this introduction note by Pete Tyjas caught my fancy as this topic goes hand in hand with the little 60 or so posts of the ‘brainwashem’ young’ series here on TLC designed to attract our younger friends to our passion. i can’t really figure out the ‘why’ aspect but i like the idea that each one of us does a little something once in a while to share fly fishing to someone else. sure, its quite possible we all might be eaten soon by zombies but on the other hand, we might defeat those ugly/stinking-sticky/disgusting creatures and get to continue on with our normal fly fishing lives. something tells me it’s probably worth doing.
” I’ve had some interesting conversations recently about the average age of fly anglers in the UK. It sounds like it comes in near to retirement age and has given cause for concern.
I have worked professionally in fly fishing for over ten years now and when I first started I am pretty sure these numbers were being quoted back then. Before this I have to be honest and say I had no idea.
It was a shock when I first heard this and it still is. Look at the scene in the US or Scandinavia for instance which seems to be booming. Fly fishing in these places is seen as cool, hip and trendy and works hand in hand with the whole “great outdoors” thing.
In the UK we generally don’t have access to big expanses of wilderness but we are lucky to have large areas of wild fishing where you might not see another angler. I count myself lucky to have one such example on my doorstep – Dartmoor.
Not everyone has though and it is where our reservoirs and put and take stillwater fisheries fill a gap. Small stillwaters also work well for the occasional angler who wants a few rainbows for the pot too.
But what of those of us whose lives revolve around fly fishing? We dream about it, tie flies when we can’t go, read books and enjoy magazines to fill the void. Are we a minority?
Not so long ago I was starting to think this but now I am not so sure. We have great schemes like Get Hooked which introduces youngsters to all forms of fishing, Mayfly in the classroom and numerous days run by the likes of the Environment Agency and Salmon and Trout Association. I wonder how many schemes like this were being run 30 years ago?
It seems to me that the dynamic has changed a little and there is a wide range of activities that parents take their children to. When I was younger I’d play football in the winter and cricket in the summer and do some fishing for carp too. That was about it. Nowadays, there are musical instrument lessons, horse riding, ballet, football, rugby amongst many other pastimes, along with tennis which also is enjoying a resurgence too. All along with the often-mentioned computer games.
Fishing has always been there in the background and sometimes the love for it is lost for a while and then rediscovered a little further down the line. It might be one of the reasons the average age of anglers is higher but since embarking on ESF I have met plenty of fly anglers in their 20s to 40s who fish hard, sleep in cars, chase the hatches and live for fly fishing.
It has left me far from despondent about the state of fly fishing and those entering it. We have to be honest and say it is a niche pastime but I have been greatly encouraged to see not one but two new TV shows featuring fly fishing in the last few months. One of those was on terrestrial TV too which is surely a positive. Kudos to TV execs for making such a bold choice.
So, we enter 2014 and I can’t wait to go fishing in the company of friends and hope I get the chance to bring more people into our great pastime.
Good fishing! “
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