Monday, March 10, 2014

Please be a Human Being

Maybe I am having some sort of Fisherman identity crisis. I am the "newish" father of a wonderful 10-month old little girl; and have been thinking a lot about finally getting to take her out fishing this summer. I really hope she will love the sport as much as I do, and that it will lead to many great memories of time spent together. I guess what concerns me is what kind of world she will be given by those of us currently entrusted with the future.

Now I am not speaking environmentally; that already troubles me enough. I worry about who will be her role models. As Tim wrote, the fly fishing role models I grew up admiring were Don and Grant from Sport Fishing on the Fly. They were passionate, hard working, and patient, but most of all honest and real. I know I can always exemplify this, but who else will she look to?

This is not meant to be a wholesale condemnation of those who make fly fishing films, self promote on blogs or twitter, or otherwise have personae in social media (film is one of my early passions, you are reading my blog, and I'd be a hypocrite). I only wonder where passion for the sport lies in some of these things. There are times when I wonder why the people in these films are fly fishing.  Is it catching big fish? Does that make you a big man? I think nearly every fly fishing film in Alberta is about a "remote" location "nobody" has been before. Let's be honest--Alberta is no wilderness. Let's be honest--every trout is not 24 inches. Let's be honest--why do you do this? This is not what humans do. Please be a human being.

I don't mind trophy fish photos, but how often in a film do you see average trout, caught by average guys or gals, having fun? Don't get me started on fly fishing gals. A certain one who shall remain nameless seems to go to great lengths to conform to trash magazine standards of beauty with her bleach blonde hair, copious amounts of eye make-up, and a stardom and fan base I do not even begin to understand. For Pete's sake, if you type her name into Google's search some of the top suggestions are for "Name age/married/engaged/boyfriend".

I truly am fearful about the direction fly fishing is going. I see in it all the tropes and cliches of extreme sport films like skiing, snowboarding, and skateboarding. I was more inspired to fly fish by the mountain climbing/adventure film 180° South than by the latest "Epic Fly Fishing Film". Is this the direction we want to go? I know it is not the direction I will, nor will my daughter with all hope.

This post was inspired by two others I read recently. One by Michiganfly entitled Is It Just Me? and Bumpy Water's Top 16 Phrases You Should Immediately Edit Out of Your Epic Fly Fishing Film.


  1. Trev,
    I'm glad to see you asking these questions. I, like you, would be a hypocrite to criticize someone for having a fly fishing blog or posting trophy fish hero shots. I think you really have to look at why someone is doing what they do. I think it's obvious who is trying to promote themselves to gain traction for some sort of business... in the hopes that they will become established as an author, a guide, a pro staffer, a photographer, a film maker, a periodical publisher, a product maker, or maybe worst of all... a fly fishing "personality."
    I wouldn't mind being any of those things, but I'm putting virtually zero effort into achieving those goals... I don't try too hard. I think it's obvious to single out those who do "try too hard." I don't really blame them for wanting to turn a hobby into a profession (I've kinda done that myself outside of fishing), but shameless self promotion is not easy to hide and it often comes across as disingenuous... which it usually is.
    I started my blog simply because I wanted to share some of what I do with others who might be interested... kindred spirits. I won't pretend that there isn't an element of self promotion in that, but I have no goals other than to have an audience to share with. I didn't grow up in a fly fishing family nor do I even find myself in a region of the US where fly fishing is prevalent. I do believe there is some purity in my blog in that I don't have some abstract goal... I let it be whatever it will be. In some ways it's a lot like fly fishing itself... I don't go out with any specific goal or lofty expectations... I take whatever the river gives and enjoy the pursuit itself.
    I think as long as you instill a love for the outdoors and fly fishing in your daughter... you won't have anything to worry about. She'll know how to recognize the kindred spirits and ignore the posers... much like you and I already do.

  2. I really enjoyed this - I think we probably have a lot of the same things we are trying to accomplish, and a lot of similar thoughts on things.