Monday, January 3, 2022

01.03.21 Things that make me go mmmm.....

      Well, with the end of 2021 and the start of the 2022 season in the books its time for that long wait to fish again, at least for striped bass. There's other fish to be had, winter trout, river walleye and pike, and anything that will hit your fly on those warmer-than-usual days. Off season should be spent really culling through your beat up flies, swapping out your backing and replacing fly lines, and, like me, speed some $$$ and investing in a new pair of waders. I plan on beating the hell out of a new pair come this spring, expanding my fishing spots from the beach and rocks to the more inland and industrial areas that hold striped bass. 

     For years one of the things that bridged the gap between the last fishing outing in the winter and the arrival of spring is The Fly Fishing Show. Now it has changed with the world over the years. The internet killed local fly shops and trade shows. The show is more of a place to come and catch up and hold something you want, or cast a rod you can't afford, or maybe spend a few dollars on some fly tying materials or a fly fishing Nic-knacks. You can also stock up on some pamphlets on fly fishing destinations that you could never afford and will never go to. 

From Jan. 03, 2022

     With Covid having cancelled several of the shows in the past year or so, it will interesting to see if the show will go on this year. We've had a record spike of Covid cases in New Jersey so we'll see if the politicians put their foot down for safety sake, or play politics and keep their folks happy. 

     I thought I would take a look at who's presenting this year at the Edison show. Some usual names, some new ones, some real surprising things that popped out at me. The first, was the lack of classes that dealt with our local fisheries. We have just had an, hate it but I'll say it, "epic" fall and winter run here in New Jersey. That's saltwater fly fishing in New Jersey and New York, which is a big geographic area which has a lot of potential people that could take up an interest in the sport. However, there are only three classes all weekend that deal with striped bass and or saltwater fly fishing. Jim Freda, who puts on a good talk, is again this year giving his presentation on "NJ Striped Bass Blitzes, September to December, Baits, Flies and Mayhem". Well that kinda comes up short if your goals is to get people out and interested in saltwater fly fishing and have them fish the entire season, which is about May to December. These classes are a great way to get those freshwater guys interested and cross over to the salt. I think TFFS missed the mark once again. Now Chuck and Jim are buds, and many times during the year you can find Chuck on Jim's Parker with big bass in his hands, usually more so around the International Fly Tying Symposium when the tiers from across the pond come over and get into the fall run bass fishing. Jeff Currier presents on Sunday at 945 am "Introduction to Saltwater Fly Fishing", which is great, but it's the last day, and early, and by then everyone is just about done and thinking about getting out of there, or hungover from the night before, but the real partying happens Friday night. 

     And then there's the other thing that made me shake my head. And I will keep this short and sweet.  I have to say I am surprised, especially after the last few years in our country and with all of our politics and political correctness, that there are still classes, that well, aren't inclusive. We have seen companies expand their vision to be more inclusive, more inclusive of women and ethnicities other than white males, okay, that ran hot, like the fires and riots that were burning through 2020 and into 2021. We saw more diversity on the fly fishing magazine covers and in the ads and in the images that accompanied the 

stories. Now, for men and women, the "models" that are shown represent the prettiest and handsomest and most fit fly fisherpeople I have ever seen. Most of the "Average Anglers" that I see in real life are like me, fat and ugly, and with gear and attire that doesn't fit right, or work right, or leaks, and should be retired. That's okay, I like looking at good looking white, well now, not just white people, doing what I love to do. 

     I have seen over the years fly fishing groups pop up and do a great job on social media. Good images, good messages, just about goodness. I'm not into anything that attaches color, sexual identity or preference, or nationality to anything. I'm out on groups that are based on one criteria, but say they "are inclusive". For me that would go from the opportunities I had to join an Irish firefighters group, to a male nurses organization, or to a mens or other only fly fishing group. Above is the home page for United Women On the Fly, cool. Below is there link to "Find a Woman Fly Fishing Guide". 

    Now I am missing it. If a person, I guess man or woman, wants to be guided only by a woman than its okay to have links like that on your "inclusive" web site? It would also be okay to have "Find a Man Fly Fishing Guide" then as well? Right? How about if your preference, and we are all about preferences nowadays, is to have only a white or black woman or white or black man fly fishing guide? Can we do that? Where is the line drawn? It reminds me of the torturous time I was trying my hand dating on They asked my preference in a women, and I had to list my own physical attributes, or lack thereof, and my nationality as well, because on the other side off the screen was someone wanting to be matched up to their preferences, is that inclusive? Wanting to only date a hot Puerto Rican guy or fly fish only with a hot Irish woman guide? We can't have the world both ways.

     As I looked on the FFS schedule I saw there was the Women's Showcase Schedule, a quick click showed there is nothing on the schedule for 2022. In January of 2015 I gave two talks inside the women's showcase during its inaugural year, so I have been a part of all things right. I then went through the class schedule and earlier discussed the lack of classes that have to do with our local fisheries, I mentioned salt, but nothing on the Upper Delaware? Adirondacks? steelhead stuff? urban pursuits? Ok, enough of that. 

     What jumped out at me was that Cathy Beck was presenting a "Women Only" fly casting class. Now again, I have been familiar with that also, not as a presenter, but as a customer. For Christmas in 2014 I gave Theresa a gift, a spot in the limited sized class with Cathy Beck. She is great, always has been a force in our industry, from way back with her and her husband and their photography and trips to now with her classes and lectures. 

    I also see that Gary Borger will be there, he is giving a class also. Now his class is open to both men and women I assume? And right below him is Shiela Hassan, who is offering another "Women Only" casting class, that to "limited to 8 lucky women". Can I suggest that this wouldn't go over well if it said "Limited to 8 lucky men" or anything that suggests "Men Only" when it comes to anything fly fishing, what would Orvis and the 50/50 On the Water people say? I must admit I spent part of a morning with Shiela Hassan a few years ago. She was my evaluator for the FFF Casting Instructor test, which I must failed miserably and suck at, because I failed the practical twice. Just full disclosure. 

     Now what also caught my mind, and was easier to swallow in this time of equity, diversity and inclusion was a class and book authored by Tim Cammisa, who I am not familiar with, "Fly Tying for Everyone", now that just seems more appropriate these days. 

     Before the emails and texts start blowing up my phone, remember, and it has been said a billion times over, women are the best fly casting students. They listen, they don't try and over muscle their casts, and they are less egotistical then their male counterparts, so it should be no problem to have co-ed classes for fly casting instruction. 

    If I missing the point then I apologize, well actually I don't. I have no problem with "Find a Women Guide", nor "Women Only", but you then have to offer or be able to tolerate something that offers "Find a Male Guide" or "Men Only", without it getting your panties or briefs in a bunch. 

     When fly fishing companies wanted to cash in on the chaos that was occurring in our country during 2020 and 2021 by taking a stand or claim it didn't always sit well with the population it was trying to serve. I found this editorial by Alice Tesar in the Gink and Gasoline blog, HERE, its a good read.