Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The internet vs. fly fishing

So, I was at a local fly shop today and wound up having an almost hour-long conversation with the owner. This guy has been around. He knows all the fly fishing legends, and has a bamboo collection that would make your jaw drop. He's from the old school, before people were instantly posting their massive catches on Instagram and Facebook. (guilty, I know..) Over the past few years, I've been stopping by there, spending money on materials, and shooting the shit, and I got to know him rather well.

So anyway, we got to talking about the current state of fly fishing. He knows I have a blog and whatnot and he said "No offense, but I think all this bullshit on the internet killed fly fishing." I think a lot of other bloggers, and people who frequent forums and comment on the Orvis Fly Fishing Film Friday posts would be butt-hurt, but honestly, I get it. He said he sees younger people coming in, bragging about this and that, and asking to test cast some rods. He watches them go outside and they can barely do a standard cast, yet their iPhone is full of Steelhead pictures from Pulaski. He also mentioned he'll see someone who is well versed in the sport comment on an ignorant post (as in... uninformed)  from some newbie on a message board, and get flamed to death for it.  I've kind of noticed the same thing.

I'm not someone who has been involved in the sport for two decades, and the only real reason I started this blog was to chronicle my fishing trips and look at my progress with fly tying. All of a sudden, people started to read it. That's cool and I appreciate the following, but sometimes I think all of us need to take a step back and remember that it's just about getting out of the house and maybe catching some fish.

It's not all about tying the hottest pattern with all the new synthetic czech materials and posting it online. It's not about catching a 25 inch brown and keeping it out of the water for 4 minutes to get that "perfect photo". It's not about the hero shot with the 20 lb steelhead you caught on the swing, and definitely not about 40 retweets on your amazing tweet about some fishing story.

It's about the zen you get from a cold beer, a hook in the vise, and some good music playing as you first pick up the bobbin after a long day. It's about the first signs of spring, and average sized wild browns rising to olives under a hanging tree that's just starting to bud. It's about sharing fishing stories over a few lukewarm beers in the parking lot after a day of slow fishing. It's about that perfect solitude in the dead of winter and catching half a dozen rising fish on dry midges yet no one else will venture outside because it's 20 degrees and snowing, and also about getting a bad farmer's tan while getting eaten alive by Mosquitos on a hot summer afternooon but not leaving because the Bass keep smashing poppers.

Posting massive hero shots and Go Pro videos, or taking over a fly fishing message board, might make you f*cking awesome on the internet, and if that's what you wanna do, go for it. But maybe this generation (including myself) need to occasionally step back and remember what fly fishing is about. It's not about 100 likes on Instagram. It's not about 2000 followers on Twitter. It's about fooling a fish. Remember that, and I guarantee you'll enjoy it much more.

I've definitely slacked off on my blogging over the last year, as have a few of my fellow bloggers. This can't be controlled. Kids and work happen and sometimes there's just not enough time to fish or post. I had a conversation with another fellow blogger who slowed down his posting as well at the Somerset Fly Tying show on the weekend and we both noticed that it doesn't matter if we stop posting because there will be 10 other new fly fishing blogs to take our place. I think it's great that people want to share their fishing experiences but I just want to say.......Take heed of what I said above and you will have a much better time, and a much more enjoyable blog to read.

Sorry for the ramble. I may or may not have had a few too many beers this afternoon. Enjoy the gluttony tomorrow.


  1. Amen, brother. And I'm as guilty as anyone. And it seems to me that you've had just the right number of beers.


    1. True that. I thought about this more after I posted it..I had a few people who I know and/or recognized me at the Fly Tying symposium last week who said "well, I guess you're not fishing much. I havent seen your blog updated in a while.".

      It's not that I haven't been fishing. I've probably caught close to 1000 fish this year (all released). But I think I've finally come to the realization that you don't need to share every fish you catch with the interwebz.

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  3. Find that a lot of people i meet on the water are more interested in bragging. I try to learn as much as possible either from the internet and from real life. There are always extremes on how people act each way. The truth usually comes out eventually. Either you like to brag or you hate it. I just try to find the happy medium and learn as much as i can.

  4. I'm fortunate enough not to catch big (or honestly, that many) fish, so I rarely have anything to brag about. Unfortunately, online douchebaggery isn't unique to fly fishing. Name the recreational activity and there are glory seeking "look at mes" all over the place.

    I've settled in to being content with using the medium to meet like-minded people (like yourself). I'd have never traveled to half the places I been to fly fish without the connections made via blogging and whatnot. So "killed the sport," I think that's a bit hyperbole.

    That said, nice post Dub, it certainly does makes you think.

  5. Mikes correct. You've had just the right amount of beer to hit the mark like that. Anyone that has run across my blog knows I'm not one that hauls in big fish just to make a good blog post. And if you've seen my flies then you know there's nothing to brag about there. I started my blog to force myself to get better at two things I was passionate about; fly fishing and art, and after many years I believe its finally working. I also think that I have given more business to fly shops because of this medium. As for the idiots that brag and boast... I don't give them much thought. The world was full of them before the internet and its just as full now.

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