Dear Venturing Angler - Let me post a counter argument...

Perusing through Facebook, I saw a post from my long time blogging friend, Mr Windknots and Tangled Lines, that said "Every fisherman needs to read this" - and so I did. 

The article was written by the Venturing Angler and it was about the things that he feels fly fisherman need to stop doing...immediately. 

Now, maybe it's just because I hate being told what to do or not to, but this one really irked me. Maybe I'm just kind of crabby today, but it irked me so much so that I am writing this. I think he is on point with a couple of things but incredibly off point on others - So Mr. Venturing Angler, let's dive in to everything I disagree with you about.

Above this section, he has a picture of a fly fisherman holding up a nice trout that he just caught with a caption of "Let's move away from this. The author in the early 2000s looks for praise from a fake fish."

Instantly, I disagree. I suppose I am guilty of these "hero shots" because I love pictures of me holding a fish I caught. I am proud of the fish I caught and by golly, I like to share them everywhere I can. Based off of my analytics, other people like to look at them as well.

I also like to look at pictures of others who caught a fish they are proud of. Instagram has quickly become one of my favorite social media platforms and my feed is stuffed with a ton of pictures of people holding up a fish they caught and are proud of.
P.S. Here's a link to my Instagram page!

Now maybe you are someone who actually only gets magazine for the articles, but I happen to like the pictures. I find pronounced elitism in your proclamation that taking a picture like so many of my own needs to stop. Ironically, you touches on how elitism has to stop a few sections down - we'll get to that.

Once again, because someone is proud or pumped up about catching a fish they feel is big, we need to belittle them for feeling so? What does being a "beast" mean? If someone goes out in pursuit of catching a fish once a day or once a month is completely irrelevant in my mind. However often you can and do, going out there with sheer determination, focus, persistence, and excitement is what I would consider "beast mode" and I DO find value in that. If that makes me or anyone else a poser in your eyes - oh well. And when I drive 24 straight hours to go chase some saltwater fish on the southern tip of Florida one time a year; it's beast mode. Is it standard for you or someone else? Maybe but when I do it, I am leaving behind a wife and 2 kids all in hopes of having something big hit the end of my line. I do it with no less passion than someone who does it every day. Quantity is not the measure of being hardcore - passion when you do it is.

I agree that human suffering and pollution suck but what are you really getting at here? Are you mad that company xyz chooses to make something in a place where the cost of labor is cheaper and then sells it here for a larger profit? Are you mad that a worker in some other country is being paid some wage that seems inconceivably low to us here in the U.S? While these can be debated until we're all dead, it is what it is. Companies try to make profit at our expense. If they don't make profit then they don't stay in business. If they don't stay in business then we don't have a product. It's a vicious circle. Also, I am not sure if you have traveled outside of the country but things in other places don't cost the same as what they do here. Not all countries share our same values in what is important. Making $10 a day in one country may actually be a good wage to them. A gallon of milk might not actually cost $3 or more like it does here.

More to the point, I don't see how this really relates to connecting to nature. Is that what fly fishing is? Is that all it's allowed to be? Since it seems like such a pure endeavor to you, then why aren't you cutting a branch from a tree, making your line from something nature provides, and carving a hook from the bone of some naturally fallen prey?

Oh yeah....where is that Kraken reel that you have actually made?

So I can only assume that you are against the programs where local DNR's stock random ponds, lakes, and creeks with catchable trout for the sake of introducing young anglers to the sport or allowing others a chance to catch a fish that isn't normally available to them?

Or are you against the hatcheries working to restore a species that has been over harvested by commercial boats or fell victim to some terrible man made disaster like an oil spill or fracking accident? Would you prefer that we just let the species die so generations of future anglers have no chance at catching a species of fish you had the gift of being able to catch?

The bare minimum is doing nothing at all. By joining organizations like the TU, you are enabling them to continue their mission - a mission which those who join believe in as well. If someone did nothing else but go catch a fish, take a hero shot, and share it with their friends and family, they would be helping the cause. How so? Simple. They are creating interest and awareness. If only 10 people in the world are interesting in catch a steelhead, then the tremendous resources that go into growing and preserving the species wouldn't exist. If a million people are excited about fishing for them, then it becomes a cause that has warrior groups like the TU making sure we can all have the opportunity to pursue them. This once again is another case where just because someone doesn't do as much or the same as you; it doesn't make them less than you.

I feel like we've covered this already....Oh yeah! Why aren't you making your gear from only the things that nature has provided, again? How's that super non materialistic CNC'ed aluminum fly reel and those Redington fly rods working out for you in the simplicity and authenticity department?

While I don't completely disagree with you here, I don't completely agree. If I see a picture of some girl in a skimpy bikini with a fly rod in one hand and a sweet hero shot fish in the other, I'm gonna think of something sexual. I am man who is attracted to women. To me, it's just natural but if that makes me a perve, then...well...I guess I'm a pervert. Those type of pictures are done intentionally and those women that posed for the shot aren't ignorant to the purpose either.

On the other hand, there are incredible female anglers out there - many of whom just consider themselves anglers - like Christina Weber and April Vokey who wish not to portray a combined image of sexuality and fishing but rather an image of being stellar anglers. They are two examples of women who do it very well. They should be extremely proud of having a vision of what they want to be and portray and then accomplishing it. They work extremely hard at doing it and get even more credit in the eyes of many - I believe you would be one of those.

As for the others who wish to portray and flaunt their perceived "sexiness"...well good for them. They have something that they are proud of and want to share with the world. Is showing off a body they are proud to have and portraying an image of sex disrespectful to fishing? I don't think so. I just think it's different than what I personally value. Aren't different passions, motives, goals, and opinions what makes the world great?

I sure do! I love fly tying! I don't think fly tying in itself is going to save the local fly shop though. What will save the local fly shop is a combination of increased interest in fly fishing/fishing and lessening the cost savings of shopping online (or the local fly shops learning how to become an online presence as well). Cheaper real estate and lower taxes might help as well but that's another debate. I agree that ancillary things like clothing and other accessories sales will be an income generator but I thought that we were supposed to stop worrying about material things? So which is it?? Buy more stuff or don't buy more stuff??

As for the increased interest part, how do we get back to that?? Hero shots, cool gear, and recognition. Make it look like something fun that everyone can do and guess what...people will want to do it.

Really?! Did you read everything you had written before you wrote this paragraph?? Almost the entire article reeked of elitism! Even worse was the stench of hypocrisy. Fake fish, this gear instead of that gear, only certain kind of pictures, etc...the entire article was elitist to the core.

This is basically redundancy of pretty much everything else you said like hero shots and beast mode so I'll just be redundant in my response...

So someone is proud of something they did - who cares? Maybe it's their first time. Maybe only a handful of people in the grand scheme of the world have actually done it. If someone is proud of what they did, where they went, or what they had to do get there, who is anyone to belittle them for it? I guess every one after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay should stop being proud of making making it to the top of Mount Everest and safely back down?

Sorry this bothers you but again - who are you to judge? The "pro" in prostaff doesn't always mean professional. It can and often does mean promotional. By being a prostaff, you help to promote and spread the word of a certain brand, shop, or product and in exchange you are given discounts, free, or actually paid with money. The best prostaffers out there are the ones who only make agreements with brands, shops, and products that they genuinely believe in and use. They are part of the many parts that help drive interest, innovation, and interest in their respective sport/activity. Does it mean that they know everything? Absolutely not.

As a "prostaffer" for several companies, I am the first to admit that I am not the best fisherman out there. Hell, if I only looked at this past year, I would say I'm a terrible fisherman. Ha Ha. But the thing is that when I am at an event for whatever company I am there with/for, I talk with people who want to know what I know. I love passing on the limited knowledge that I have with people that don't have it but want it. As a prostaffer, I am afforded more opportunities to do so.

A great example of this is a fellow we'll call John. He had seen my site and I believe I talked with him at some event about fishing some local waters around here. He had been trying but not having much luck so I shared my knowledge and received a follow up email from him last week thanking me for sharing what I know and with it was a picture of his first musky.

THAT is what being a prostaffer is all about to ME.

So short of being April Vokey, should the rest of us not share what we know? Is there really anybody out there that truly thinks they know all there is to know? I'm sure there are a couple but I hardly think it's more than that.

If you don't like someone's advice or care to hear it, then don't listen to it or read it but don't chastise those who want to share it. Sharing knowledge helps others grow and learn. Maybe not you...but there are indeed others that appreciate it.

In conclusion...


  1. Hit the nail on the head with this one. I had to stop reading the original article because it was so absurdly elitist and hypocritical. I felt as though I was being told how to fly fish the entire time.

    1. For some reason, I can't help but continue when I find something so absurd. It's like watching a train wreck.

  2. Fun read. Thanks for taking the time to write it. #keepemwet = #givemeabreak

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Eddie. #exactly

  3. Well put man. I'm surprised every day at how elitist some fly guys can be.

  4. Needless to say...I won't be making any fishing plans with Mr. "Venturing Angler". I'm pretty sure we wouldn't get along so swell. What's funny about the whole thing is that the guy is basically looking for praise by simply calling everyone else out on the carpet. In a perfect world it would be great if everything was that clear-cut and "peachy" but come on, let's try a little reality here!

  5. I've been waiting to see what the comments said before I entered into the fray. I honestly think that there were some good points to The Venturing Angler post. I guess the best way and safest way is to say most anything is tolerable in moderation. Everything is overdone now-a-days. If folks want to spend $800 for a new rod and $400 for a new reel, I'm okay with that. But you don't NEED to. Everybody is an expert. I know one person who has been fly fishing for about 3 years. She's now a prostaff and guide. Okay, good for her. I'll ask advice from someone who actually has the experience to give me. I love women and I really love fly fishing women. The fishing companies know that most fishermen are men and that mostly men love women. It's called smart advertising. This is not meant to take anything away from the hundreds if not thousands of women who fish and do it well...without any advertising behind it. Same with legit prostaff like you my friend. You're just not pretty.

  6. Nice rebuttal Nick, that article was awful and you pretty much nailed what I was thinking.

  7. Touche! Now that Howard guy has it right... Everything in moderation. I once in awhile pose with a hero shot. I once in awhile will buy something pricey if I feel like it is worth it. And I soak in all the knowledge that I can!! I am a most humble student.., Thanks for sharing your thoughts! This guy's article was a great subject to reflect on.


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