A fly fishing geek’s
disjointed broad brush perspective
Rods and reels too high priced? Cantankerous farts told one too many newbies how it must be done? Or is A River Runs Through It just last century’s metaphor?
It doesn’t matter which way you cut it, interest in fly fishing has been waning…
…at least as long as perennial search engine Google has been keeping tabs on search trends. Seasonality is quite apparent, and you really couldn’t say that news coverage of the sport is the issue – while there’s a little volatility it has otherwise been fairly steady.
Around the world, South Africans, Americans, and New Zealanders top the charts in fly fishing searches, with the Irish and Brits rounding out the top five.
Among cities the US pounces, and the Denver metro area definitely has fish on the brain – Boise, Salt Lake City, and Portland follow.
And note, the heaviest concentrations of the search term actually occurred in Montana, followed by Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, and Alaska – no surprise, but the leader doesn’t have big population centers to garner it a city spot.
Still, the trend is disturbing. As Matt Dunn noted after working in a fly shop for a while, knowledgeable catalysts can help:
I’m spent several years here exploring local creeks, finding access, finding fish, and now I have to tell every random person that wants to know where it all is. Well, at least where some of it is. This is necessary, of course, because without places to fish, people won’t buy tackle and flies and new Fishpond chest packs. And the more people fish, the more things they will buy. And this is good because, at least from one perspective, the more they fish the more passionate about fishing they will be and the more they will protect fisheries and the better those fisheries will be.
A chain reaction kicks off, and the benefits come on the back end.
The fishing mindset has always been about the top secret hole and the fly I’m not telling you about, and that must change. I think the discussion taking place amongst blogs, combined with information/social networks such as Fish Explorer and The Fin, are a step in the right direction.
What more is needed still escapes me, but it makes sense on all levels (personal, commercial, and environmental) for those of us who love the sport to find it.
Put a smile on someone’s face – tell them where the fish are. Ok, start with a hint?