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Close the Gap

January 15, 2010

Recently I had an enticing conversation with a colleague about how blogs, along with facebook, twitter, and other social networking sites are really helping us fill the obvious gap in the outdoor world between the “traditional older crowd ” and the emerging youth scene. It was agreed upon that in this day and age, it is impossible to fight the endless swarms of media outlets and the influences they have on younger generations. My point? Why fight a good thing?

While online magazines like This Is Fly and exceptionally witty and modern blogs like Moldy Chum pave the way for a new generation of fly anglers, isn’t it about time we embrace social networking as a learning tool instead of blaming it for the corruption of our youth? I know this is a conversation that many consider beaten to death, but I need to sound off.

Some fly fishing experience from the archives of a seasoned angler was well appreciated given my steep learning curve fishing outside of my comfort zone.

In just shy of a year, I have discovered first hand how social networking and modern technology can make me a better fly fishermen, and a more accomplished and confident fly tyer. I have met wonderfully talented and inspirational people from all over the world, traded flies with people from different states and countries, and swapped stories about fishing techniques and experiences that continue to blow my mind time and time again. Up’North Maine Fly Castings went from NOTHING to SOMETHING almost overnight, attracting readers from all ends of the earth and generating conversation that is not only insightful, but often entertaining. Some sing praise, others have been brutally honest and up front, but regardless of the message, the success is clear; People are talking. Hundreds of guides, enthusiasts, and weekend warriors come together via Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to share information and learn from each others triumphs and failures. Pictures and videos help them share special moments and unforgettable memories, and little by little, the youth respond. They learn that fly fishing just might be “cool” after all. They learn that enjoying nature and protecting our natural resources is more important than playing video games or spending the entire evening at the mall. And most importantly they learn why their grandfather talks endlessly about the simple life and how much he misses “the way things were back then.”

Fly fishing for me has never been about catching fish (yeah right) or flashy gear (obvious lie), although sometimes my excitement tends to wander that way. It is also about self discovery and personal accomplishments. It’s about connecting with the outdoors and discovering new places and people one would never find sitting at home. It’s about sharing special moments with family and friends, laughing, complaining, and cursing when dozens of fish are rising around your boat but you just can’t seem to match the hatch. And it’s about watching your prized catch swim away, knowing that because of you another angler may get to experience the excitement you just experienced while landing that fish.

So stop being angry and bitter at the world, life is simply too short. Share your knowledge any which way you can and I assure you that the satisfaction can be extremely satisfying. Take a kid fishing and they WILL remember if for the rest of their lives. Appreciate the little things, and the world’s big problems suddenly don’t seem to big after all.

Bring Fly Fishing back to it’s roots, but exploit that modern side that everyone seems to scoff at these days. If your not happy with the direction fly fishing is going, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Stick that in your vest and smoke it.

-Ben

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 15, 2010 5:36 pm

    Bingo!!!! Great shot says it all. The common ground between the fishermen shown are the rods in their hand and the water in their sights. And that ought to be enough. If this electronic realm can help push us into the natural one, then I’m for it. Keep up the good work, Ben.

    Mike

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