In Loving Memory of Celine Bayla.
In July I received a phone call that our dear friend Celine Bayla and her significant other, Jon Hart, passed away. As a critical care nurse of 15 years, I’m usually a pretty tough girl. This loss hit me pretty hard. I’ve know Celine for the past couple of years. Every time we connected, I would leave laughing and smiling. She was fun, full of life and such a giving and incredible person. Celine selflessly volunteered her time to compile the United Women on the Fly “Monthly Featured Fly Girl” blog posts. She was one of the many women in fly fishing who is helping to write a new history! Analiza Del Rosairo has been so kind to write a tribute to our dear fly sister Celine. I’ve also included some additional quotes from Celine’s dear friends. Celine was a amazing human!!! September is a month of remembrance and Celine’s legacy and memory will never be lost! – Heather Hodson
Legends remain victorious in spite of history. That’s Celine! She’s a legend. She might have left us too soon, but the impact she left us will be remembered forever.
Celine is your typical millennial from Los Angeles who quit her job as a graphic designer at American Apparel to learn more about fly fishing. She traded her hipster huaraches for wading boots when she moved to Kernville.
When Celine fell in love with fly fishing, she made it known. She was not afraid of reaching out to anyone who she can learn from and who she can fish with. She was eager and she learned fast. A natural fisherwoman, it was amazing to watch her in action. She was special.
Celine inspired so many women, when she started the Southern Sierra Fly Fisher’s Women’s Fly Fishing Clinic, 3 years ago. Her passion for fly fishing was felt by everyone she touched. She was dedicated to introducing people of all backgrounds, young and old, to the joy of fly fishing. She was so generous of her time. She didn’t just put events together, she connected people and made them fall in love with the sports.
When she wasn’t making a ruckus on the river or working out of her home office, Celine worked on local conservation projects with Keepers of the Kern and the US Forest Service. She was also part of Kern River Conservancy’s Wild Trout Conservation Outreach Team.
To keep her memory alive, the SSFF Fly Gals Weekend will now be called Celine Flys Gal Weekend. If you want to learn to fly fish, this will be a magical weekend and we highly recommend it. The United Women on the Fly is committed to supporting her event and we are in the process of putting a foundation in her honor to help women get started with fly fishing.
Celine was a uniter! She made our fly fishing community bigger, better, and more united! Thank you, Celine! You will be missed!
“Friends, family and fellow fly fishers all gathered this weekend to celebrate the lives of Celine and Jon. From the LA River and carping with the best of em to picking up a few wily natives on their home-waters of the Kern, it was a weekend filled with memories. A weekend built on the legacy of two of the most dedicated fly fishers, conservationists and all around great human beings – with a mission to inspire more people to take the dive into the sport and diversify the landscape for the better. Miss you two, but there’s a crew here on earth ready to continue carrying the torch.” Justin Bubenik
From Justin Bubenik – The impact Celine and Jon each had on those who knew them, and the California fly fishing community at large, will be lasting, but the void they leave is going to be impossible to fill. They were both dedicated to introducing people of all backgrounds to the joys of fly fishing, and their passion for protecting our state’s native trout and wild places was inspiring.
They’re likely the only couple that would ever let you clean (and cook) carp, quail, crawfish, crappie and cottontail on their back porch, without flinching, and then eat each willingly. Their home was a refuge from city life and a basecamp to adventure, but it was Celine and Jon that made any trip worthwhile. Even when work had me down, they were there to drag me outdoors and distract me for a few hours.
Every time Beyoncé blares through the speakers, every time I see another badass fly fisherwoman tearing it up on the water, and each time I have to play dirty to get on those cloopers, I’ll think of Celine.
Every time I pick up a tenkara rod (and undoubtedly get it stuck in a tree), every time I wet-wade when it’s too cold (just to prove a point), and each time I pluck a trout out of a hole Sergio just worked, I’ll think of Jon.
I don’t know how I could fish the Kern, creeks or Isabella without thinking of them and wishing I had them there to share in the experience (and the inside tips). They were the friends I pictured by my side, on the water, until we couldn’t walk anymore.
My heart is aching and that won’t quit anytime soon, but I’m thankful for the times we had together and blessed to call them friends.
From Maggie Aulet-Leon – Celine and I were teenagers when we first met. Within minutes of meeting her, she convinced me that she mothered a 6-year-old son. While I stared blankly trying to come up with the correct response, she waited patiently with a huge smile on her face. That smile grew to a laugh, and my awkward tension immediately disolved into laughter as well. In the years of friendship that followed, Celine never missed a beat. Any flickering moment of taking life or ourselves too seriously was quickly erased with laughter from Celine’s commentary. In fact, it is hard to recall moments with Celine that lacked laughter. It is difficult to think of memories we shared without smiling. I’d be willing to bet that is true for everyone here. So much humor and positivity stems from Celine. Her spirit is so present and engaging, and it inspires me always. A few summers ago, my husband and I visited Celine and Jon in Kernville. They took us to some hiking spots and to their favorite brewery in town. They also had us join them for their regular weekend cleanup with keepers of the kern….