Sharkskin, or Shark Sin?

Guest Commentary by Tom “Lemonade” Teasdale

Scientific Anglers SharkskinIt is no secret that 3M is one of the largest corporations in America today. They make everything from the tape we wrap our holiday gifts with to aerospace polymers used to build stealth fighters. Such a large corporation is ultimately responsible to its shareholders to create value, however, one of their subsidiaries, Scientific Anglers, has crossed the line in its senseless pursuit of profit.

SA has always been a heavy hitter in the fly line and accessory market, and a few years back, as some of you may remember, they introduced a revolutionary new fly line dubbed “Sharkskin”. Like most of you, I originally loved this fly line – it flew further, floated higher, and mended better than any product before it. I wanted to throw 160-foot casts in a single haul, stack mends in a line that would float like a body in the Hudson.

But ask yourself this, my fly-fishing amigos: At what cost..(insert heart-felt fist pump and single tear down cheek here)..AT WHAT COST?! Faced with this lust, none of us asked where this technology and “new” material came from, and I must now admit that my want for distance combined with perpetually dry tips blinded my conservationist heart.

In mid-February 2010, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission banned recreational and commercial fishing for one of my favorite game species, Negaprion brevirostris, or lemon shark. The Florida FWC wrote it off by saying it was due to the lemon shark’s slow growth rate and susceptability to fishing related mortality. I, however, think 3M used corporate influence peddling, possibly combined with a large check, to keep their name off the front page of the issue. Clearly the culprit here is SA, and their irresponsible harvesting of lemon shark epidermis.

Lemon shark
SA’s Product Research Team caught in the act

You may now be asking yourself, “Well how does he know that it’s only the lemon shark being skinning by the thousands?” And I retort “What is the most popular color of fly line? Yellow, my friends, yellow!”

We who covet hero casts and high-floating fly lines must also bear some of the blame. Scientific Anglers simply saw market demand and jumped on it. It didn’t take vast amounts of market research to find ego-driven casters who hated dressing their fly lines. In my own defense, had I known that it would lead to this, I never would have bought thirty eight spools in the first place, pro-form or no pro-form.

To conclude, both SA, and we the consumer, have clearly acted in a negligent manner, regardless of the countless hours of drag-screaming fun we have afforded ourselves. We should learn to live with 90 foot double-hauls and a spare bottle of Gink. But let’s not lose sight of the real victim here, that beautiful denizen of south Florida flats and creeks, the lemon shark.

Editor’s note: The opinions of guest commentators are their own, and the proprietor of this website does not expressly endorse them. The implied humor, however, is undeniable.

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