You might read the headline of this blog and think: What the hell does snowboarding have to do with fly-fishing? If you are a fly-fishing newbie, I can totally understand why such a question would be raised. However, I’d be willing to bet that all you veteran, die hard fly guys can draw a comparison immediately. So much has changed in fly-fishing in recent years. In 2012, fly-fishing’s old subtitle, “The Quiet Sport” is about as accurate as the bad guys in a James Bond flick. We have wisened up and shifted away from the uppity, snooty stereotypes associated with our sport. We’ve embraced a culture and lifestyle that resembles that of other outdoor sports such as surfing, wakeboarding, snow skiing and snowboarding.
At the 2012 International Fly Tackle Dealer Show in Reno, Nevada last weekend, Al Perkinson of Costa Sunglasses invited about a dozen progressive fly-fishing minds to a round table discussion about this shift and how it could be utilized to grow our sport.
Synergy opportunities came up immediately. In fact, that was one of the bigger portions of the discussion and while many outdoor sports came up, snowboarding seemed to be the one that was referred to the most.
We all agreed that fly-fishing should never forget its roots but that we should also be proactive in widening its appeal in an attempt to keep the industry healthy.
When I came back to the office yesterday and began digging through a pile of emails, I came across one from Annie Fast of Bedrocket Media Ventures. The email was titled: Snowboard x FlyfishingCollab. I opened it up and watched the attached video highlighting the collaboration between Signal Snowboards and Abel Reels.
Coincidental? I think not. Personally, I was thrilled to know that players outside the fly-fishing industry are thinking in the same vein as we are. Whether you watch the video or not, at the very least, scan through the comments. Quite a few fly-fishing/snowboarder hybrids out there, wouldn’t you say?
Yeah, yeah, yeah — there’s nothing salty about this video but that’s really not the point. The point has to do with the fact that the individuals at Perkinson’s round table discussion aren’t the only ones who recognize the commonalities between snowboarding and fly-fishing. I know that on the salt water side, I am seeing fewer and fewer anglers being choked by the drawstrings of wide brimmed booney hats and many more wearing flat billed, mesh, trucker hats (sometimes even slightly tilted to the side).
Yep — nowadays, it’s quite uncommon to pat your fishing buddy on the back and use words like “terrific”, “fantastic” or “wonderful” to describe the great day of fishing they just had. Instead, it’s much more likely for an angler to follow up a fist bump with words like “Dude!”, “Epic!”, or “Bitchin!” I realize that you can’t definitively determine a culture shift based on headwear, lingo, and body language alone. However, these small details provide undeniable evidence of a major transition, a transition that I support wholeheartedly because I truly believe it’s the foundation of how fly-fishing can, and will, grow.