The Wall Street Journal just had to see what brownlining was all about, so they sent crack reporter Justin Scheck to investigate:
Brownliners enjoy fly-fishing’s primary perks — the suspense of watching a fly disappear beneath the water’s surface, the struggle of man against beast, the spinning of fish stories. If that doesn’t come with fresh water and clean air, so be it.
The pursuit is an affront to fly-fishing’s traditional ethos. Since English nobles began using bamboo rods and whiplike lines to cast weightless flies to trout, the sport has been associated with pristine wilderness. “More than half the intense enjoyment of fly-fishing is derived from the beautiful surroundings,” angling legend Charles Orvis wrote more than a century ago.
Read the whole thing. And don’t forget to watch the video, where my compadre Tom Teasdale catches a honker catfish on a Kenyan Stone. You heard me right – a catfish, on a stonefly. Take that, purists!
But, there’s one thing you won’t learn from that Wall Street Journal masterpiece: business journalists can fly fish! During a shoot break I handed Justin my rig, and he immediately found his groove with the stout eight. Ten minutes later it was fish on. We were not going to let this one get away, and a mad scramble ensued to get this roughly thirteen pound baby into the net. I’d like to take credit for something other than the lousy photo, but Tom and Fat Guy Kyle performed the roundup and lassoing. Additionally, I think the whole bit is a tribute to the quality of the WSJ editorial and staffing honchos – they know a good man when they see ’em. It’s always a good day when everyone in the crew hooks up.
Also undisclosed until this very moment: in order to get the WSJ to pay our ugly water a visit in the first place, I covertly GUARANTEED they’d get some good footage and a storyline. I [tacitly] omitted that fact when roping Mr. Teasdale into the deal, but that’s what fishing friends are for – stretching the truth regarding a day on the water. It was risk-taking at its finest, and the unhedged bet paid out. Further, with my future photojournalist’s career clouded in significant doubt – nobody including the WSJ is ringing for my pics – I’m now stewing on the idea of launching a fly fishing derivatives market-making desk. We’ll write all kinds of risk for brown water and blue, a variety of species, and expire contracts along with the fishing season. I’m going to start recruiting ex-credit default swap traders any day, so boys and girls of AIG…get your resumes ready! I’ll also be hedging the trading desk concept with another business model – picking rigs and flies for real journalists (for a stiff fee, of course) until the ball is rolling.
[singlepic id=95 w=150 h=112.5 float=left] Editor’s note: Special thanks go out to my neighbor Corey Christensen, who loaned me his brand new duck hunting waders so Mr. Scheck stayed safe from passing diaper bags. Unfortunately, Mr. Christensen is now demanding a slice of future trading desk spreads as compensation, so if you have some worn out leaders you can pass my way I’ll deliver them to him as a hush payment. He’s still wondering why I always outfish him despite his being a pretty lucky guy, but the aged monofilament tapers I’m always handing him are my other brand of insurance policy.
UPDATE: Boy, the following comment from “Doug D.” over at the Journal’s discussion page really torqued me:
I really don’t think that was the aim of the story, though, but I do think the author missed an opportunity to expand on the gentleman’s comment that brownlining is a “sanctioning” of nature’s destruction. At first I thought that these men were doing something novel in making the best of their environment, but then I realized, yes, they’re giving up in the fight to preserve nature spots. I bet these men would still jump at the chance to go fishing in pristine nature settings, but I’d hate to see this concept really catch on—just imagine a dad teaching his son to cast a rod while adding, “Watch out for diapers and shopping carts, son.”
For the record, I wasn’t keen on giving Ms. DeeDee the pleasure of a response, but it was grating. So…
1) Did you know that the local chapter of Trout Unlimited sponsors a carp fishing tournament each year on the urban section of the South Platte River?
2) Did you know that said tournament’s entry fees are used to pay for cleanup of the South Platte?
3) Did you know that the cleanup occurs in the upper two mile section of the river below Chatfield Reservoir, with the intent of making it a prime trout habitat?
4) Did you know that during last year’s tournament, a decent sized rainbow trout was caught?
5) Did you know that several of the folks featured in the article/video are accomplished trout fishermen (ex- the ‘accomplished’ bit for yours truly)? Or that some of them even guide on our pristine Colorado waters, for a living?
I doubt Doogie Howser Ms. knew any of these things, but he surely knows how to pop off in grand elitist style. The fact that more trout are being caught each day on the very water the missus deplores proves teaming up, not shooting down, works. The comment is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the sport and the industry – it’s my way or the highway – any attempt to expand without the use of #18 dries and a wooden stick makes you satan reincarnate.
By the way, bubb – we’ll be picking up all the discarded leaders you and your nancy boy faux-environmentalists leave behind on our trout streams, again this coming weekend. And not for any individual glory, but as a team that acts, instead of flaps.