There’s an elephant in the room, and I want to talk about it. The vast majority of TU members are fly anglers, first and foremost. And TROUT magazine reflects that. When is the last time you saw a Panther Martin lure hanging from the mouth of a rainbow on the cover? That’s right… never.
So here’s the question: Is that a bad thing?
On the one hand, we want to ensure that everyone knows that the tent is large. Cold water conservation benefits spin casters, worm dunkers, gear chuckers and everyone who fishes for trout, no matter how they do it. And here’s a little secret: There are more gear anglers than there are fly anglers in America.
On the other hand, and on a purely personal level, the thought of cranking lures through trout runs doesn’t interest me in the least. Maybe that’s because I’ve always been a fly fisherman. I don’t have a problem with conventional gear for trout. As long as it’s legal, I say whatever floats your boat is fine by me.
But I prefer fly fishing. Does that make me a snob?
While I’m at it, I’ll throw another hot potato out there. Are dry flies better than wet flies? You can’t tell me that a streamer fly is all that much different than a lure. The essence of good streamer fishing is learning how to make those flies act almost exactly like lures. And what’s the difference between a worm and bobber, and a prince nymph and bobber? Oh… we call those “strike indicators.”
I know it all seems kind of trivial, we should live and let live when it comes to angling preferences. But you’d be surprised just how seriously the traditionalists (and there are many in TU) take the way we present fishing in our magazine.
If I ran a photo of an Alaskan steelhead with a glass bead dangling from a hook in its jaw, my email would be flooded with notes of outrage. (That doesn’t mean I won’t run it, I’m just saying…)
I guess the real question is if there are certain angling approaches that more appropriately reflect the conservation ethic or not. By attempting to broaden the base, do we risk losing the core?
Happy Independence Day, by the way… let the fireworks begin.