Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Rift Runs Through It

I recently attended the acclaimed (rightfully so) Fly Fishing Film Tour in Austin. It was nothing short of spectacular, and everyone seemed to have a blast. For the uninitiated, the FFF tour provides the happy ticket holder with the chance to view a series of vignettes from new independent films about...well fly fishing.

These are exciting times in fly fishing. We are witnessing a convergence of modern pop culture and "the quiet sport". Never before has there been such mind-blowing photography and cinematography about our beloved sport. This new generation has mad skills.

A whole new genre of magazines and "e-zines" have popped up with a definite nod to the more urban, hip fly-fisher. Not surprisingly, the new generation fly-fisher is comfortable...perhaps even co-dependent on... their tech toys. This ease with technology serves as a catalyst for a plethora of available information, images, and...dare I say...angst toward the older guard of fly fishing.

Let's be honest. There is a culture and generational gap in fly fishing today. I read posts on blogs that drip with disdain for the contributions from luminaries like Lefty Kreh, Dave Whitlock, and Bob Clouser, to name a few.

I think what is really being communicated is not a disrespect for those gurus, but rather a desire by the millennial generation to experience fly fishing themselves rather than read about it from books written by someone. It's a common trait of this demographic group.

I have a sneaking suspicion that there may be a few in the older crowd who rail against the younger set as well, perhpas less publicly because they may not be as comfortable posting on the web.

It isn't surprising. We shouldn't be shocked that the same types of generational tensions that occur in society at large are also evident in our little sub-culture.

Personally I think it's great. It means that the sport is still viable, and continuing to attract young people. These young film makers not only are drawing a whole new audience that sees fly-fishing as cool...they are sowing the seeds that may well draw the next Lefty to our sport.

So let's cut them some slack. We might all learn some things from each other, and witness some cool video in the process.

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