The Internet is Ruining Fishing

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – “The internet is ruining fly fishing”.  The most common reason that I see floated around explaining how/why the interwebs destroyed fishing is the “hot spotting” that goes on.  I’d argue that the biggest way that the internet is ruining this sport is it, in my opinion, has created an increased population of anglers that join in on the cult like “hero” mentality.

Fishing is a recreation for most, a profession for some – but has become a pecker measuring contest for several.  Why?  Why do many people feel the absolute need to be accepted to the “in crowd” that is nothing more than a bunch of key board jockeys spreading propoganda, from the protection of hiding behind a computer monitor.

All types of fishing have a long and rich history of “fish stories” or “tall tales” – its part of the unique culture of the sport, healthy exaggeration of one’s accomplishments.  With the increased popularity of forums and facebook though, these harmless truth stretches have become so outlandish that it, in my opinion, has moved the culture of the sport/industry a very negative direction.  A culture of over-exaggeration has been adopted, just as a means to fit in or keep up with all the other non-truth tellers.

I will be the first to admit that I am probably wrong in how judgemental I am – spending countless hours envying the photos of many fine fishermen, making assessments of ‘how good’ of a fisherman is by the proof provided by a few simple photos.  In  an effort to keep up with the successful anglers though many will weave sophisticated tangled webs in an effort to join some exclusive club.  Why is that important?

The keeping up with the Joneses mentality as it regards to gear is mind boggling to me as well.  Its okay to be a gear junkie, I totally get it – but it doesn’t buy you more success.  Just because you look the part doesn’t mean that you are.  My gear game is relatively weak, my entire streamer fishing set up cost me no more than $350 for the complete rig.  Same for the rest of my rigs – I wear beat up, patched several times over waders, and a jacket that smells like a sweaty gym locker because it has been with me through several years.  I don’t fit in with most crowds I suppose as a result – but  I don’t care.

Sure, you are right to accuse me of “hiding behind a keyboard” after all, I do have a blog.  However, the only propaganda that I hope that I spread is don’t be an asshole, and be respectful of others that are enjoying the exact same resources as you.

8 responses

  1. Well written and true. I think I’m a hypocrite though…without realizing it I often find myself drawn into it, and participating, then feeling inferior….then superior…then inferior again.


    March 25, 2015 at 9:07 am

    • I’m in the same boat Ian! I work hard to create an environment around me of inclusion ….however fall severly short at times. I don’t like feeling like I have to be something that I’m not just to “fit in” – I’m learning to accept it for what it is and just move on.


      March 25, 2015 at 9:32 am

  2. Joe

    I think this is true of a lot of different sports and hobbies, but in a sport that makes it living off of selling $900 rods, $500 reels, and all the fancy gadgets and doo-dads, a mid-thirties guy who shows up in $60 waders, a $150 setup, and isnt old enough or wealthy enough to fit into one group, and not young enough or something else enough to fit another… can get pretty disenchanted.

    I would say for those that have buddies to fish with – cherish that. For those of us that have to go alone, be open and welcoming to those wanting to learn.

    I learned to fish in a different style, and really came to my own in another place that people often pay a lot of money to go – I hate having to drop this in a brag just to gain “cred” with some folks.

    Part of the solution is when you have a chance – online or IRL, model the way you want the world to be. The more of US that are out there, the more we create a contrast with the types of folk that we dont think uphold the sport.

    Good post!


    March 25, 2015 at 11:20 am

  3. AtomicTree

    Well said….and as mentioned, this mentality reigns supreme in all corners of the netz. It’s the same tune on other hobby forums I’m part of….car enthusiasts, shooting and hunting guys, knitting aficionados….they all talk game that they probably can’t back up (no way you triple Scottish stitched that afghan Gretchen!). But as we know…the Internet is a double edged sword. I probably would still be duckin’ and chuck’n with Amnesia a few days a year instead of wasting hours of my life tying huge flies and collecting multiple rigs with my wife’s money to still fish only a few days of the year (but I love it). The online fly fishing community is essential for people like me who don’t have access to IRL people who know this sport. I”m unbelievably grateful for those that have guided me the way they have. It’s made my time on the water way more productive and enjoyable even if I don’t catch many fish (Instead of being discouraged every time because the 10$ egg patterns I’m ripping through mis-read water in July aren’t producing fish).

    But per Rocka….you do have to endure the fables/BS and be careful to weed out the misinformation. I think if people just stopped worrying about their street cred and how magnificent their beard and hat combo is, it would be an even better community….but the Internet will always be the Internet so I suppose we should be grateful for what we have. Stil….don’t judge me from you shiny drift boat because I’m a walk-in, slam Incinerator (knock off, more potent Fireball) before 9AM and get way too excited about that small steelhead I didn’t land. Let’s just fish….but not too close to me bro, I got here first and just hooked a 45lb CoHo that I couldn’t land because my Pantagonia double taper versi-tip’d sharkskin shooting line couldn’t handle my scandi cast and kinked….but I’ve got this new secret fly I made from unicorn mane hair that is going to totally get him back….

    Liked by 2 people

    March 25, 2015 at 1:13 pm

  4. Bruce Petray

    Once we were in a RV park (we travel for our job) …. A Young couple pulls in with an older Motorhome, it had been repainted with “Spray Cans”, yes it looked rough. They set up and promptly left for a Local Beach. Several of the “Older” RV’ers around made comments about such a rough RV being in “This Park”, I finally had to say “I wish I had been smart enough to do what they are doing when I was their age” …. it’s not about the equipment one uses but more about the enjoyment they get!

    Thanks for the article, we all need a reminder every once in a while about the IMPORTANCE of Life’s Pleasures!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 25, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    • Bruce, thanks for sharing that story! That is a really great perspective – its more about the experiences and less about our possessions.


      March 25, 2015 at 2:01 pm

  5. I just made a somewhat similar post about this topic on my blog. Not that I am trying to fit in but I noticed the stares and treatment I get from other fishermen because I’m not doing it “their” way. Yes I have a fancy Swing rod but it pales in comparison to other rods. I’m still the same person but because I don’t plug, or drift spawn under a float I’m one of “those guys”. I’m just me, I’m not trying to fit in with a group. I just want to catch a fish or two and then watch him/her swim away. I’m not hurting anyone, why do I have to be treated like a leper?


    March 25, 2015 at 4:15 pm

  6. Michelle

    It has it’s good and it’s bad just like anything else. But not being an asshole is Is #1 for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 25, 2015 at 4:49 pm

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