Will the real Bob White please stand up!

We all strive for success in various ways. For writers, the ultimate feather in the cap is being published in a well-respected magazine or newspaper, or perhaps authoring one’s own book(s). John Gierach, for example, has attained that level of success many times over, and for good reason: he writes real good. In addition to his many books, for many years Gierach wrote a column for Fly Rod & Reel magazine. Artists and illustrators often follow a similar path in pursuit of success, and one notable artist in the world of fly fishing and outdoor sports is Bob White, whose work accompanied Gierach’s words for many years in Fly Rod & Reel. John and Bob were quite a team until Fly Rod & Reel went the way of the dinosaurs in early 2017. Former FR&R editor Greg Thomas wrote of the end in this blog article, Fly Rod & Reel: End of a Magazine Era. 

But despite the end of one era, all is not lost for fans of Gierach and White, whose collaboration continues with Trout Unlimited’s TROUT magazine. In July 2017 it was announced that the dynamic duo would continue their joint efforts to provide insight and entertainment for readers of the fly fishing persuasion. I, for one, was rather pleased to learn of this, but when the Fall 2017 issue of TROUT arrived in the mail, I knew something was amiss before I’d seen the magazine. I was out of town when it arrived, but I received a text message from my good buddy Derek Young, the famous fish painter. Derek wrote, “Is Bob White your new pen name?”  Accompanying that mysterious inquiry was the following photo from page 10:


What the—?

Those of astute observationary ways may note that it appears to be a somewhat outdated photo of Gierach—rarely seen without his iconic hat—but what’s particularly interesting troubling is the photo of Bob White. Now, I’ve never met Bob in person, but we are friends on Facebook, and we’ve shared many a one-on-one correspondence. I know from photos that Bob is a much more ruggedly handsome individual than the photo above suggests. The photo below reveals the Bob White whose work we’ve all come to enjoy over the years.

The reel Bob White and John Gierach (photo by Mike Dvorak)

The reel Bob White (L) and John Gierach (photo by Mike Dvorak)


So, what gives?  If this were an April 1st edition of the magazine, I’d understand. But here we are, 6 months away from April Fool’s Day.

I suppose the editor-in-chief of TROUT, Kirk Werner Deeter, will have some future explanation. Quite possibly a retraction statement will be published in the Spring issue. In the meantime, condolences to Bob White: I wouldn’t wish this particular case of mistaken identity on anyone 😉

As Bob’s team of attorneys and public relations experts work feverishly to clean up this mess, please take time to visit his website and check out his work: The Classic Sporting Art of Bob White


  1. Derek Young

    Never miss an opportunity to turn an identity crisis into book sales!

    • Kirk Werner

      I should probably thank TU for the free press, except that—as I mentioned to you earlier—nobody knows me 😉

  2. Mike Sepelak (often mistaken for Brad Pitt when wearing his waders)

    Way, way, way too funny.

    • Kirk Werner

      It’s a hoot.

      Unless you’re Bob White.

      • Mike Sepelak

        Nobody’s Bob White. He’s too good to be true.

        • Jeff Holberg

          No, Bob White is real…and human! I personally saw Bob hang a fly 20’ up on a tree branch on his backcast.

          • Mike Sepelak

            Pffffffth… Fake news.

          • Kirk Werner

            Jeff, without a photo, it didn’t happen.

  3. Moose the Wonder Lab

    Whoa, whoa, whoa!

    Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute here. What about me? I’m the short guy in the middle, you know… with my tongue hanging out?

    I had to spend two whole days with these guys. You think dog-farts are gross? They’re nothin’ like wader farts from these old gassers!

    Jeeze, can a dog get a little respect?

    ~ Moose the Wonder Lab

    • Kirk Werner

      With your heightened sense of smell, Moose, I was prepared to feel sorry for you. But then I remembered that dogs like to roll in shit. So, try another angle, buddy.

  4. Spike Miller

    I saw Bob White one time walk on the waters of the Agoulapak. Then realized he was just standing on a rock. I was heartbroken. I guess, I figured that if any human could do it, it would have been Bob.

    • Kirk Werner

      So you’re saying Bob is mortal? If so, this is a crushing revelation.

  5. John Kelly

    Enjoy the notoriety while it lasts….Bob!

    • Kirk Werner

      I like to think that this little journalistic faux pas was actually a covert ploy to draw attention to Bob. Why they chose my photo (and where they got it) are what I do not understand. They should have used Brad Pitt’s mug instead.

  6. Howard Levett

    Huh? I had to go out to the trash to retrieve my copy of Trout in order to know for sure whether this was just a bad joke on your part. My educated guess is that Mr. White’s parents wouldn’t think it was funny at all. They raised a nice looking son.

    • Kirk Werner

      Ahem. It should have been in the recycle bin, not the trash. And I agree with your assessment.

  7. Mark

    Sir you have a damn right to depict yourself on the knees of mr. Hemingway
    By the way I suggest to read “Big Two – Hearted River”
    I love your pen and the freedom of choice
    your faithful mark

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