The last few weeks have left me not thinking too deep about anything in particular except what the lack of rain and snowfall here will mean for fall conditions on my favorites Sierra streams. The vest finally got its annual washing, and the old granola bar found within tossed. A new list outlines small streams and larger rivers near the cabin but still unvisited
out of laziness for lack of time. But there’ll be no piles of new gear this year. Just a few closeout flies, a new license, of course, and a few newly acquired hooks for tying as yet undetermined patterns.
It’s clear that I’ll not be doing much to support the industry, but the proliferation of fly fishing television shows suggests that the sport as a whole has become interesting, at least to cable programmers, even when one dismisses the dangerous fly fishing date on “The Bachelor.”
My DVR ‘fly fishing’ wish list has picked up more shows in the last month and half than recorded during all of last year, despite a limited cable line up in which the Outdoor Channel and NBC Sports Network née Versus are the main suppliers of these shows. I’m not so certain how or why some of these shows came into existence and made it to my cable line up, but there must be some belief they are worthy of some sort of cash outlay. (I do miss “Fly Fishing the World” and Trout Unlimited’s “On the Rise,” both on Sportsman Channel, and the hard-to-find “The New Fly Fisher.”)
There are a lot of dollars being thrown at fly fishing video, from homemade DVDs to the once underground and now nearly mainstream Fly Fishing Film Tour. While instructional DVDs may be the bread and butter of this genre, it’s easier to grab the remote than insert a disc — and tell ourselves that we can easy to ignore that the gear manufacturers sponsoring these shows hope to convince us to buy stuff
we don’t need.
Our efforts at resistance may be in vain. Research suggests those of us still active in the sport bought more in 2010 after a 10% drop in sales in 2009. It helps to have a captive audience; most of these shows run during the winter months when local waters aren’t available to many of us. It might be sour grapes on my part; I’m suspicious that some shows are well-thought-out tax write offs that just happen to include fly fishing in exotic places.
There’s no immediate way to determine if this explosion of fly fishing shows is good or bad† ; much of the content of these shows is fly fishing porn; beautiful shots of scenery and fish. It speaks to the already interested, generally not something watched with the girlfriend/wife or kids. These shows likely will lure into the sport some novices who will suddenly face the reality that their companions on the water will be unkempt and rather plain looking, not the well-dressed and good looking host‡ casting perfect loops to big fish.
These novices will also quickly learn that good editing always excludes those back casts that snag the tree that’s always behind us.
† Such a discussion will bring up the ever-present debate about the growth of a sport that utilizes finite resources. It’s worth noting that fishing license sales continued a two-year decline in 2011, according to a selected sampling of states by the Recreation Boating & Fishing Foundation.
‡ There are a few hosts who might be considered ‘average Joes’: Greg Heister of “Seasons on The Fly” and the goofy Curtis Fleming of “Fly Rod Chronicles.” Though a celebrity, occasional fly caster Larry Csonka comes across as that friendly guy we’d all enjoy on a fishing trip.