Welcome to Just Old Flies

Welcome to 'just old flies,' a section of methods and flies that used-to-be. These flies were tied with the only materials available. Long before the advent of 'modern' tying materials, they were created and improved upon at a far slower pace than todays modern counterparts; limited by materials available and the tiers imagination.

Once long gone, there existed a 'fraternity' of anglers who felt an obligation to use only the 'standard' patterns of the day. We hope to bring a bit of nostalgia to these pages and to you. And sometimes what you find here will not always be about fishing. Perhaps you will enjoy them. Perhaps you will fish the flies. Perhaps . .


Part Sixty-six

Yellow Journalism

By Old Rupe


I finally saw the ugly TV advertisement the Wall Street Journal used to push up its sagging circulation. They make it appear fishermen are just one step above morons, too dumb to survive on their own, forever relegated to the bottom of the pecking order. I was amazed they would run such trash. Many fly fishers I know read their nasty paper. We have investments to manage and look to it as one of the information tools we should use to make sense of a market that seems to have no relation to reality. After reading it daily it seems I'm not the only one who drinks Fosters Lager and more single malt scotch than he should.

Not all fishermen are paupers. After I returned from the Asian conflicts I decided where I wanted my life to go and proceeded to do what was necessary to accomplish my goals. I managed to live in a nice area and put both of my children through college, no small accomplishment in this time of rising tuition, and maintained a fishing lifestyle fostered by my father. One of my fly fishing friends who lives south of me didn't do too badly either. My sister-in-law lived in his development and recently sold her house for half the national debt. I guess he did pretty good for an illiterate fly fisherman. He uses the Journal to light fires in his fireplace and wrap the garbage. It would seem he is an enlightened reader.

Another friend of mine who is really into fly fishing in the same general area, according to my spies, got a $200,000 bonus this year, that will buy a lot of Moon pies and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. When he learns to read the Journal he might be able to afford a decent car. I won't mention the head of an engineering company, or an optometrist I know or even my dentist, who seems to own five blocks of the local high dollar suburb. Not all fishermen are poor.

The average income of 47% of the readers of FAOL is over $60,00. Ask Fly Fisherman Magazine about the average income of its subscribers or better yet, look in their classifieds. Where else do you see two to four million dollar residential properties for sale each month, and on occasion a $5000 Payne rod, which is probably a bargain.

Financial worth isn't the real measure of success. A person has to have a dry place to sleep and enough food to eat, anything else is a luxury. I know many who have less than I do who have a richer life; I try to learn from them. One of the happiest people I know is a northern fishing guide who just seems to 'go with the flow.' Thirty years ago he would have been a hippie. Today in him I see some of what I have lost. I hope I regain my perspective.

With regard to the Journal and all its wisdom, I have invested all I have in real property. I was at one time fearless. I have done things that would scare Silvester Stalone and was lucky enough to have survived. I have no money in today's over valued market. I fear companies they tout which will probably never make a profit. The Journal doesn't have the courage nor the foresight to tell it like it is. If a company doesn't make a profit, or never will, why promote it as the next great market investment. Those who look to these high tech stocks are in for a rude awakening. Some "dot com's" may cause their investors to fish for lunch. Will these investors be glad they read the Journal?

The TV advertisement isn't the only dumb thing I've seen them do. It will be interesting to see how they justify a 25 dollar stock at ten to fifteen times it's value in the future. All such bubbles eventually burst. Remember, the old ways will prevail. Companies that make money will survive, those that don't, won't. Eventually taking an ugly girl to the dance will cause regrets, and the NASDAQ today has plenty of ugly girls looking for dates.

Some of the most successful family orientated people I know fly fish. They have their priorities in order. My fly fishing friend Tim never stayed at home living off his parents, but he is putting his three children through college and looking out for his parents. I think he's one of my heros. He's there along with Joe D (If you have to ask 'who' you are too young to have watched good baseball). Tim, we need more people like you.

See Castwell Column

Those of you who still take the Journal wrap your trash in it tightly tonight and take its advertisements and advice with a grain of salt. ~ Old Rupe

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