October 15th, 2001

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Open Letter to Publisher

By Ron Griffith

For the past few weeks I have been looking forward to the Southern Conclave of the FFF [Federation of Fly Fishers]. It is an opportunity to see and talk to friends that I see only once or twice per year, and a wonderful chance to make new friends.

Regrettably, this year I did neither. Upon my arrival at the door of the FFF I was told that it was mandatory that I register and part with the sum of $25.00 for the privilege of entering. I was on the verge of paying this rather exorbitant fee when it struck me. I asked the gentleman at the door, "If a teenager wanting to learn about fly fishing comes to this door, are you going to require him/her to pay a $25.00 fee to get in?"

"Yes", he said, "they also have to pay for any classes they want to take."

I considered his reply for only a few seconds before telling him that I had better places to spend my money.

The point of all this is that it set me to wondering just where flyfishing is truly headed. I have quit frequenting one of the better known chat rooms on the web because I felt they were becoming too elitist, and it seems to me that one of the better known fly fishing organizations in the world is heading in the same direction. Fly fishing isn't about money. It's about enjoyment. How enjoyable is it to tell a 13 year old that he/she can't come in and learn because they don't have $25.00? I don't even enjoy the thought of that happening. Most of us at FAOL have given time and equipment and knowledge with no thought of repayment or profit. The real profit comes when my grandchild has a place to fish, and someone to teach him/her how it should be done. How is the FFF helping with this? It seems to me that the FFF is helping the FFF, no one else.

The man at the door told me that this was the only way the FFF had to raise funds. I don't buy that. I've seen copies of their newsletter, and if I'm not mistaken they contained ads. They are also paid a fee from hopeful casting instructors. Memberships are somewhere in the neighborhood of $20.00 per year. And charging a $25.00 entry fee to a FFF [regional] convention is their only way of raising funds? I don't think so.

To all my friends who expected to see me at the Conclave, my apologies.

This whole experience has reminded me of why I let my FFF membership expire without renewal a few years ago.

~ Ron Griffith

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