January 16th, 2006

By James Castwell

I was looking in through the window of a neighbors house one evening when I was about ten or so. It was six p.m. and the evening news was on TV. We didn't have a TV and they did; that made peeking ok, at least in my book. For those of you who have never known of a time when there wasn't TV, you missed something. It was big, very big indeed. The picture was in black and white, about half mixed with 'snow' as it was called then and the 'reception' was poor but gladly accepted by all. Some loved to watch hockey, I didn't because I could never find the puck in all of the 'snow'.

Huntley and Brinkley did the news. Of all the things which impressed me, it was those guys 'doing' the news. Now, of course, they were not at the location of the news. They read it from sheets of paper they held in their hands. They were very good at it. They could glance down at the page, look up at me, tell me what they had just read, then glance back down quickly for more of the printed word. I believed every word. Every single word they said, I took for Gospel. Even to the ad for the Timex watch that 'kept on ticking.'

For several decades I watched and believed. They were older of course than I and I had no reason to ever doubt anything they said. This was America and we did not screw with the press here like they did in Communist Russia. That was one of the things which I detested about that stuff, government control of the news. How awful...

As I grew older, those reading the news became more of my age and finally, now, I am older than the guys on TV reading it. And something else has happened too. It seems that over the years the 'believability' factor has gone to hell. How else can I describe it. They lie. You know it and I know it. I am not going into the reasons here, but I no longer believe what they read to me. Do I have to mention even one name? Ok, Rather, and you know he was not the only one who admitted to it. How awful...

So, who can I trust for my news? Well, if a guy is standing in a hurricane and tells me it is blowing and raining, I guess I can trust that. And more and more, it seems that the folks bringing me 'the news' are trying to be part of it, not just have an ability to read without moving their eyes. The problem that can happen is they sometimes become part or the main element of the news.

So what does this have to do with fly fishing, you might ask. It really does have a connection and one which bothers me, sometimes it bothers me a lot. Folks in our country these days are learning to trust those who bring them the news from the scene of the news, not just read it off a Teleprompter.

Now, I bring you a column each week and I would like you to believe me. Here is my problem. You have learned to distrust any old guy telling you stuff. Yes you have and I have too. So when I write about things, you have been trained to figure I am lying or at least have some personal hidden agenda or other reason to B.S. you. How awful...

When I write these things for you I am offering you my opinion often based on things I have read in the past and trust or actually have done myself. Sometimes because of my relationships with some companies I have some hard facts about things and can try to bring them to you. Often I have some fellow all but call me a liar, either on the BB or in email, and he should know, he has been fly-fishing for almost two years.

I suppose I am sometimes bias toward a certain company, one of our sponsors perhaps. If so, it is not because they are a sponsor, but because I happen to know something about them or the product; I know that it is better, faster, smaller, whatever it might be. I try not to have it look like I am predigest but sometimes I think it looks like it. I sure do not mean it to.

My very hardest job here on FAOL is to bring you information which I thoroughly believe to be the most accurate possible. You have no idea how much time and expense we go through to do that. There are companies we have turned down that didn't seem to have all the qualities I want for you. If a sponsor should prove to be defective I feel that it would directly reflect on all of the sponsors. Do I get it right all the time? Probably not, but that will not stop me from trying every time.

So, can you now trust some old guy (me?) telling you stuff? I hope you can. I'm not reading this off a Teleprompter and my eyes move when I type.

It's a new day in the communication world. Things are changing way too fast for me to keep up with. All I can do is try to bring you the most accurate and entertaining fly fishing material every week and hope it is of some help or interest. If you don't believe me, that would be just... awful.

"Goodnight Chet."

"Goodnight David." ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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