!
An extensive personal knowledge of almost all local sports, his intense sense of fairness and honesty, and his incredible commitment to attending many of the sporting events he covered added up to something special for readers. I know he went to many of the Fresno State track meets I was in, here and away, to make sure he was getting the real story. It always meant a lot to me to know he was at the event, and many other athletes have said the same.
I have to say it’s a little surreal to be doing a small part of what Bruce did, and that the little voice in my head, the one telling me this is the way Bruce would do it, is still the compass that guides my decisions! The Bee’s Fishing Report is a responsibility that I feel Bruce passed on to me, both to keep the love flowing and to promote our way of life as sportsmen as a noble thing! He truly endeavored to bring out the very best in all of us, and I never heard a negative word from his lips — only encouragement and hope!
Bruce came from a generation that met challenges with dignity and courage, while quietly expecting others to do the same. Doing more than was expected was the standard, and what you could give was way more important that what you could take. His character never changed, in the public eye or in private, and many men I know hold him in high esteem for being so humbly transparent.
He has been a good friend, a writer, and a fishing and hunting buddy to many of us. His character always shone through in all he wrote. And I’ll never forget the ambling tall man who would shower me with his gentle smile, warm handshake and graceful words — ones that never failed to lift me.
Bruce had many notable accomplishments, but I truly believe that who he was inside — a man humbly serving others ahead of himself — is his real legacy. We should aspire to do the same. Never give up!
New Melones bass biting, John Lietchy said. Wishon and Courtright trout attracting anglers, Chuck Crane reported. Delta stripers and bass action hot, Randy Pringle said. San Francisco Bay stripers hitting, Captain Jim Smith reported. Eastman kicking out bigger bass, Merritt Gilbert said.
A great late-season storm came through Friday. Fish Camp received 8 inches of snow and there are reports of up to 2 feet in dome areas of the high country. This should hold off the low water for a little longer, with more precipitation possible later this week. Yellow Sally Stoneflies continue to be the main hatch on most of the mid-elevation rivers. Some Caddis activity is beginning on the Merced River In El Portal.
Call: Sierra Fly Fisher Guide Service.(559)-683-7664; Yosemite Rivers Fly Shop. (559)-641-7788