Blogs of Interest
Bob Skowronski about Traditional Fly Fishing Only
Sat, 31.07.2010 07:04
Reed What has come of this proposal? I am greatly in fav or of this approach to f [...]
John about Replacing the Fishing Vest
Sat, 03.07.2010 22:39
Very cool robot. Thanks for sh aring.
Peter Godfrey about Inventor's Notes - Pisscalator MarkIV - Illustrated
Wed, 24.03.2010 17:06
Hi, I would like permission to print this article in our Fly Fishing Clubs Newslette [...]
Bob Bishop about Traditional Fly Fishing Only
Tue, 02.02.2010 10:27
I think this is a very good id ea. I live in Newfoundland an d fish mainly for Atlant [...]
Erik Helm about Traditional Fly Fishing Only
Sat, 17.10.2009 10:33
Very well done! I would never have thought that this kind o f regulation was necessa [...]
Tuesday, June 19. 2007
"You can lead a horticulture, but you cannot make her think." - Dorothy Parker
Oh, Dorothy, how true -- if you mean the fly fishing media gurus. Of course, to suggest that professional fishing writers would prostitute their talents is to do them a great disservice -- they also pimp. It's the new era of full-service "servicing" available through a fly fishing magazine near you...
There was a time when writers for fishing periodicals were concerned with informing their readers regarding all the aspects of the sport. For example, one well-known fly fishing magazine provided the following "Do-It-Yourself" advice in a single issue in 1981:
I can understand this bit of intellectual whoring, it is not new. What I don't appreciate or understand is the apparent need for the magazine writers' to share a bed with any New Age concept currently in vogue. And they never even change the sheets! Rather than examine the factual/ethical/historical/practical implications of such Bambiesque (the Disney Bambi, not the fly fishing writers' street name) notions as Catch and Release as a management policy, they openly promote it as a universally acknowledged good - without providing a foundation for such a declaration. They go so far as to vilify Central American fishermen for eating tarpon, which, if you follow their assertion, is more profitable to someone else as a recyclable game fish. Fancy that, a fisherman should no longer eat his catch because some gringo wants to play with his food!
And if this new contingent of fly fishing writer believes in C&R and conservation, why does he/she not write against:
Is it really important how much ceiling our outdoor writers view? Must journalistic integrity be gritty, is there no room for satin sheets? Why should the writer care about informing the reader? Can anyone answer these questions?
Is Dorothy right about our piscatorial pundits - "You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make them think."
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I agree with much of what you say, which is one reason I've allowed my magazine subscriptions to expire. I still get Fly Rod and Reel mainly because I enjoy John Gierach's essays in the back. There are almost always a few other interesting articles, but overall the magazines are disappointing. I especially dislike those articles whose sole purpose seems to be the promotion of a particular lodge (which I couldn't afford even if I liked it). There really seems to be an absence of any really useful information. I do enjoy fly tying articles, particularly those by A.K. Best. Also as you mention, real ethical questions are often avoided, although environmental issues are often presented well from more than one point-of-view. Despite the fact that I do practice catch-and-release more often than not and I also occasionally use weighted flies, I find your exploration of these ideas on this site intriguing. It has made me question and even change my own practices (no longer use split shot - never liked using it anyway). Perhaps the biggest reason for my abandonment of the magazines is the realization that I can find more useful and more interesting information online. I'm afraid I can't answer your question as to why the magazines are the way they are, but I've got a feeling it has something to do with that great evil, market analysis.
I have actually made a few fly boxes for myself from old cigar boxes. I never would have thought that would have been in a fly fishing magazine. Also, you might be interested to know that a well-known bass fisherman, Doug Hannon, for years preached against bed-fishing for bass. I assume he is still of that opinion. Take care and keep up the good work,
As often I find you are on target. I wish to add comment to the use of weighted flies. It isn't sinful to use weighted flies. That being said; when we do fish with weighted flies we are no longer truly fly fishing and stand shoulder to shoulder with all other anglers using weight. All the protective aspects fishing un-weighted flies afford fish in gone. Weighted flies do not belong in a FFO area. The use of weighted flies should be relegated to General and Artificial Lures Only areas. Unfortunately the same magazines you refer to have promoted the use of weighted flies. The result has moved the sport from the tradition of raising fish to fishing deep at nose level to the fish with bobbers and weighted flies. I find anglers weaned on this stuff severely lacking in effective traditional fly fishing skills. It is saddening to see that knowledge lost to the use of bobbers and basically micro jigs. In this regard the fly fishing magazines have failed to protect our sport.
In the 80's fly fishing publications were largely independent, and were not yet part of the large publishing conglomerates.
Angling magazines knew their place, the sport was a "fringe" affair, lacking mainstream appeal, but still practiced by an cadre of ardent outdoorsmen.
Then came the Ziff-Davis juggernaut. Success is measured in volume of copies sold, even if the lion's share were returned from the SafeWay shelves unread.
The covers went glossy, and titles vied with National Enquirer to grab the onlooker - the traditional Madison Ave marketing approach.
Large fish thrust dripping into the lens bespoke success - with whimsical, lyrical, and informative, all sacrificed to boost readership.
Formulaic content and exotic destinations further degraded the magazines - which was part of the "master plan"...build a magazine suitable for inclusion in the waiting area of every dentist's office.
It would not surprise me to find the readership is at a net increase from year's past - as it is likely there are more dentist's than fly fishermen.
It's not about weighted flies. There has never been a time when ALL of fly fishingdom was populated entirely by dry fly purists. Be one if you like, but don't seclude yourselves from the larger fly fishing community in the process. There is NOTHING more ETHICAL about sticking a hook through a fishes lip and hauling him in on a rope because of where in the water column he was fooled by your fly.
The issue here is JOURNALISTIC ETHICS. And this is a social problem that ALSO infects the fly fishing media. American journalism has gone to the dogs. It's corporate big biz nowadays...all about selling ads to big businesses. The concept of free press ethics and social responsibility is a distant memory and a lurid joke. A free press enjoys its protected and vaulted status in a free society because they are fulfilling their moral duty to inform the governed in an objective manner. Failing that duty, they are just another corporation that needs to be watchdogged by activists and regulated by gov't in the interest of consumer protection and national interests.
The press is not supposed to function as a hired PR gun for manufacturers, retailers, and service providers. They are supposed to want to pay for ads just to get their version of the truth in front of the folks who are reading the responsible press for information or entertainment. It's supposed to be THEIR job to advertise THEIR version of the truth. It's supposed to be the job of the press to inform the public as to whether that version is accurate or not...and other such "trivia" that has long since fallen by the wayside.
Yes, today's fly fishing media is not much more than a collage of infommercials for a select few well-heeled merchants who have purchased the journalistic integrity of of an entire sub-culture. But this is true of ALL of our press outlets in this country. And it's killing us.
I wanted to respond to your first paragraph:
Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think anyone here is necessarily a "dry fly purist." The idea is that the use of an "un-weighted fly" is what distinguishes fly fishing from other forms. A nymph, wet fly or streamer can all be "un-weighted." Although I sort of like the idea of being a dry fly purist, I don't plan on ever becoming one. But the idea of un-weighted flies is, I think, valid. The definition of "fly-fishing" centers around using a "heavy" fly line to cast a "near weightless" fly. When you add weight to the fly, it becomes more like regular casting. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that I find the un-weighted fly school to be an attractive one. A side effect is that pressured fish are offered a little bit of protection by virtue of some trout simply being un-reachable with weightless flies. I find discussions like this one (about, say, what is "true fly-fishing") to be fascinating, and I think they would make excellent topics for discussion in a magazine. We won't see it though because too many readers would likely be offended, which I hope I haven't done here as that was not my intent.
As for your other paragraphs:
Unfortunately, the very idea of a "free press" allows that press to "function as a hired PR gun for manufacturers, retailers, and service providers" if they so choose. Some of the fault must lie with us fly-fishers. Seems like if we demanded a more interesting/less commercial-oriented magazine, someone would get around to publishing one. The media has always needed to make money. It's just that lately we seem to be less demanding as a whole. The thing is, right now it appears that lots of fly fishers are willing to pay for what often amounts to a big full-color advertising brochure. Take care,
Well, I think we would agree that "chuck-n-duck" isn't fly casting in its purest sense. On the other hand, a LOT of big ole bass bugs and large gamefish flies (mostly streamers) weigh more than any weighted nymph I ever fish with...with no weight on them, just the hook and dressing weight. It's a semantic argument.
To argue that guys like Dave Whitlock and Bob Clouser are not "real fly fishermen" because they designed weighted flies is just ridiculous. It's one of the most preposterously indefensible high horses one can mount.
I'd love to see you cast a size 16 BH PTN or weighted scud and a palsa foam indicator 60' + without a fly line! LOL Point is: "near-weightless" is a very nebulous and highly subjective phrase. If the weight is insignificant to the casting process via conventional tackle, then it's a moot point. But if we're talking about slinky rigs for high water on the White River and swivel and bell weight rigs for steelhead in Michigan, then you and I see eye to eye.
As for the free press, that was my point: with freedom comes responsibility. Abdicate responsible journalism, and you forfeit the protections of the free press...philosophically speaking. Our founders were fond of saying that no society could remain free without a well-informed, morally conscious citizenry who realized that with liberty comes personal and corporate responsibility. In other words, the free must be self-regulated in the best interest of society. Lose the well-informed, lose the self-regulated higher good, and you eventually lose the liberty. And we are well along the path that leads to destruction on BOTH counts.
I apologize as I'm going far off your original topic. Feel free to delete.
I believe the idea is not to apply weight for the purpose of sinking the fly. The weight of a big chunk of deer hair on a bass popper and the weight of a length of lead wire wound around the hook shank of a streamer are easily distinguishable in purpose. That still leaves some fuzzy areas (like a fish-shaped bullet head that gives the fly its shape while also causing it to sink), but I think you can make the idea of un-weighted flies holds together as an argument.
It's really not my intention to hop up on the high horse. In fact, I hope you'd find me one of the least high-horsey folks around. Like I said above, I do still use weighted flies although I'm open to the idea that maybe that's not "true fly-fishing." I also still use conventional tackle on occasion for bass on Lake Guntersville, and don't feel the least bit sinful for doing it. I would never consider telling Dave Whitlock or Bob Clouser that they weren't real fly fishers (although I'd like to see their faces...lol). I'm open to the idea of considering that "true fly-fishing" includes the use of weighted flies, it's just that I currently find the arguments for un-weighted flies more compelling. I don't find either position to be more or less "ethical" Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that it wasn't my intention to come across as a jerk or morally superior, just discussing what I feel is an interesting topic. Take care,
Cool. You see, the original context of the article regarding weighted flies was couched as an "ethical" issue. That's my point. It wasn't really about your comments. And the next few comments seemed to be focusing on THAT instead of journalistic integrity...which was the point of the article.
I find that a far more interesting discussion topic than weighted flies: good or evil. But...different strokes for different folks. That's what makes the world go around.
It sounds like you are talking about Saltwater Flyfishing Advertising Magazine. They even have a section devoted entirely over to the promotion of lodges and new marinas and such like that. Lame.
Journalistic integrity is obviously an interesting topic, and much more important than weighted flies in the long run. It's just that I got off course, feeling the need to defend myself, perhaps needlessly.
I think that maybe things are not all that dire. I still see lots of honest journalism out there. But the goal has always, ALWAYS, been to capture readers (without readers there is no advertising). I believe readers have always demanded honest journalism, and still do. It's just that right now, the types of articles the magazines publish are enjoyed by more people. New fly fishers are interested in "gear" and "destinations" and "the Brad Pitt look." I think that once we lose that huge influx of new readers, we'll see the magazines begin catering to the veterans of the sport rather than publishing "eye candy" meant to capture new readers looking for the latest fad. They'll have to in order to survive. Or maybe I've just had my coffee and feel like being optimistic this morning. Take care,
Have another cup of coffee Hawgdaddy, you are doing great! LOL
I'm not going to get into this debate, but I do see a valid point for dry flies being the definite origin of true unblemished fly fishing. By no means am I a purist of any sort. In comparison with the bass fishing of old, we have morphed into the new age hybrid fisherman with all the latest technology allowing the playing field to be leveled for all fisherman. It becomes less technique and more of what you are casting.
As far as journalism, we all know where that has gone. The almighty dollar is numero uno and our beloved sport has fallen prey to the quality of life we think everyone should live.
I enjoyed your article and definitely see the point of it. I find more useful information on blogs and true fly fishing sites (being dry fly purists or not) than I would in a year of reading magazines. However, If my interest was to be educated on the latest and greatest products then I would definitely pick up a glossy vogue imitation magazine dedicated to whoring new fishing products.
Permit me to step in for a moment. You said -
"However, If my interest was to be educated on the latest and greatest products then I would definitely pick up a glossy vogue imitation magazine dedicated to whoring new fishing products."
They problem with that approach is that you are assuming that you will receive a true education. Alas, if journalistic integrity is wanting, as my article suggests, the only material the writer will provide will be that which casts his sponsors product in the best light. For example, you will not find him comparing $100.00 fly rods to $600.00 fly rods. Nor will he tell you that his sponsor's fly rod is available under another model name with two less snake guides and cheaper fittings for $200.00 less. He might also neglect to mention that the sponsor rates it as a 3wt, but only a superb caster could manage to cast it with anything less than a 5wt line.
The purpose of the writer/hooker trolling for customers is to make himself (or in this instance, his product) look as alluring as possible - he has to share his street corner with other tarts and he wants to stand out. Not to offend a lovely lady, but in the words of Dolly Parton "It costs a lot of money to look this cheap." - your fly fishing bordello-fellow uses fine words rather than pesos to get the same look.
Good point. I think this also has something to do with there being so many new fly fishers. I would think that veterans of the sport, a title which I can't claim BTW, are too smart for this ploy. They've tried lots of rods. They're familiar with the tricks. They know when a $100 rod will do the job. New fly fishers know little more than what they're told. They see the magazines as the experts from which they can learn about the sport. I know. I was a newb not so very long ago. I wonder if the magazines will find it more difficult to dupe their readers in the future, as the influx of new fly fishers dwindles and the reader-base gains experience? Or will we even have magazines in the future, due to the influence of the internet? Personally, I still enjoy books and magazines when the content is there. Take care,
P.S. - Okay, I'm stepping out of this discussion to become a spectator. I've spammed your site enough, Reed. Take care.
I feel terrible about revealing matters of the world's oldest profession (lying about fishing) to a young innocent like Insane. Would you step into his cube for a moment and make sure he is not throughly defiled by this knowledge. I'm not sure how you can tell, but do your best.
BTW, I appreciated your comments, they are always welcome.
How can one tell if further defiling has occurred to someone such as him? It's like trying to recognize a new grain of sand on an infinite beach.
How dare you weigh such an untarnished soul as myself with all the world's problems? I don't know if I can associate with people like that. The nerve!! I will most likely not sleep a wink tonight and will be up thumbing through old magazines searching for true answers....answers that will direct me in my life's journey of what's true and untrue. I suppose I should begin the coffee making early tonight as I fear it will be a long one...
Hawgdaddy, I know where your cubicle is...I'm watching you...fix me some coffee!!
Can you suspend his commenting?
You asked - "Can you suspend his commenting?"
What! and lose all this delightful badinage? Certainly, if I felt hawgdaddy could injure your reputation I would put the brakes on, but from all accounts (e.g., TVA) your reputation was taken off life-support years ago.
Love you guys,
I truly appreciate your concern Reed! lol
This is pretty normal for Hawgdaddy and I as we have to work with each other day after day....
How could you say such a thing? I mean breathtaking pictures of the most advanced angler in a remote Argentina wilderness waving a half naked "X' brand rod making it look almost dirty in a sense. As we read further the article boasts photos all these giant fish which in reality weren't caught on this rod (or on this trip for that matter). Or perhaps it was the chest pack he boasted so proudly as he changed out his fly (attatching the most unsacred of all...the weighted fly LOL) only to put the dry fly back into his newest 'Y' brand floating box. As it rains he continues to catch fish since he has the 'Z' brand raincoat with 3 different hoods, interchangeable as the rain intensity can certainly be most unpredictable
It all goes back to saying what you are thinking. I don't think I truly wrote what I was thinking earlier. Perhaps that is where the confusion ensued. I couldn't agree more with your point, or article for that matter. Good work as always Reed!
I got in trouble awhile back for comparing a $100 rod to a $500 rod on the Internet. It wasn't the $500 rod company or the $100 rod company that got torqued. They were both totally cool with the discussion. It was consumers who wanted to brag about owning the $500 rod and a fly shop employee of a shop that sells the $500 rods who got bent out of shape.
I think there is something to the "We have met the enemy and he is us" aspect of this discussion.
Lively discussion! Here's a point about those magazines that has yet to be discussed. It is my contention the magazines will not, as stated above, turn back to the seasoned veteran fly fisher once the glut of newbies has been assimilated into the whole. IMHO magazines today exist to attract new converts to fly fishing. That's it; that's their purpose for existence. No more; no less. The fly fishing companies know how to sell their products. What they need is more consumers.
If that's the case, the empirical data says they are failing. I don't know what "flood of newbies" y'all are referring to. All statistics show we're shrinking, not growing.
We had a brief and somewhat anemic surge right after "the movie," but that's been over a decade ago now.
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