I read an interesting post from Mike over at the Mike’s Gone Fishin’ blog about his recent trip to the WNC Fly Fishing Expo and his time with the “young guns” of the sport. Really good post, so check it out.
Mike’s right, there is a new face to fly fishing and it’s pretty fucking awesome.
Before I ever got into fly fishing, I had no idea what I was missing. I had assumed it was old, rich white guys in their Range Rovers and their $700 fishing vests. To some degree, that segment of the sport is still alive and well, but it’s not what it used to be. Purity and tradition has been overtaken by technology, innovation and the spirit of never really being cool with playing by the rules, if there ever really were any.
Tradition is now getting fused with a new school style that is reshaping the sport, for better or worse, as both sides could happily argue.
As much as I have grown to love fly fishing in my short time doing it, it’s really the people and the community that make it what it is for me. Those people, blogs, e-zines and all around good guys are the reason that I fell in love with fly fishing. Those are also the same things that are driving this sport right now and I’m totally digging the road we’re headed down.
The way I see it, everything needs a little shake up to keep it interesting. Boundaries have to be pushed and people have to always skate that edge in order to progress things forward. Some will agree with it, some won’t. The veterans will usually resist, talk smack and rebel, while the newer generation comes aboard and pushes it in even newer directions than thought possible.
We see it in the epic fly film and digital media stuff that is being produced daily. We see it in the clothing and product offerings of the newer generation. It’s evident in the blogosphere that makes up modern fly fishing. It’s absolutely evident in the fly tying circles, where we are seeing bigger, brighter, gnarly, and most importantly different variations and one-offs to go slinging with.
Rules are being amended. New styles are being born. Old styles are being modified. The sport is segmenting into those that love tradition and those that love to push the envelope on it.
I think that is where fly fishing is right now. It’s getting a totally new look in totally awesome ways and the new generation is pushing it forward, while keeping it sustainable for the next few generations.
I’m not a big fan of following any set of rules when it comes to how things should be done. And at this point, I believe that the only rule the current state of fly fishing is pushing is fuck the rules, forge a new path and have fun with it. That is where I am right now and I think it’s pretty safe to say that the crowd in that same camp is getting massive.
If you didn’t read Mike’s original post that spawned this one, go check it out and show him some love.