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The (Fly Fishing) Revolution Has Not Been Televised*


Product of a real revolution: Cuban refugee craft.

 

October 21, 2012

Ok, so here’s the deal with the revolution. First, there’s not one… revolution, I mean. Two, you can’t claim to be revolutionary because you do something as silly as fly fishing, with equipment the making of which (be honest) you haven’t the foggiest idea about (regardless of how many YouTube® videos you’ve watched). So stop calling yourself Sustainable. Or Green. Or Eco-anything. Or Revolutionary. Yes, corporate fly fishing sucks, but unless you fashion your own fly rods out of spinning rod blanks, sand down 80-lb mono to make your own shooting head fly lines, and forge your own hooks out of paperclip wire, you’re pretty much corporate. Sorry, just reality.

And another thing, you can’t claim to be a dirt-bag, hippy, [insert species here] bum if you own 10-grand of fly gear, a gas-drinkin’ SUV to pull yer 30-grand flats skiff and upload videos showing how much of a badass you are from your new Macbook Pro.

If there was a revolution, which (as I’ve mentioned) there isn’t, it would have been staged by those Bahamian guides who still fish those old school Bass Pro specials or the cheapest Redingtons they made… and can dump the entire line with ’em too. It would have been soldiered by the nameless, by the un-endorsed, by the silent workhorses of the angling world.

The revolution would have been perpetrated by those folks who just wanted to go fishing, because they loved it—as a pursuit, as a rest from labor, as a quietly raised middle finger to the consumptive day-in-day-out existence of their weekly work day . They probably released their fish out of respect, maybe out of a little bit of love, and mostly because the streams they fished were filled with toxins from the last century of industrial enterprise, and effluent from the last big rain.

They wouldn’t have let anyone take pics of them with their flyrods on their shoulders, or called themselves extreme, or espoused (in any way) the ethos of a bum. They probably would have slowly upgraded their tackle as they inched their way up the corporate ladder and only after the children were out of college, maybe pulling a fast one on the wife by asking for a Harley (which they knew she’d veto) and then “settling” for some new fly fishing tackle—probably a Sage rod and Abel reel. They’d have joined Trout Unlimited and been a regular at the local flyshop (before it went bust thanks to Amazon).

So, maybe there was a revolution after all, but we just can’t recognize it anymore. Maybe that’s what happens to revolutions after a while: they become un-tell-apart-able from the corporations they were rebelling against. The very process of seeping into the mainstream consciousness mollifies the revolt, and now here I am, rebelling against the revolution: a rebel without a clue. Isn’t that,  after all, the American way?

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* Or  YouTubed, or Vimeod or FFFTed or whatever.

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