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Thread: HAVE WE LOST OUR WAY? - Neil - Jan 16, 2012

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Bothell, WA, USA
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    Default HAVE WE LOST OUR WAY? - Neil - Jan 16, 2012


    I have recently spent some time checking out the latest and greatest new rods, reels, lines and various other "must have items" that were presented at the latest Fly Tackle Dealers Show. Then we received an article from Warren Patterson "Are We Making Fly-fishing Too Difficult?" [FAOL ? October 10, 2011] Warren asked an excellent question, "How much do we really need to know about the 'technical' side of fly fishing before we can start doing it? My follow-up question is: "Have We Lost Our Way?"

  2. #2


    Thank goodness I don't know any of the people that Neil is talking about. All the fishermen that I know would probably pass his benchmark. As for technical, Neil's friend JC was a ground breaker in many of the technical aspects of our age. Just go back and look at his aquarium project and his early work on flylines with the founders of SA. And the very soul of fly fishing leads us away from black line, cane poles, and a few feathers on a bone hook.

    I have great respect for those who love bamboo and silk. It's kinda like waxed cotton and cuban cigars. I own and use them too and really appreciate the nostalgia. But remember, even these were eons beyond cane poles and horse hare.

    I also appreciate the mavents of the technical side of our sport. Were it not for graphite and weight forward lines, fishing for reds and snook would be a much greater challenge. Can't see doing that with a cane pole.

    So there are many facets to this sport. And because you don't like the way others are doing it, doesn't mean they are wrong. And it doesn't mean you can't still tie a black line to the end of a cane pole and fish the way it has been done by farm boys for eons. Enjoy! There is pleanty of room for all.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Dunedin, Florida


    Nice article, but I disagree with most of it. Take the last quote:

    "The sport of angling used to be a genteel business, at least in the world of ideals, a world of ladies and gentlemen. These have been replaced by a new set of paradigms: the bum, the addict, and the maniac. I'm afraid that this says much about the times we live in. The fisherman now is one who defies society who rips lips, who drains the pool, who takes no prisoners, who is not to be confused with the sissy with the creel and the bamboo rod. Granted he releases that which he catches, but in some cases, he strips the quarry of its perilous soul before tossing it back in the water. What was once a trout – cold, hard, spotted, and beautiful – becomes number seven."

    The first sentence starts out lamenting that angling was once the realm the wealthy, privelaged class "the genteel...a world of ladies and gentlemen", but now is enjoyed by the unwashed masses "the bum, the addict and the maniac". I would say these describe those that are passionate about the sport. He goes on with his lament to that "the fisherman is now one who defies society... who takes no prisoners", while the truth is the most anglers have the utmost respect for the resource. It is the modern angler that stand in the way of the destruction of streams. While he grants that "he releases what he catches" he twists that into a perverted act. Nevermind that in the time he misses most of the catch was quickly dispatched with a priest. Catch and release was actually popularized by the country bumpkins who entered bass fishing tournaments (gasp!).

    You are more than welcome to fish your bamboo and wear a tweed coat, but I will take the progress myself.
    You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste... - Rahm Emanuel

    Who is John Galt?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Livingston, Montana USA


    I think that you have missed the intent of this article. I wasn't lamenting technology, my old friend JC and I were right in the middle of the technological revolution that brought fly fishing back from the brink of extinction. It was JC and me that caught the bugs and placed them in those aquariums, we both worked with the folks at SA, we both taught fly casting, fly tying and experimented with different fly patterns based on the things we learned from photographing insects in the slant tank. However, both JC and I grew up hunting and fishing, and our knowledge and expertise grew out of those formative years. I lament the fact that many of the people I meet today did not come up that way, and I think it shows.
    In addition, I don't lament the days when angling was the realm of the wealthy and privileged class. I was born on a dairy farm in upstate New York and its unlikely that my parents every earned more than a couple thousand dollars in a good year. I was hardly the product of the 'wealthy and privileged class', and my work with JC and SA were part of a concerted effort to make fly fishing available to everyone. However, and perhaps its only my opinion, but I've encountered a great deal of coarseness in the current crop of anglers. I live in one of the premier fresh water fly fishing areas in the country,and I've witnessed a change in the attitude in many of the anglers that I see on our local waters. I doubt that there were many individuals that were more passionate about the sport than Vince Marinaro, Ernest Schwiebert, Gary LaFontaine, or Jim Birkholm. They were, in a word, part of that world of 'the genteel - a world of ladies and gentlemen.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004


    "I think that you have missed the intent of this article"

    I think most have or will miss the intent of your article and that is a shame. I understand the intent of it and think it was well written and I agree with it. I feel many need to read it over several times before making any comments on it.

    Just my thoughts and feelings and nothing more.....
    Fly fishing and fly tying are two things that I do, and when I am doing them, they are the only 2 things I think about. They clear my mind.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    5106 West 11th Street, Speedway, IN 46224


    Excellent article! We have lost our connection with nature and the natural world. On the other hand technology is something we (the less skilled and uninitiated) need in order to survive in this now unfamiliar world. We would freeze without polyester and never get back without GPS. As for the genteel, I'm not so sure that is a "class" of people as much as people with "class". We all bitterly complain about the abusers. They are no ladies or gentlemen.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    savannah, georgia


    I have yet to catch a fish, tie a fly, or anything else via the Internet. It's just another way to access information, entertainment, and communicate with other people.

    Folks who believe they can buy their way into the privileged class always wax nostalgic about the "good ole' days" when only the privileged had leisure time and money sufficient to create a "lifestyle," and miss the days when little poor boys did all the real work of hunting and fishing for them for next to nothing so they could take the game home to their starving families.

    On the other hand, I abhor those freaking click-counters and refuse to fish with anyone who uses one. And I have to agree with NT about the general lack of manners and what he calls "coarseness" among today's anglers. But I see that in every aspect of American society.
    Last edited by flyguy66; 01-17-2012 at 03:12 AM.

  8. #8


    ...."Now being somewhat of a naturalist I had a grasp of entomology and I could at least tell a mayfly from a caddis. Everything else was pretty much Greek to me. However, since I had a firm foundation of fishing with bait and lures before I started seriously fly fishing it was not a real big stretch to start fishing with flies."....

    The main takeaway for me, and one that I feel is at the crux of the issue is highighted above. If we have lost our way, it's not because flyfisherman are not of the same social stature. It's because far too many of them have little if any background in the outdoors. If you have no idea how to first even "catch a fish" then you lose something in the pursuit of flyfishing. Too often folks go from a 3-piece suit to flyfishing, and think that because they bought their setup from a pro at Orvis or LL Bean, that they somehow have "arrived".

    It was stated to me by a family member years ago. He said...."I guarantee you, the person with the most expensive clothes and rifle and never shoots a deer, never stalked squirrels with a .22 either."

    His statement says alot about flyfishing as well. I don't think we have lost our way.....I think too many folks flyfishing these days never even knew "the way" to begin with.
    Last edited by NJTroutbum; 01-17-2012 at 03:16 AM.

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