August 30th, 2004

By James Castwell

I will ask you to stay with me for a little bit here. (Put up with, rather.) You may not agree, but I need to lay some ground work. There has been a change in how fly-fishing is perceived over the past fifty or so years. For the good or not? I am not sure.

Our views and attitudes were influenced by several things back then. Financial ability, our fly gear, time to spend on the streams, social standing and job. Many more of course. But, these and more always influence what we do, including our recreation. Fewer fly fished then, streams were less crowded, C&R had not been invented, fish were kept, many clubs existed on private sections and many weekend cabin served as a group hangout. There seemed to exist more of a fraternalistic mentality. Stories written back then also reflected it. Writers wishing to sell, wrote of it and publishers published it. What? Warm and fuzzy stuff, fiction, tales, yarns.

I detect an attitude today more of a leaning toward publishing 'how to' books and even in the magazines, there needs to be some 'sex and suggestions.' Today's writers who want to get paid know this and are feeding the grist to the appropriate mills. The 'warm and fuzzy' style has slipped away. Any of the old stories are compilations now reprinted in a collection form. What has happened is our society has changed and with it our attitudes and therefore our writers have had to make the change as well or starve.

And I miss them. The old writers. The old yarns, tales and stories of fly fishing lore. Yes, lore. The lore is missing, perhaps gone forever, who knows. A writer in today's market would have a tough time selling lore. You know why? Because lore had a lot of base in fiction. Yes, that worthless stuff, fiction. Sometimes I worry I shall run out of good fly-fishing fiction. As far as actual fly fishing goes I have learned about all I need to know. Not that I know it all, far from it, just all I really want or need to know.

All of which brings me to my main point. I have attended many meetings, dinner and otherwise, where there was some guest. Over the years more and more showed up with slide projectors, and now approaching Cinemascope. But, let's assume you just got home from a local evenings doings, sat back in your big chair and your wife asked you how was it honey?

Would you rather have a speaker who simply recounts a few of his trials and tribulations, tells a few little jokes on himself and in general provides a warm and fuzzy evening? Or a guru who sets up some elaborate display of stuff designed to inform you of how smart he is and you aren't? But, if he talks real slow you might learn from him? Which would you rather have, a seminar or a speaker? Let your club know, attend a few meetings and get the ball rolling.

If you want a speaker, say so. I know, I know, where is the new guy going to learn all he needs. Well, there is the Internet for one thing. Plenty of stuff there.

Let's hear from some new writers. Lore writers and some publisher willing to print it. Where will we find these writers? Not an easy question. And I don't have the answer. But, I know of a couple, good talented writers. But, we need to stop all of this 'how to do it' and get back to why we do it. Guys, give me some good fly-fishing fiction, dripping with lore. I've got just the place. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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