October 27th, 2008

Ban Felts?
By James Castwell

They have been banned as of October first in most of New Zealand. Could this happen in the U.S.A.? I am not going to get on either side of whether felts do or do not contribute to the spread of water borne diseases or problems. Namely didymo comes to mind. But, here in our country just who could make such a ban and actually enforce it? Could this be done on a national basis? After all, those who wear felts often travel from state to state. It would not make much sense to have a ban on them in one state and not another one next to it. Or, any stream in the traditional eastern waters but not the blue ribbon waters of the west.

If such a ban was promoted, who in government would dare introduce it? Would it be good or dangerous for any politician to originate one? Would a ban cover every piece of water or would there be a list of exclusions. Who would create such a list? Would it be illegal to wear felts anywhere? Illegal to even own them?

This is a subject that needs to be examined and the sooner the better. More and more those who want to or need to use felts travel and if there is going to be a ban then the sooner the better. Right? Does there need to be a few years of testing first? Studies and committees put together first to protect whatever? How about the makers of felts themselves? Should there be any compensation for them? Did the inventors of the automobile have to pay compensation to the earlier makers of buggy whips?

Perhaps they should be fazed out instead. Spread it out over a period of time. If so, how long and who will make the decision on that one? This can become quite an enigma if we just do nothing. Good men to just do nothing could conceivable necessitate such a ban.

Or, maybe there is a way to head one off. Volunteer. Really have such a strong grass-roots campaign about using felts that they simply disappear from the scene. To make it socially 'unacceptable' to be seen even using them anywhere. There is only one major problem I see with that idea. What is there that will do exactly as good a job of keeping a body upright in a stream as felts do? Can we believe any manufacturer who will claim there product will do it?

Good question. Only time would tell after much experimenting and actual use by our fellow fly fishers. Either that or they will probably get banned like in NZ. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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