Had a chance to catch this year’s F3T in Gig Harbor last night; a great venue with a solid donation raised for the Native Fish Society (something north of $2100 and change).
As with preceding F3T’s the evening produced a heartfelt belly laugh and a bevy of other reactions, including overt envy, several why the hell didn’t I think of that moments, an epoch or two of stupefying boredom and a genuine heart-touching story (Doc of the Drakes).
Mulling my F3T experience over today a few things popped to mind….
F3T is a great place to connect with people.
Some guys that I respect greatly have nailed the ‘milieu’ that often surrounds an F3T event; if you’ve not seen JP Lipton’s, Joshua Bergen’s or Tom Chandler’s (now classic) commentary on the tour, read ‘em now.
Those insights duly noted, the last few of these I’ve been to it’s been a goal to chat up somebody who’s doing great stuff for fisheries or fly fishing. This year it was my pleasure to meet Michael Moody, the ED of the Native Fish Society.
There are some pretty amazing guys and gals doing a lot of work, most often out of the high-vis limelight, wearing jeans to work, rolling up their sleeves and getting things done.
By the way, the lion’s share of these guys and gals aren’t the loud ones at the tour bar or beer table and they’re probably not the ones dancing naked at the after party.
Like Bonefish Bjorn wrote today, if I had to predict the future of fly fishing based on last night’s attendees, I’d say fly fishing overall has a recruitment issue.
Sounds like Bjorn found the SF F3T crowd to be more mature and male than he might have expected; it was decidedly so in Gig.
Nothing wrong with that, and in fact rod, reel and gear manufacturers love convincing monied, established fishers they must have the latest and best gear on the planet.
To my aging eye the crowds in Bozeman and Missoula have been a lot younger (comparatively speaking) in recent years and I hear that in some of the southern and coastal venues younger fishers rule the day.
Is F3T the savior of fly fishing? I’d vote no, but they’re sure as hell helping the game.
Fly fishing does have a recruitment issue, but that’s for another day…
Technology has a big lead on storytelling.
The technological side of fly fishing film-making is light years ahead of it’s red-headed stepchild – telling a great story. The storytelling aspect is coming along, though at nowhere close to the pace of the changes on the tech side.
Crafting an engaging, compelling story is much easier said than done; hell, Hollywood can’t get it done all that often either.
Several of this year’s features took on the challenge of telling a story about something other than an exotic destination most fishers will never see. The ‘fish where you are’ theme of Urban Lines was masterfully woven into a story about a fishery most of us would never ever think about otherwise. Good stuff.
Bottom line on F3T – by all means go, drink a beer or two and shake the hand of and chat up somebody you don’t know.
They’ve probably got a story to tell.