I first met Jon Ain at the Fly Fishing Retailer show in Denver when he approached me about Patagonia sponsoring his March Merkin Permit Tournament. Despite not having the budget there was something about the man and his passion for permit that persuaded me that we should be involved. So that first year we scraped together some shirts and Patagonia's involvement with the tournament, and my friendship with Jon, grew over the years.
Every year Jon would invite me to his place in the Keys and every year either work or family obligations prevented me from making the trip. It wasn't until last year's Fly Fishing Retailer show in New Orleans that we had a chance to chase some redfish together. After a great day on the Bayou he insisted I make the trip to his place in the Keys for some permit fishing.
I'll never have the chance to make that trip, Jon passed away yesterday morning after a courageous battle with cancer. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and many friends. Jon was a true gentlemen, a great angler, and his legacy will live on in those of us he inspired to protect the fish he loved.