After work tonight I was flipping through the new Idylwilde catalogue and I noticed that there was something missing. I have no idea if they did it intentionally, quite possibly they did. It’s something we are so used to seeing we don’t really think about it when we do, but we should. It’s in most major magazines, advertising campaigns, and blogs (ours included). In fact, I’ve done it hundreds if not thousands of times in my life and seen it done many times more.
When I realized what was missing I was actually slightly surprised. I flipped back through. Sure enough, not a single instance. What is it? Why simply fish unnecessarily removed from the water for a photograph. The status quo is: catch a fish, lift it out of the water, take a picture, let it go. But did that fish really need to come all of the way out of the water? Was the picture that necessary? As a photographer and a fishermen I can’t help but wonder what is the trade off. I profess to love fish so much, yet I increase the chance of their mortality every time I remove them from the water and why? For my own pleasure and ego usually.
I don’t want to get on a soap box here; I’m not an anti fish-lifting nazi, but I think we can all, as an industry and as individual fishermen, take note of the absence of fish-out-of water in the Idylwilde catalogue and try to keep more fish in the water where they belong. Next time your in a fly shop that carries Idylwilde’s flies ask to see the catalogue. It’s a nice catalogue, and I guarantee you wont miss the grip and grin.