On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

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Joe Fox
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by Joe Fox »

I have a feeling this argument was made in the 30's and then again in the 70's by "older" anglers watching the new generation change the sport, a sport that has forever been changing.

I hate hearing phrases like "why the way we fish matters". In truth we all fish for different reasons, and we fish different ways for different reasons. Phrases like that are more exclusive then inclusive. If the angler respects the resource allowing everyone to have a chance to enjoy, who cares if they bounce beads, hang off indicators, chuck streamers, drift dries or retrieve lures.

Everyone fishes for a reason. Maybe it is done to bring them back to a happy memory of their past, trying to recreate it or at least get closer to the memory. For some it is to free their mind for current happenings, a temporary escape. Others enjoy the challenge and the competition with themselves. MANY saw "the movie" or read a book by Ed Zern or watched Lee Wulff catch 3 brook trout on one cast after flying his plane to some remote lake and they hope to experience it for themselves. When we come down to it does it really matter what their reason is or why they started?
mikevalla wrote: Say what you wish, but there's one hell of a lot of spoon feeding going on in our sport. It's disgusting and I can't accept an idea that it's all ok. It's not ok....at least to us who experienced some of the golden era. I feel sorry for those who missed that precious time---and those who weren't around back then--in the late 1960's-70's--- and they will never be able to understand what I'm saying here.
Mike,
The vast majority of anglers go about it just like it was done in the past, with a modern twist on how we get our information. Anglers read the forums, books, webpages, watch videos then try what they learned, then repeat the process. I spend more time in the shop answering questions as people pick my brain then anything else. I have watched so many new anglers go from being lucky to catch a fish to rarely walking away without having caught one. I get great enjoyment out of watching the journey of discovery as they came together.

Guides are also nothing new! WALT guided on the Beaverkill back in the 1930's I think it was, for a brief period. The demand is nothing new and they were around during 1970's they just went unnoticed and in small numbers. Quite often guides are used more for the boat and rower then anything else. On rivers like the Beaverkill, of the few guides on the river on a given weekend, many are used by people to learn the area or for the very basics. Others use guides to fix problems they are having, like a golfer hiring a pro to correct a flaw in their stroke they can't see, an activity that is very much like fly fishing by the way.

I think things are a lot easier for my generation of anglers. If it looks like we are spoon fed it is because we were fed all the information from the previous generations. We start in such a better place because each cast the previous generations put in. We may do it a little differently then how it was but the previous generations made changes from the earlier ones.
squish67 wrote:And this is why we have big time fly fishing competitions.....................for money! :x But let's not get started on that!
I have gotten to know a lot of the competitive anglers and they are some of the most passionate anglers around. They pride themselves in honing their craft and teaching it to others. Trust me, money is not a part of the equation, often it costs them more then they could ever make out of it. These people do it because get to do what they love, and get do it with a group of like minded people.

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Eperous
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by Eperous »

redietz wrote: ... I can't see why anybody would part with good money for a guide to wade fish well-known public water, though. ...
Bob, sometimes flyfishers might hire a hire because they are not from the area/region and just want to gather some info for the remainder of their trip, and/or they are there on a very short stay--- wanting to see/experience the area, not necessarily needing to catch a "boat load" of fish... I've been on both sides of that equation myself... and, when I went to Yellowstone last August I had the good fortunate to go with a very good friend who was there prior and had done a lot of research on his return trip... he'd ask me if I wanted to fish this place or that, and I'd simply say "yes" wanting to see/experience as much of the region as I could, in a relatively short stay...

Very interesting thread, but... personally, I don't think fishing is as much about the "fish" as it is the "rivers"... I don't chase little wild 4" to 6" brook trout cause I like catching tiny trout, but I do love the environs that they are found... without rivers and water, there would be no fish and hence no fisher-people... :roll:

The last paragraph in Roderick Haig-Brown's book, A River Never Sleeps says it all for me... :D

Ed

redietz
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by redietz »

Eperous wrote:
redietz wrote: ... I can't see why anybody would part with good money for a guide to wade fish well-known public water, though. ...
Bob, sometimes flyfishers might hire a hire because they are not from the area/region and just want to gather some info for the remainder of their trip, and/or they are there on a very short stay--- wanting to see/experience the area, not necessarily needing to catch a "boat load" of fish...
Ed
Ed -

Yes, I agree with that. (See the sentence immediately before the one you quoted.) By "well-known" I meant waters about which a lot of information is readily available -- I was thinking places like Cairn's on the B'kill or Allenberry on the Yellow Breeches. (I've seen guides on the latter.)
Bob

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Eperous
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by Eperous »

redietz wrote:
Eperous wrote:
redietz wrote: ... I can't see why anybody would part with good money for a guide to wade fish well-known public water, though. ...
Bob, sometimes flyfishers might hire a hire because they are not from the area/region and just want to gather some info for the remainder of their trip, and/or they are there on a very short stay--- wanting to see/experience the area, not necessarily needing to catch a "boat load" of fish...
Ed
Ed -

Yes, I agree with that. (See the sentence immediately before the one you quoted.) By "well-known" I meant waters about which a lot of information is readily available -- I was thinking places like Cairn's on the B'kill or Allenberry on the Yellow Breeches. (I've seen guides on the latter.)
I agree Bob... but one thing I avoid, and I think most true anglers do also, are crowds on streams... I can't stand fishing with people all around me, "camped" at a spot... I like walking a river, checking out nature as I go... and don't need a lot of other folks around, competing against each other...

Ed

redietz
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by redietz »

Eperous wrote: I agree Bob... but one thing I avoid, and I think most true anglers do also, are crowds on streams... I can't stand fishing with people all around me, "camped" at a spot... I like walking a river, checking out nature as I go... and don't need a lot of other folks around, competing against each other...
In general, I avoid crowds as well, and prefer to fish for wild fish, but I still find myself fishing the white fly hatch on the Yellow Breeches a couple of time every August. ("Camping" on a spot is good etiquette there, and it's all stocked.) Once in a blue moon, the "social" aspect is appealing. (Or perhaps that's "appalling".)
Bob

Bamboo&Brookies
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by Bamboo&Brookies »

Fly fishing has become more of a massive industry than ever.

Each week I seem to get at least one big glossy catalog containing many THOUSANDS of items -- including 'new and improved' rods and reels, newly concocted flies and countless gadgets deemed as 'must-haves' for the modern angler.

Unlike Mike, this does not disgust me -- let people fish the way they want, as far as I'm concerned. If they feel the need to rig up with all this flotsam, you or I won't stop them.

But I do take some pity on fly fishers who are just getting into the sport and they're getting hustled into going into hock on top-of-the-line, ridiculously high-cost gear and all the trappings, when they could most likely get by with less expensive, basic gear.

For a beginner, hundreds of fly patterns, a super-fast, $700 plastic rod, a titanium large-arbor reel with a drag that could stop a tarpon, myriad gadgets like electronic stream thermometers and $800 'Guide' style waders -- all this stuff adds up to a heap of confusion.

Probably like many of you, I learned spinfishing/baitfishing as a kid, then transitioned into fly fishing. It was a more natural progression. My first fly rod was a Cortland package deal, rod-reel-line combo. I don't think I caught anything for a couple months. But I did do a lot of lawn casting until I felt I was at least proficient enough to be seen in public. :oops:

Anyway, I taught myself and, for the most part, enjoyed the ride.

I'll never forget the undiluted joy of landing my first good trout on a dry fly that I tied.

I still fish with blue-collar gear, including scruffy old Medalists that I get for a song and then repair. I like this stuff, it's time-tested and it doesn't break the bank.

While I have a couple nice cane rods and some Hardy reels, they really only come out a few times a year.

I think I can fish just as well with off-the-rack equipment ... and for the most part the fish I catch are not going on 200-yard screaming runs like bonefish or tarpon, so I can get away with more modest rods and reels made for the masses.

I guess I'm in agreement that the gear can get in the way of the fishing experience.

So like I say, I pity those folks who have been railroaded into buying a whole fly shop full of gizmos -- but their fishing experience and basic know-how is just about nonexistent.

As a sidenote -- you think fly fishing is bad, you should see some of the guys who get into bird hunting, with their field-trial bred top-of-the line dogs, ornate bespoke shotguns, Filson duds and all the other baubles, bangles and accessories. All so they can blast away at a humble little grouse.

Me and my meat dog will never run in that rarefied company. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Rob
Give a man a fly rod, a shotgun and a bird dog and he'll never be worth a d*mn.
-Old New England saying

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The Novice Returns
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by The Novice Returns »

" Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" Okie doke, Mr. Buckley!
"A trout is a moment of beauty known only to those who seek it." --Arnold Gingrich

BrownBear
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by BrownBear »

Thirty years ago my fly fishing classes ran a full 32 hours- four 4-hour sessions and two full days on the water. It got harder and harder for students to make such a time commitment, and I was spending more and more time running "make up" sessions. Somehow time has become more precious to me and prospective students, and the classes have had to be "dummed" down, at least in terms of how long (and how much) I could teach. I now teach 6-hour classes, and have to pick my days carefully to minimize conflicts.

Cutting from 32 hours to 6 hours forced me to choose content carefully, as well as to "pare" student expectations. I had to make the biggest cuts in the casting sessions, because there's only so much you can teach in a single session without the opportunity for students to practice between a succession of lessons. But I've kept things like fighting fish, landing fish, releasing fish, and my campaign for barbless hooks.

History? I frame it this way: I'm teaching them the "blue collar" version of fly fishing, the bare basics, and I point them to sources for continued growth if they want to learn more. Lotta classics on my list.

Catching fish during class? if it happens, it happens, but it's not an expectation such as on guided trips.

A guide's priorities have to "flip" from my own. The expectation to catch fish is high and the opportunity to teach is even more limited. Get clients into fish as quickly and as often as possible in the hopes of great tips. I'm offered tips after my classes, and as a matter of personal policy have always refused them.

I think the guides' priorities for catching fish are passed along to their clients, who fish accordingly once they're on their own. My priority is to launch people on a lifetime of growth and conservation. Very different goals and outcomes.

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ewpeper
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by ewpeper »

How one spends one’s time is a choice. If one wishes to learn to fly fish, then the choice to invest the time necessary must be made after making the choice about how one wants to fly fish. Like many of us, I stumbled along for years on my own, learning a fair amount in the process. But I knew I wasn’t developing the skills that I wanted to have. I realized it was going to take some time and instruction to learn to play this game the way I hoped to play it.

My choice was to seek out people who I knew fished the way I wanted to fish, and fish with them and learn from them. If you listen, a guide can teach you a fair amount about the water in the course of a trip, but I haven’t found many who will teach you how to fish the way you want to in the course of a guided trip. I generally found my instructors on the river.

I have spent a lot of time with guides – not on guided trips – and have learned a helluva lot from them. I don’t blame them or the outfitters for dumbing down fly fishing. I blame their clients who really have no desire to learn to fly fish (or “see” the water or the land or the creatures that live there), but who just want to bonk fish. After all, the outfitters are in business to make money in a very short season, and they ain’t gonna bank much selling flies, floatant and leaders.

If you want to point fingers, consider the magazines that choose to adorn their covers with some grinning cowboy with a genetic freak taken on a weighted, articulated streamer with a double entendre name. Find the article to match the cover, and you’re likely to find it’s associated with an outfitting operation that specializes in drifting balloons over lead.

IMO, it all comes back to making the decision to invest the time to learn to do it right. Ya gotta get past the instant gratification expectation and realize you’rte going to have to spend a lot of time to learn to fly fish well and properly. What we do isn't brain surgery, but learning to fly fish properly may just be a tad tougher than learning which buttons to push on a video game.

Eric
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them.
Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich

ted patlen
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Re: On the Dumbing Down of Fly Fishing....

Post by ted patlen »

holy sh%$ batman....

what a thread.

i tried reading every word then figured i just write down my two cents before i was coerced by others writing.

i one of those old guys who learned from my old man who killed everything he caught. i didn't read too many books until i was well into my 20's so most of this was self taught, mostly by watching more experienced people on the water and thinking why i just caught that fish. there was slight pressure for me to catch a fish inside a specific time frame but not a life and death affair. the thought of paying someone to guide me was unheard of especially when i did not have a disposable income.

as for using harbor buoys (indicators), i still don't and never will..because I DON"T WANT TO. as cj stated there are some who need to and guides want their clients use them especially if they cannot or do not know how to cast. after working in a shop for 20 years i've seen , well not it all, but a lot. there is a legion of fly rodders who just don't understand the game. they are not content with casting, fishing but catching. i don't consider them fly fisherman but guys fishing using a fly rod. they need to catch a fish, many fish quickly. they live a faster paced life than we ( the old guys) did. fly fishing for me parallels a slow burning cigar, SIPPING whisky, reading a rabbit eared book again; all long drawn out affairs.

a great night for many of use is 1 -2 fish, no wind or mosquitos, a good friend, and lots of laughing. thank god this not a fast paced sport.

one of the superb threads al all time.

yo

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