November 6, 2008


The fly fishing industry is currently at a crossroads. An economic downturn has dissolved many anglers 401k's and IRAs, as well as their disposable income, often spent on fishing gear. This is contributing to sluggish sales that have been steadily decreasing since the early nineties. Dirty streams, depleted fish stocks, and a serious decline in youth angling participation all paint a dark picture for the future of angling. Here are a couple thoughts on what "the industry" can do in order to survive.

  • Make gear for the average Joe's. We don't all need $800 titanium-boron-platinum graphite rods. How are youth supposed to get involved in the sport? Make affordable gear, as well as some high dollar gear, so that we all have something to lust after while fishing our Korean/Chinese made rods.

  • Respect. Don't try to make me feel like a dumbass because I fish for carp. Those "monster" browns that you chase are non-native too. If you want to fish for stunted little six inch brookies, that's your deal, but leave me alone and let me fish for what I want to.

  • Fuck glampers. They are not the glue of the sport, but merely a flash in the pan. Besides being a bunch of fags, their one-time purchases aren't sustainable for industry sales.

  • Get real reviews of new gear. Fish and Fly magazine got it right with their risqué, ground-breaking 2007 rod review, however, most manufacturers are in bed with the magazines they sponsor. I want to know if something is real cherry or truly a piece of shit.

  • Screw "Bubba". Don't waste your breath chasing the bass crowd. Mainstream hardware chucking anglers could care less about that Sage Bass rod that hit the market in 2008.

  • Accept the internet. It's 2008 and technology is king. If it's ok for your clientèle to check their failing stock portfolios on their smart phones stream-side, then ignoring bloggers and the world wide web will only create division among anglers. There's a ton of great information and resources being shared out there. And no, it's not all lies.

  • What's up with in-your-face, extreme fly fishing? This is not the X-Games. Adventure fly fishing is partly to blame. It's all about trying to one-up the next angler with braggadocios tales of fishing some far off exotic locale. Great, thanks for dragging that un-nukeable stream nasty from Fantasyland over here to destroy my home waters. If fly fishing is that boring to you, take up a different sport.

  • Embrace brownliners. The industry needs to get off their pedestal and deal with the fact that Salmonids are not the only fish that swim the streams. If the industry wants to keep perpetuating the social elitism currently in place, that's their bag. But quit turning their backs on us brownliners, and accept and celebrate fly anglers of all type. This is a time for unity, not division. We are really not that different from each other.

    • Got something to say? I welcome all other brownliners and blueliners to chime in and share your gripes with the industry. Hopefully someone from within is reading and wakes up. We are real people behind these screens, and some of us might actually have something of value to say.

      - the roughfisher