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surfing sucks dont try it
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I read Gink and Gasoline's Louis Cahill's defensive take on a blog post that *****ed about what the sport of fly fishing has become, then I read the post. It made me laugh. A little uneasily, since I got to the post on Instagram where I follow some dependable suppliers of fish porn (and surf porn. And modern prefab housing porn. etc.) He poked fun at fly fishers, especially at the ones who work hard to 'build their brand' so that they can move up in 'the fly fishing industry'. There are digs at bearded guys in logo'd, flat brimmed trucker hats sporting fish tatoos, packing the latest gear, wearing the latest togs.

Then I got an email from Hatch Outdoors. I like their reels. But reels and other hard goods don't have much income growth potential compared to clothing. If you can get your brand to catch fire, your t-shirts and hats, and whaterver else you can brand can really bring in the bank. So Hatch is making an effort in that area.

The email I got was promoting a new product line, The Destination Series. Oooh! Clothes for the mountains, for islands, for flats. I expect to see these items on exactly the folks the guy who wrote the blog post was talking about. No worries. I get it. Some folks just gotta represent!

Here's what's funny, at least to me. The shirts and hats in the Islands destination series are black. I dunno if they got this one right. The islands I grew up in are hot, and some of the ones I visit are really hot. Black just isn't a color you see much, unless it's tourists. Or, maybe guys on Vancouver Island or Haida Gwaii, but then I think the t-shirts would be long sleeved and the hats, oh never mind.

Go read the posts. They'll get you going, one way or another...
 

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For whatever it's worth to anyone, Louis Cahill didn't write that post, though I doubt it would've been published on his site without his approval of the content.
 

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While some of the statements are probably a bit over the top, the blog post has lots of validity to it. Fly fishing has been marketed and commercialized like we have never seen before. Marketers of the sport have struck gold in social media. Its the new cool thing to do, is "Instagramable", and has a forced multiplier effect. The more people that post, the more views there are, the more people that want to be cool take up the sport, and then they eventually post, and it multiplies. Of course there are some people newer to the sport that truly are passionate and into it for the right reasons, and not just self promotion. I feel bad for those people as they are getting into the sport at a time where the experience is not what it was....but I suppose we could all say that to some degree.

It's strange to see people who have only been steelhead steelhead fishing for a few years, landing maybe a few dozen ever, are now becoming guides. People that have only recently picked up spey casting are now selling casting lessons, clinics, etc. because they are good at branding themselves in social media, and there are now more people than ever eager to pay for these services. Business is business, and it is a dog eat dog world, and the innovators will succeed....rightly so. However, selfishly (admittedly) I hate to see it happening in fly fishing.

I know there are truly good people joining the sport and some will eventually become leaders and influential in helping the greater good of our fisheries and protecting our environment and rights to access it. However, the level of conservation awareness and participation doesn't appear to be equalling the percentage of new people entering the sport. Instagram posts are so predicable these days; everyone is a spey jedi, addicted to the swing, can't stop thinking' about steelhead, etc. and what is ironic is our fish runs are so low and in trouble in many places...but it just keeps getting whored out, and the narcissistic world we live in eats it up.

I can't necessarily fault some of the people that makes a living in the industry, as the only way to survive is to adapt and be innovative. But sooner or later (we are already seeing it) we hit an inflection point where the sport and experience becomes degraded. For the sake of those who have been in the industry a long time and who have given so much the sport and conversation, I really hope it doesn't get to the point where there is so much competition and/or fish runs become so depleted that they can no longer survive. It will be certainly be interesting to see how fly fishing unfolds in the years to come. I'm hopeful for the future of the sport and most importantly for the fish, but right now times are interesting for sure.
 
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