Heroes. Angler of the Year, Shep Simmons Memorial Award

Shep Simmons Memorial Award Winners.
Outstanding Anglers of the Year

Capt. Dexter Simmons...EMail

Capt. Dexter Simmons with a Striper

...on the Watch Hill Reef in Shep Simmons' boat - photo by Shep Simmons, August, 1996


Jon Sigmund (2007), and Del Bruce (2008), and Tracy Baker (2009) named Outstanding Anglers in memory of Shep Simmons

Perhaps Roderick Haig-Brown captured the spirit of angling the saltwater flats best when he said: "I want fish from fishing, but I want a great deal more than that, and getting it is not always dependent upon catching fish." My cousin Shep Simmons and I understood that philosophy, and we enjoyed every minute of our time fishing together.

Shep Simmons was an icon in our home-town community of Watch Hill and Westerly, R.I. A dedicated husband and father first, Shep was a respected fisherman and lobsterman plying the waters off Southern R.I. and Southeastern Connecticut.

The Shep I knew was an outstanding angler on a tarpon quest, but first he was family. A cousin that I befriended in recent years, a man of integrity, with rich family values, Shep always shared a good laugh or story. I have seen these same qualities in his son Aaron, who is an outstanding person and angler in his own right. Aaron Simmons will someday visit the Keys on his own tarpon quest, it is his destiny and legacy.

The very qualities that embodied Shep are found in Jon, Del, and Tracy. Not only are they OUTSTANDING ANGLERs, but they are a really great people to fish with day in and day out.

The selection committee always has so many worthy anglers to considerfor this annual award. I always think of my late cousin Shep when coming down to the finalists. Who would he like to fish with? Would Shep approve of our choices? What characteristics do the anglers share with Shep?

Jon Sigmund of Norway, Del Bruce of Canada, and Tracy Baker of Miami are anglers who would have enjoyed fishing and sharing time on the boat with Shep.

Tracy is an outstanding person who has willingly volunteered his personal knowledge of fishing and his professional expertise as a prominent Plastic Surgeon with Capt. Dexter. I am grateful for his help and I really enjoy his enthusiasm when it comes to learning the Flats Fly Fishing game. I hope that we will continue to be friends and fishing buddies for years to come.

Del Bruce joins Greg Persbacker as the only anglers that are two time winners of the Outstanding Angler award. They truly deserved it! Here is Del with a Silver King recently caught.

Click on the photo to launch a video of Del casting to, jumping and landing an 80 pound Tarpon.

Capt. Dexter and Del on the Key West Tarpon Flats 2008

We have always had some great times with Del Bruce and his gang of anglers from Toronto. David Smith, Pat Smith and Lorrie Bennett would all agree that Del is worthy of this honor! Del and his crew understand the Golden Rule of Fly Fishing: "They want fish from fly fishing, but they want a great deal more than that, and getting it is not always dependent upon catching fish."*

They just like to be out there, taking it all in, keenly observing the marine wildlife in its natural habitat. Catching fish is a bonus.

*Adapted from Roderick Haig-Brown, 1946

I salute these two angler friends as I have the 1996 awardee (Craig Lampani), and the 1997 awardees (Alex Allen and Joe Wishcamper), and the 1998 awardees (John Dietz, Jonathan Dyer, Mark Collins, Lyall Stilp), and the 1999 awardees (Jack Copass and Nic Forti), and the 2000 awardees (Michael Dinner and Jim Perdiew), and the 2001 awardees (John and Barbara McGuire), and the 2002 awardees (Greg Persbacker and David Wipf), and the 2003 awardees (Don Wilkerson and Mark McVeigh), the 2004 awardee (George Hodgson), the 2005 awardee (Del Bruce - Two Time Winner!), the 2006 awardee (Greg Persbacker - Two Time Winner!) with the following pledge:

May you be lucky enough someday to reach Fly Fishing Heaven, and if you do, then cast a few with Sheppy Simmons

Tracy Baker will be honored with a commemorative placque and a complimentary "Guides Day of Angling" aboard "FlatsMaster" with yours truly. Together we will hunt the flats for fish in memory of Shep. And quite possibly we will be rewarded with fish, big or small, many or few, but whether the fishing is hot or not, we will know that Shep is with us in heart and spirit.

There were too-few days when Shep and I had the opportunity to fly fish together. Some on the Watch Hill reef for stripers (see below), and some on the Keys flats for Mr. Silver King. Shep jumped his first Tarpon on "FlatsMaster" in April of 1994. On that day he was astonished by the sheer power of Megalops Atlanticus. "It was awesome..." Shep would say. "I don't care if I catch anything, I just enjoy being out here casting the rod."

I will always remember our days on the water.

Shep Simmons

Shep Simmons on the Watch Hill Reef - photo by Capt. Dexter Simmons, August, 1996

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Here is a endorsement of the book "Sudden Sea" by R.A. Scotti.
This book is about the 1938 Hurricane that ripped through SE R.I. on Sept. 21, 1938. It is an excellent read! Here are some pictures of a marker that I found while working as a caddy at the Misquamicut Club during my teen years (1960's).

Crab Graphic

Web-site Created by Capt. Dexter Simmons formerly of Westerly, R.I.

Phone PHONE/FAX: 305-745-3304 + HOT LINE: 305-304-5880


All photos and text copyright Dexter D. Simmons, 2009. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute anything on this website in any manner or medium without written permission from its author, Dexter D. Simmons, P.O. Box 2006, Key West, FL 33045, 305-745-3304, captdexter@gmail.com