Exploring cities that you’ve been to before — perhaps for long weekends or, like me, when you were at graduate school across the Bay –is a great experience. You already have the lay of the land and a sense of the place. So living in SF for 2 months is an opportunity to dig a bit deeper. And, of course, friends help.
Robert Sabbatini is a landscape architect in SF (recently made a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects) so no slouch. One of his passions is fly-fishing. So he belongs to the GGACC — the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club (GGACC) http://www.ggacc.org/ .
The Club hosts an annual “Crab Feed” at their 1938 Anglers’ Lodge in the depths of Golden Gate Park. They have two carefully designed “casting ponds” (for practicing).
From their web site:
The purpose of The Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club (GGACC) is to promote the sport of fly fishing and fly and plug casting. Angling and casting clubs have an illustrious history in nearly every improvement in fishing rods, reels and lines that are used by fishermen today. The GGACC was organized in June 1933 as an offshoot of the San Francisco Fly Casting Club. The San Francisco Fly Casting Club, the second oldest casting club in the U.S., was founded in 1894, when the first tournament was held as Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
The Angler’s Lodge interior is panelled in knotty pine — and the crab feed tables are set up communal style in long rows. So Robert came prepared with wine (made by his 96 year-old father in San Mateo with a Sabattini label on it), lemons, paper towels — he warned us to wear washable clothes because it could get messy.
What struck me was the sense of community at the dinner. We clearly were not all “anglers” but I’ll cite one example of an instant community forming.
The oganizers of the dinner auctioned off some fishing rods and other paraphernalia that had been donated by the widow of a member. Then a fellow stood up and told us about his volunteer work in teaching disabled people to fly-fish. He told us about Ray (disabled veteran) who lives in Colorado; Ray sent along some special reels to be auctioned off to fund his purchase of a long-dreamed about “special” fishing rod. So the reels were auctioned off for around $200.
But then a woman stood up and said — why don’t we pass the hat for Ray so he can get his rod for sure. And after the hat went around the room with probably ~90 people, the new community came up with over $500 to send along to Ray.
So thank you Robert for a unique Saturday night in Golden Gate Park.
Heinz (on the left) works at one of the best “angler” shops in SF Robert is on the right.