FLY FISHING CULTURE: Really????

Photo from Orvis News

In news that should mean absolutely nothing to you:  American Angler posted a news story in the Headwaters section of their January/ Febuary 2013 edition (edited by Philip Monohan).
It is called: A Venerable English Institution Comes to America.

On September 13, 2012, Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel was the site of the 1st Flyfisher’s Club of England dinner this side of the Atlantic Ocean.  This club dates back to 1884 and over the years it has been filled with many elitists, fat wallets and a few good men.  Gordon Wickstrom (above) read a letter from Queen Elizabeth II at the event.  In all fairness Gordon seems like the kind of guy you would want to adopt as your fly fishing grandfather and in a recent article he wrote this cool line, “We shall be new, or we shall be deadly old,” It was written in reference to the large and diverse crowd of people both old and young that helped restore “his creek.”
Gordon gives a lot of credit to the younger generation of fly fishers who have a greater vision for conservation and restoration. Read his article by clicking on the linked quote above.

What made me wince at the article wasn’t that it was a black tie event, it wasn’t the thought of so many elitists in one room.  No it was this little line to kick off the last paragraph of the post.  I quote, “In an age when the angling community seems to be going through a youth movement focused on exploration and bucking of tradition, it’s great that such discussions are taking place in public.”  Really?
Why take a shot at us?  Why not take a lesson from your man Gordon?  I don’t get it, and I don’t want to judge the intentions of that line, but I can’t read it without hearing the grumblings of someone frustrated with the trucker-hat-wearing chuck and ducker who is out-fishing him on a stream.

What I will say is we need more Gordon Wickstroms, minus the letter from the Queen, who appreciate that we bring a lot to the fly tying/fishing table.  We need guys like Gordon to influence groups like that.  We need fewer elitist attitudes.  We need more youth in the sport we love.  Few things are better for the fly fishing economy than a person who is just getting into fly fishing.  And few things are better for a person than learning how to fly fish.  We need to keep important traditions and make them relevant to today’s fly fisher and we need to drop the traditions that suck. Listen-we, the youthful movement, are rewriting the culture of fly fishing and the change so far has been good.  It’s good for us, it’s good for fly fishing and it’s good for our streams, which means it is even good for those who don’t appreciate us.

So now that I was hard on them, I’ll be hard on us.  Don’t be a hack.  Do it right and be respectful of everything that surrounds fly fishing.  I know that if you do you will find some of the nicest people in the world, both young and old, both male and female.  Some of them may even put on a tux from time to time.

Orvis news also has a pretty good article about it here. Orvis News did a better job than American Angler and that isn’t just because they posted our Rangeley Family Trippin’ video on their page one Friday.

Comments 1

  1. Hey Otter,

    The statement that you quote from the American Angler article wasn't meant as a shot at anyone. I apologize if you read it that way, for that certainly wasn't the intent. In fact, I thought I was making the same point you are here: that, while we press forward into exploring new worlds of fly fishing and sometimes bucking tradition, we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    BTW, I wrote both the AA article and the one on OrvisNews.com (of which I am the editor). 'Twas also I who picked your killer video from Maine for the F5 ( http://orv.is/WxMnah ). I am a huge fan of the region and have made annual pilgrimages to Upper and Middle Dams since the early 90s. Keep up the good work.

    Phil

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