Posers and Frauds, Get Real or Get Out!

What a joyous title to a blog post huh!?! I guess it was bound to happen, way too long with way too much happy and fun things to talk about over the past 6 months or so. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed it but all good things must end...sorry for the cliche. Sometimes our industry just flat out confuses me. I have fly fished for nearly my entire 41 years of life and I entered this industry, the "fly fishing" industry as a professional who was trained by some very respepectable people who set me forward with some benchmarks or standards that I was trained to believe, needed to be upheld for the greater good of the sport. Now I know where most or all of you 7 who read this blog think I am going with this but I am not. This isn't about elitist separation between different skill sets or Winston vs TFO, no this is something that has bugged me for years and the proverbial straw finally broke the camels' back. I have sat and stewed over this post for over a week now just to make sure I could clearly articulate the message here so here it goes. Sometimes industries need policing and there are times our little dinky one needs it too. Most however are simply too spineless to call a kettle black when that is what it is. "Oh, I couldn't say that, it is their decision to do what they do and not my place to say anything about it." -- WHY NOT? Who should do this "policing" is a great question too. It just so happens that those who should be doing it, those with the broadest and deepest saturation into our industry and garner the most widespread respect, the ones who could lead on such issues don't and won't. The big manufacturers are too afraid that by ruffling a couple of feathers for the betterment of our rivers, the fish and the namesake of our sport and industry they will lose a few customers. Don't get me wrong, I get that but at the same time, do you really NEED those pansies to stay in business and by ruffling their feathers do you not create more, stronger, louder, stauncher, considerate stewards of whatever issue you felt strongly about and also of your brand, whatever that may be? I think so. Either way, it makes no difference because it won't happen as I already stated. So the burden of culling out the wannabe's from the real deals is left to us and there in lies most of our problem. Not all of us have been exposed to the same standards and quite frankly, one of the more attractive aspects to this sport is just that, you can do it just about anyway you want. But when those few baseline standards that we do hold near and dear are thrown out the window, it is time to step up. For starters, it should be made quite clear that television programs that air on stations somewhere in the 800's of satelite T.V. are not what the public think they are, most of them anyway. Just because some guide is on the program doesn't necessarily make them an expert or worse yet, a role model to follow in the wade of. Nope, many of them just had between $2500 and $5000 sitting around when some production company called and asked if they wanted to pay for the production costs of a show. That is it, just some money to put yourself on the tube, no due dilligence by the production company to find out if this person or service has any clue what they are doing. Point in case, how many times to do you see one of these bloaks doing the aggressive "Hoover" with a trout, steelhead or salmon when trying to release it? Yeah, the "Hoover" is basically pushing and pulling a fish forward and BACKWARD in the water to rejuvenate it. How often do you see fish swim backwards against their gills? I mean common sense here yahoo's, can you at least take note of the obvious before going on television and making years of work for the real professionals to undo in your 17 minutes of late night cable fame? I mean come on, read the Manifesto at least! Now in the United States, we have so much diversity from region to region that I don't expect someone from the Gulf to have the pulse on what is or is not kosher in the PNW, or vice versa. That said, I can bet that if you took the upper echalon of professionals from each region, they would have a pretty good idea what was right or wrong to do out of their hood if you will. It is because of those unwritten moral standards that flow through this industry but only on certain paths and if you haven't traveled on one, they might have escaped you, unfortunately. Magazines should be an obvious industry leader but at this point, they are all holding on by thin threads, clawing to find new issues to cover, to techniques to highlight and new regergitated stories with the occasional blade of grass swatting they are willing to give to someone or something who is "out of line." Typically that person or entity is so far out of the industry it wasn't too much of step out on that limb for them as they cling to the trunk of the tree with both hands still... spineless. So all this finally leads to my example of unjust, right here in our backyard. And again I put forward the notion that not everyone has the training and crossover from gear/bait side of the fishing industry is wonderful but also leaves many doors to bad decisions wide open. One door is or should be obvious, don't be a POSER!!!!! Here is an example of what I mean: If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, but if you teach him how to correctly cast a fly, he'll catch trespassing salesmen for a lifetime. Keep solicitors at bay with today's --oupon: for $37, you get a two-hour entry level fly casting lesson at --- ----- ----- (a $100 value). Tutoring in fly casting basics takes place at a local park by appointment. --- ----- helpful roster of Coast Guard certified guides instruct proper lure-flinging techniques to aspiring fishers of all ability levels, from the most tadpole-like teens to seasoned aquatic masters. All necessary gear is provided, but students are welcome to bring their personal good-luck pole or haute couture hip waders. My first reaction was HOLY S--T, this must be one hell of a casting instructor, $100 for a two hour group lesson, has to most expensive in the U.S. Normally I would laugh, and I did until I saw who was doing it. This particular "guide" in the "fly fishing" industry in the PNW was brilliant enough to post a Youtube video of him killing a wild steelhead in an area that while yes, legal to kill one per year per angler, is any but "Haute Couture" in our little sect of the fishing industry and he should know that. Secondly, we have been the lucky recipient of this person's want to be in the industry that he bought a domain name similar enough to ours, put it up on the internet and had it going to his website where you have to look HARD to find the words "fly" and fishing" on the same page much less in the same sentence. FYI, this is called Cyber Squatting and is a federal offense! Thirdly and I wish lastly, same afore mentioned person has also run around fabricating stories about us to our clients in order to try to get their business and I know because they have called me to say so. Lastly I won't go into but I will end on this. Get a life and do something original. If you, and I say this both directly to person above and in general to the rest who want to be in this indsustry. Great and But... Don't just expect to put up a crap website, with Getty Images stock photos and dead fish all over the front and expect to make it. While I know there are some, or many people out there who don't yet know the difference and will fall for it, my personal hope is that collectively we as an industry will embrace and help those who really want to be in it, for the long haul, for better and worse and escort/kick the posing, fraudulent, lying sacks of s--t back to where they belong. You know who you are too, this isn't a matter of ignorance being blissful, basically shape it up or ship out! I know it is common practice in our to look the other way when it comes to one of our own (that is being generous at times) but it needs to change. Tollerance shouldn't be a so liberal that it is misconstrued for complacency. By not saying ANYTHING, those I speak of think it acceptable to continue with their actions and mannerisms, almost a silent approval. I am not saying it need always be harsh but when wrong, I mean flat out wrong, we need to be told just like any other industry.
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