I haven't read such a compelling piece since the late John Merwin wrote his " fly fishing dumbing down" article a few years back.
John is a good guy---and a great tier, writer, and "boss." I sent a message to John thanking him for his protective stance--protective of our heritage.
Let me quote a few passages:
Frankly---it truly mystifies me why some have even decided to use a fly rod to begin with, given the way they've chosen to fish. It seems to be all about the fish as of late-----In the British Isles, where the sport was principally founded, fly fishing was historically mostly a hobby of the well-to-do because of a dearth of public access to trout and salmon waters, and because the accoutrements of the sport were never inexpensive. These barriers to entry engendered a certain haughtiness about the sport; that attitude is much reduced now, but I contend we need to maintain a certain measure of that hubris, carefully cultivated.
Would-be practitioners should always be welcomed, but also encouraged to understand why the way we fish matters. The trend in recent decades seems to have been the opposite: dumbing down the sport to eliminate barriers to entry at every turn, when some of those barriers are not really barriers at all, but only stages in the development of an angler who is drawn in by the appeal of an artistic, esoteric form of angling.
So now the sport is replete with guides who teach beginners to lob a nymph and indicator over the gunwale of a drift boat, rather than take the time to tutor them how to cast, at least a little, and show them the joy of watching a trout explode on a dry fly. I'm not indicting nymph fishing; that's not my point. But I am suggesting that by failing to lead newcomers through the stages of development in fly angling, we devalue the entire sport in exchange for delivering instant success to neophytes. And when we devalue our sport about which we are passionate, we increasingly create a class of anglers unconcerned with the history and traditions of fly fishing.