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Federation of Fly Fishers: Great Mission, But Lose the "Conclave" Moniker

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June 20, 2011

Federation of Fly Fishers: Great Mission, But Lose the "Conclave" Moniker

By Kirk Deeter

by Kirk Deeter

The other day, I was asked if I was a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers . To be honest with you, I'm not. I should join. The FFF does a lot of really great things by way of teaching people how to cast and tie flies. They have a standardized format for teaching people how to teach casting and, by and large, that's a good thing. The conservation work FFF does is very admirable and I give FFF credit for publishing a code of angling ethics in five languages.

Yet, I hear FFF people wonder aloud why the organization can't crack into the younger angling demographic. For one, I think a rigid, standardized, "certified" casting/teaching approach doesn't appeal to a young angler who wants to free-form it and innovate on the water. Standards for instruction aren't bad, but the perception that there's a rule book for casting doesn't appeal to some people.

For me, the rub with FFF comes down to one word: "Conclave". FFF's big annual event (this year, August 31-September 3 in West Yellowstone, Montana) is its "conclave." What's in a name?

Well, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a conclave is:

1: a private meeting or secret assembly; especially: a meeting of Roman Catholic cardinals secluded continuously while choosing a pope. 2: a gathering of a group or association.

Now, I know that FFF is going off the secondary definition. And when you go to their website, FFF is obviously trying to be inclusive, offering "fly fishing information for everyone." The happy rainbow colors on the "conclave" web page seem inviting enough.

But the word "conclave" smacks so much of the stodgy, self-important, exclusive boys club stigma that has plagued fly fishing for years, I think the name alone does great damage to FFF. At a time when the future of this sport depends on cracking through stereotypes, and when young anglers want information more than anything else, any name associated with a "private" or "secret" definition is going to keep FFF hamstrung.

Change the conclave name, and FFF can go a long way to changing perception about its organization and the sport as a whole. Just one humble opinion.

Comments (41)

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Kirk, have you ever considered the social demographic. Socially, I fish with the majority of folks in the 10 years younger than me and 25 years older than me. But I see a huge social distinction between what I see as your average organized group membership and the folks I fish and hang out with. I would liken most of the folks I fish with as being "Drakish", or like the common posting members of drake.com. All good minded, conservation minded folks, with a socially different twist on things. They just don't fit other molds.

I wish there was a group like The Greenbacks near Colorado Springs...

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from smdmz wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Well said. 21-year-old angler just recently getting into the fly fishing game in the past couple years, I actually did run across the FFF while I was learning, and it was a bit off-putting. I visited their website and the whole "conclave" title immediately made me raise an eyebrow. Maybe it's just my nature to turn away from paid memberships to clubs or organizations, but this one wasn't just about the money. I think I'll just stick to fly fishing with some buddies, teaching myself, and talking to the older and wiser fly fishermen in the shops and out on the water.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I say you are wrong Deeter, but nothing new on that front. Standard teaching is fine. Flexibility needs to be emphasized, but the standard format teaches you sound principles so you can be flexible. The problem with FFF is its elitist status that turns off young anglers. It's the attachment with the flyshops that promote the need for very expensive tackle to get started as the way to go...I know, I ran into it first hand. I ran a 'learn to fly cast" session for an entire 8th grade class. My theme was, "it doesn't cost you that much to get started" and I brought good casting outfits that cost less than $100. The next session I was told by the organizer, that FFF was coming to the session, and would help me out. In they walked before the session, and one instructor scrutinized my equipment, and the woman said, " what did you bring that crap here for?" They had all Sage equipment for the students to use. I turned it over to them and left.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I might further that Deeter because I got into a slight confrontation with the female instructor. After she bad mouthed my equipment, I asked her if she'd like to see how well my equipment cast? She said, "So what? That is not the nature of our business! She was a guide, and an FFF licensed instructor, and she said, that is what we promote and sell. And that sums it up and why you have such a generation gap. When a person becomes successful financially in life, they are the folks that turn to fly fishing, and that separates them from the Ave. Joe crowd. Her client that can afford the $450-$500 a day guide fee is the consumer the industry looks for.

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from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

So how am I wrong? You said I was wrong, then basically reinforced the points I made. It's important to me because the more you agree with me, the more worried I get, Sayfu.

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from badsmerf wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Every type of fishing has an elitist affiliation of some sort. I have thought about joining TU simply for the opportunity to interact and learn from experienced anglers. I do hope there is more of a push to connect with younger generations.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Oh boy. Awful deep thoughts here for a Monday morning.

I'll let you boys sort this stuff out. I'll just fish.

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from Marshall Bissett wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Kirk: Your comments are right on. Ironically the FFF voted to rename it"EXPO" but this was somehow forgotten. Maybe they should call it a "rave" and really upset the old guard!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Deeter..You are wrong in believing that a standardized approach to teaching fly fishing is wrong. I'm not a certified instructor, and didn't feel the need to be when they started that program, but I do like good standardized fundamentals being taught. With good fundementals you can apply them to whatever kind of cast you want to use. I am doing that right now with spey casting, and understand how the fundamental principles apply. But the big problem you did not address, and that is the elitism that is causing the generation gap. The expensive equipment makers are price fixing, and controlling the market price. Sage just discontinued their Z-Axis line of rods, and recently gave the shops the OK to discount them. That is price fixing in my book, and the FFF is connected to that, gets protection from the mfgers so they push the high end product. And to go along with that, many of the well healed anglers that take up flyfishing are happy to see the generation gap, and don't want to see a bunch of "little people" out fishing their waters. And I see nothing wrong with that from their stand point. If I made a lot of money, I might choose to go to expensive restaurants just to keep the general public out.

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from MLH wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I was a member for awhile since membership was associated with a local group, of which I still belong. Good organization, but I have to admit the use of "conclave" also took me a step back ... and I ain't that young.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Who even knows the definition of Conclave?.sure not this guy, and I doubt that turns off many that want to get into the sport. I am convinced that if the organizations involved wanted to promote the fact how cheap it is to get into flyfishing they'd bridge the gap. I find it necessary to promote that notion all of the time. Many times on this thread where young folks think fly fishing is for the rich. It is incredibly cheap compared to other outdoor sports. But those involved at the top are a tight fraternity tied to the flyshops that sell expensive gear.
The guy that headed up the FFF group that came to help me teach young people how to cast owned one of the famous flyshops in Montana, and is recognized as one of the top knowledgeable anglers in the entire country. I like the guy, but he promotes expense equipment.

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from backcast wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

You're right, "conclave" is a funny word, no matter who is using it. Sounds like anatomy. "Grandma broke her conclave-she'll be out of commission for a while." I don't really have any feelings either way regarding the FFF, since I've never had any dealings with them. But I will say that a lot of the elitist attitude in flyfishing comes from fly shop employees who act as though you have no knowledge of the sport...and when you start really talking to them, they don't know much that hasn't come from a book, or is second-hand information spewed back at you from another source. Don't get me wrong, most dudes in shops are great, but when you encounter one of the "elites" it's pretty off-putting.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

backcast. It is a specialty shop, the fly shop, and they sell specialty, high priced gear, and have to promote it to exist. For promoting it the manufacturers give them price protection, and won't let other big box stores even carry the product, or, in some cases, even another fly shop that wants to open, but is in too close proximity to an already existing shop. All the power to them in making the sale, but it does create the generation gap, and hamper young anglers from getting into the sport. It is if the conclave of accredited drivers teaches you how to drive using a Porsche, and then tells you to go to the local Porsche dealer and buy your car. The fly shop can't compete with all the inexpensive gear that is out now, so they down play it as not good enough to get started with. I did the same thing when I ran a flyshop.

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from shane wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

So much contention among fly anglers. I like the philosophy of those unsophisticated (oxymoron?) spinning gear cheater guys. It goes like this -

Catch fish. Have fun. Who cares.

Seriously. Take a hint.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Shane..I think you got on the wrong page again..this is the fly fishing page. I see no problem with contention. The fly angling community wants better and stronger fisheries, protection of native fish, better habitat. They also need more fly anglers to support the fly fishing approach to better fisheries, and that becomes a problem as to how to achieve the goal of increasing new participants. Here's an interesting observation I have had over many years, and thousands of days on the water. It is the spin guy that often brings up what a snob the fly angler is. Time after time I hear it contested by the spin angler how elitist the fly guy is...but I have NEVER heard a fly guy on the water bad mouthing a spin guy, NEVER. They go about having fun fishing their way, and spin little time criticizing others for their way of fishing. The intellectual contention as you call it, is off the water, and debated to improve fly angling.

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from William Romeis wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Conclave Schmonclave... I don't think the FFF having a conclave means diddly to young people..... The reason there aren't more young people fly fishing is because there aren't enough old people taking their kids fishing, or their grandkids, or their nephews, or nieces....or the neighbors kids.
As a relative newcomer to fly fishing who didn't start until he was in his 60's I can testify to wishing someone had put a fly rod... any fly rod in my hand at a younger age. I was lucky, my Dad put a cut down, cheap golf club in my hand at age 8. I was hooked for life. If that had been a fly rod, I might be able to make a decent cast by now....

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

oleyakler, I sure believe you on the conclave thoughts, but the reason we have so few young people taking it up? I dunno, I can have mixed feelings on that. I work with young people, lots of them all the time in the high schools, and I am known as the fly fishing guy, and teller of many fishing stories. Many feel it is for the rich, and too expensive, and I dispel that all the time. Many bring up the point that their dad took them fishing when younger, and it was BORING!!..that is a common theme, and I dispel that notion differentiating between fly fishing, and sitting and waiting for a bite. I live in one of the greatest areas in all the USA for fly fishing, and few young people are taking it up, but many, many, many of them dirt bike! I can see it as the immediate gratification of today's youth, and it takes too long to get decent at fly fishing, and be able to catch fish.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Lots of issues here. I don't even know where to begin.

The fly fishing industry is lucky. It has an unlimited supply of children who love to fish. Can you say Snoopy fly rod?

I have been fly fishing and hanging out in fly fishing circles for many years. I have yet to spot the "elitist" everyone talks about. If someone could post a picture of one I will be sure to watch out for them.

The days of just going to the river and fish are over. Sportsman must now donate time and/or money to assure these resources are available for generations to come. How many spin-fishing conservations groups are there?

Sayfu, A young blond showed up at my front door wanting to earn some extra cash. Having put off painting the porch I quickly hired her. After a short time she was back at my front door wanting paid. Surprised, I explained, "How could you have painted the entire porch in such a short time?" She said it was no problem, besides, it's not a porch, it's a Lexus.

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Your essay is about one word: Conclave. The FFF has done an excellent job at developing a formula to standardize many aspects of fly fishing. This formula does not exclude forward thinking nor does it discriminate one's ability to more past that formula once you learned the teaching method. There is no where in the books for the CCI where it says you 'can't' cast such and such a way. The FFF has only formulated how to teach the basics. IMHO by the pure definition of Conclave, which I have enclosed gives me a neither a warm and fuzzy feeling nor chest pains. I hate anything that smacks of elitism. Call it Fest, call it Synod, Cast-o-Rama, Forum, Throng or 'meet for a beer'... I really don't care what the name of a national meeting. I only care that we promote fly fishing to the masses and work on special projects for the betterment of our resources.
The membership for this organization is optional, as is to TU and other, relating to the enjoyment of fly fishing. There are many things I dislike about FFF, however those are over ridden by the good thinks I've seen.
I think what Sayfu encountered may have been a fluke, I for one would have embraced all his efforts. My clients are not instructed to purchase only one brand. I supply many companies rods so that there is a chance to 'feel' the difference. My preference for the new caster is a package under $250.00 that my local fly shop has put together for me. Rod, line, tippet, reel....the FFF has never said I can't promote or distribute the company or their equipment.
But CONCLAVE.....I can' take it or leave it.

conclave |ˈkänˌklāv|
noun
a private meeting.
• (in the Roman Catholic Church) the assembly of cardinals for the election of a pope.
• the meeting place for such an assembly.

PS. Thanks for the book.... now I have two autographed copies! Very thoughtful.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

flutter..NO FLUKE! When I instruct as a independent instructor, I have no ties to flyshops, or guide organizations. My theme is how inexpensive fly fishing can be, as an honest approach to overcoming the obstacle of potential newbies thinking it is a rich guys sport. What I experienced is what goes on when FFF, or when TU gets involved in casting instruction, or in fly fishing schools. Orvis puts on one of the best fly fishing schools goin the entire package with outstanding facilities..but it promotes Orvis' expensive gear, and the schools are expensive. I have no problem with that. FFF is often tied in with the flyshops, FFF members are their customers..the shops can only sell high end gear that they are provided protection from the discounters. I have no problem with that either. The FFF members that showed up for my class, and were going to run, and not ask how they can help me..the lead guy is a famous fly angler, owns a world renown flyshop, and they were promoting top of the line gear totally at odds with what I had told the students the day before. No problem, I left, and turned it over to them. So how many of those junior High students had a grand burning a hole in their pocket, and ran right out and spent it buying a Sage rod, and a high end reel and line?

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from Rhythm Rider wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Keep it up KD. I see your point. In the end I'll just take the good (code of angling ethics, and desire to teach) with the bad (elite attitude, perfectionism, general snobbery). You don't have to cast perfectly with expensive equipment to catch fish. If so, I wouldn't be as obsessed with fly tying and fishing as I am. Ugly casts, ugly equipment, and ugly fishermen catch fish. I think Lefty Kreh seems to understand this concept and has done great work bringing great equipment to market for a good price. There shouldn't be an economic or social barrier to this sport. Thanks for the thoughts.

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Damn Sayfu It's terrible when you try to do something as nice as your project and they step on our toes. Since that was the case... yeah I'd stop working with them too.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Why it happened was I taught school with a teacher that was the organizer of the "Learn to cast" class. He asked me if I would instruct them knowing I taught fly fishing schools. I said fine. The FFF had provided fly vices, and fly tying materials for the guy, and he taught a class in fly tying. Somehow, before the next casting session the FFF guys heard about the casting class, and told him they would be there to instruct for the next session. I anticipated a problem knowing the equipment they would use. Here they came, and I was right. I just turned it over to them. Mark it up to bad coordination. The teacher, organizer was trying to please everyone.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I'm again taking up a lot of cyber space on this thing, but it is a great subject to discuss. And I do not have an answer to it as well. The FFF guys, the TU guys, the flyshop guys, that are interconnected do a great job of instructing new fly anglers. Many are very good anglers, and they give of their time to benefit the sport. But it is the rich guy problem that needs to be overcome. They promote the high end product that, and it can not be overcome. They can't compete with the low end product line that the big box stores carry. So who can fill the gap? Not the big box stores. They often have no expertise to even sell the low end stuff, let alone convince anyone they should buy the more expensive gear. A Catch 22 IMO.

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from Kyle M wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Wow - What "back handed" slap at an organization that you say you should have joined a long time ago... As a 27 year member of the FFF.please let me answer a couple of your points:

"For one, I think a rigid, standardized, "certified" casting/teaching approach doesn't appeal to a young angler who wants to free-form it and innovate on the water. Standards for instruction aren't bad, but the perception that there's a rule book for casting doesn't appeal to some people."

The FFF dose NOT have a set group of casting instructions that everyone must follow. I've learned different techniques and styles of casting from dozens of FFF instructors. And I bet you a steak dinner that if you can cast well, that you don't use some esoteric, freeform casting method.

As far a the term "conclave" goes in regards to attracting younger fly fishers, this too is a red herring. You see, the various Councils of the FFF use differing terms for their shows: Conclaves, EXPO's Fly Fairs, Show and etc. As one who was very involved in changing the name of one Council's show from Conclave to EXPO, I can guarantee that the net increase in young attendees as a result of this change was ZERO!!! Nada... NONE!!

I would expect one in your position to do a little more research before attacking (and yes it WAS an attack) an organization with the fine record of the Federation of Fly Fishers. For instance did you know that the average age of a fly fisher is late 50's and that the average age to START fly fishing is 35!

With all the competition that younger people have for their attention, it is no wonder that too few have joined the FFF... Even you stated that you should have done so long ago!

Instead of throwing bombs at the FFF, I would invite you, your fellow staff writers and edits, and fly fishing friends to join this great organization. After all, YOU already said that it has been too long that you have not been one of us!

Now, how elitist was that? HA!

Kyle M

PS

In my 27+ years, elitism in the last thing that I've found from my associations with hundreds of wonderful, gracious and giving folks who have taught and given me and my kids so much. I will always be a member of the Federation ofFly Fishers and if any one who reads this posting has any interest in this sport, I would also invite you to check out your nearest FFF Club or Council event... even if it is called a "Conclave"! HA!

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from joaxe wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I got a few good tips recently from an FFF member/instructor, even though I have been FF-ing for several years and learned casting from books/videos. It helped me cast better!

Also, I don't have any patience for any "elitist" mentality or display in FF (or ANY kind of fishing, for that matter). If an "elitist" brings that crap to the stream I'm fishing in...he's going for a little swim!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

The "elitism" label comes from the spin guy, the lure guynot the fly guy. As I mentioned, in all the days I've spent on the water, and they are many. I've told fellow anglers, I lost wives, and jobs over those fish, especially steelhead on the fly. Never have I heard a fly angler look down on a lure/spin fisherman. It is the other way around. The mention of some well healed guy falling off the cover of an Orvis catalog, wearing $4,000 on the hoof is fairly prevalent. They resent the fly anglers pursuit of "special regs" and fly angler ethics are chastised as elitism. $1,000 outfits as apposed to a $39.95 outfit loaded with line smacks of elitism to them. It disturbs me that the journalistic approach now seems to want to blend it all in together as the best way to get sport fishing lobby support..the can't we all just get along thing. So we get, on these threads, a type of journalism suggesting, "if your fly isn't working, open up a can of worms." The can of worms has been opened.

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from Kyle M wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I have been a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) since 1968. As the Chairman of the Board and President/CEO and a volunteer I am very proud of what the Federation represents.

What I have found in my corporate experience is that when an organization is successful there is always someone who wishes to discredit the company's efforts. To me the FFF is made up of some of the best people in the world. In fact, we have become the fly fishing voice of the world; both nationally and inter-nationally.

There is no other organization specializing in the sport of fly fishing while promoting conservation and teaching future environmentalists in the world. Our organization is represented in 16 foreign countries with 15 councils within the United States. One major focus is to increase our membership which is in process.

The FFF has never considered itself an elitist group. Our core value is to enhance conservation and preserve the environment where fisheries are concerned plus support the sport of fly fishing. We do this by educating our children as the future stewards of our rivers, lakes, streams and watersheds. If we can teach them about nature and a better way of life, they can use these skills productively and we will have done our job. Yes we have our critics but that will not deter our mission and goals.

Our annual meeting will be in two months in which we will address the word "conclave".

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Philip Greenlee
President FFF

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I am tired of hearing out the 'next generation' and what we need to do for them. It is this generation, the people her now that have to be taught how to preserve, protect and use the resources. The 'children of tomorrow' are not the ones dumping toxins, harvesting endangered fauna or building dams. Look where the money is and you'll find the guilty. Rarely does a corporation that strips the land have a board of fly fisherman. IT'S THIS GENERATION OR BETTER THE HUMANS LIVING ON THIS PLANET THAT NEED TO WAKE UP TO THE DIMINISHING RESOURCES. The FFF and T.U are both working hard to accomplish something important and if you sit on your ass and do nothing I lump you in the first offender group. IMHO!

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from Kyle M wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Sanfu,

You have gone on and on about your contact with one shop, "It is a specialty shop, the fly shop, and they sell specialty, high priced gear, and have to promote it to exist."

Just because this shop has FFF certified instructors, it does NOT mean that this shop represents the Federation of Fly Fishers. I would ask you to please remember that the FFF certifies instructors on their ability to cast and instruct, not on what they may sell! Most of these certified instructors are NOT associated with shops but became certified so that they would learn to be better instructors.

You may wish to learn that:

"The Casting Instructor Certification Program began in 1992 for the purpose of enhancing the overall level of instruction in fly casting, including instructor knowledge, casting proficiency, and teaching ability.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM:
To educate and enhance the growth of fly casting instructors by:
-establishing high standards for teaching
-conducting teaching workshops that are a required part of the certification
-administering a test that assesses the applicants knowledge of casting, teaching ability, and casting proficiency
-conducting clinics on how to teach flycasting at FFF shows, conclaves and at consumer fishing shows
-establishing and maintaining communication networks for certified instructors " http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4454

In addition, you allude to some great conspiracy, i.e. "They promote the high end product" and "That is price fixing in my book, and the FFF is connected to that,gets protection from the mfgers so they push the high end product. And to go along with that, many of the well healed anglers that take up flyfishing are happy to see the generation gap, and don't want to see a bunch of "little people" out fishing their waters."

However, the reality is in fact quite different! How? Well for at least the last five years, the FFF's club membership incentive rods have been supplied by TFO:

http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4676

Yes, TFO... not exactly the most "elitist" company in the fly fishing industry! It seems to me that the FFF is actually doing exactly what you said that you desired, i.e. "My theme is how inexpensive fly fishing can be, as an honest approach to overcoming the obstacle of potential newbies thinking it is a rich guys sport."

I am sorry that you had a bad experience with one shop and their instructors, but please understand that this great organization tha is the Federation is comprised of thousands of people, including hundreds of certified casting instructors.

You do no one any good by painting us all with such a broad brush...

Please also understand that one of the FFF's core missions is EDUCATION. It is what the organization was/is built upon. You cannot go to any FFF Conclave/EXPO/Fly Fair... without finding Youth Programs. I now that there has been at least one such program at the 40+ conclaves /EXPOs/Fly Fairs that I have attended in the last 27 years!

Again, I would ask you, and everyone else reading this posting, to attend such a Federation sponsored program/Conclave/EXPO/Fly Fair and learn about what we do...

In addition, if ya' do attend, I can guarantee that you'll have a great time!

Tight lines,

Kyle Moppert
President
Gulf Coast Council
Federation of Fly Fishers

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Kyle M....And I continue to go on, and on. No, it is NOT the attachment to one shop..it is universal across the country. TU guys, FFF guys support the flyshops, and understandably so. Why would they put forth the effort to work for the Big Box Store? Why would they donate their time for WalMart? And in essence, that is what they would be doing. The fly shops can't compete with low end items. For instance, they carry the 444 Cortland fly lines because they get pro-shop protection. Do they carry the 333 lines that are in the big box stores? NO, Why would they suggest to a customer they are very good lines using their qualified employees time telling them that, and then have the person go buy it at a better price at the box store? The groups I mentioned work well together promoting fly fishing, but there is a disconnect in getting a newbie equipment/introduced with inexpensive gear that today, you can do if it is scrutinized as to what you should have. The box store can't scrutinize it for you for the most part. They have unqualified help. I have no answer just a commonsense evaluation based on a lot of time spent teaching, guiding, in the class room talking fly fishing with young people.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Now I read your entire post Kyle...something I did not know about TFO..they are great marketers, and their sales reflect that. If they supplied their outfits that is a good move in removing the problem I have talked about. Here is a for instance. I sold Cortland in my pro shop. I carried 10 lines of Cortland to 1 line of SA. The big shots form SA came in one day, and asked me why the so few SA lines compared to Cortand. I told the gentleman the facts. I tell folks Cortlands 444 line is the best you can by, especially their dry lines, and far better than SA lines. I got price protection from Cortland, and I'd take the warranty card out of the box, and send them into Leon Chandler when I had accumulated about 100 cards with a note telling Leon how well sales were going. I'd get a kick back for every card, and a number of blem lines for my own use for a trip I told Leon I was planning on. I told the SA guys, " So why would I tell a customer exactly what they needed taking up my time and then want to sell them a SA line when I knew they were headed out the door, and down to the big discounter down the street? There answer was, "We could sue Cortland for price fixing, but they are very small compared to 3M and not worth the time and effort. And if TU guys and FFF guys were my customers, and I supported them I'd expect them to support me in their efforts to introduce young anglers into the sport.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

And now I read more and continue to digress :) I should not have used the word elitist. I am against that notion myself. Why I used it is that is the term used my many folks in the community when they reflect on the fly fisherman. If there is a universal statement made by young people, it is how expensive it is to get into flyfishing..and boy do I jump at the chance to dispel that notion. And I did not bad mouth TU or FFF. I have given them great credit for their efforts.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Being that some 60% of all fly fishers also fish other non-fly disciplines, maybe the fly shop needs to become the pro shop....those same folks spending $$ on fly gear are spending just as much on their other non-fly gear.

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from Todd Tanner wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Here’s the thing, folks. There’s no need to get your shorts in a knot. If you want to join an angling or conservation group, then go ahead. The FFF and TU do good work, and we’re all better off for their continued involvement. But if it’s not your thing, don’t worry about it. Nobody is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to join.

The same thing with equipment. It doesn’t matter if you fish a bamboo rod that will set you back a month’s pay or a cheap graphite stick from Korea. Go out and have fun. That’s what it’s all about.

And when it comes to casting and instruction, there’s a pretty simple rule of thumb. Share what you know with people who want to learn. And if there’s something you’d like to improve at, listen to anglers who know more than you do. It’s really not that hard.

Here’s the thing. Gear doesn’t make an angler. Neither does skill. It’s all about passion. And if you love it, then make a point of giving back as much, or more, than you get from the sport. You can’t go wrong with that approach.

Cheers.

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from shane wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

"I have yet to spot the "elitist" everyone talks about."

"How many spin-fishing conservations groups are there?"

There he went!

To answer that question, there are a zillion. Any conservation group with the word angler, fishermen, fishing, etc. in it. They include all anglers. Chartering an exclusive one with the word fly in it and excluding the other methods then claiming superiority as conservationists is elitist BS.

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from shane wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Well actually there is nothing wrong with a specific, exclusive conservation group, but discounting the inclusive groups is where the BS comes in.

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from badsmerf wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I know you have had a bad experience and don't believe in the directing they go with things sayfu, but programs like these are one of the reasons we have places to fish.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

badsmerf. I can make a lot of different reflections on this subject for discussion purposes, and it comes from a professional lifetime of experiences. I seldom site the unusual circumstance. I sight the norm, and have tried to validate that. Just reflecting...I don't think the successful person in life choses to flyfish because every segment of society participates in it. Fly fishing IS a niche segment of sport fishing. It is like the person that has a bit of disposable income that joins a good golf country club. They join for the atmosphere, and type of people they are around. I respect that, and support that. And for me to say, for instance, I put a lot of inexpensive gear in the hands of some young anglers, and sent them out on the water and that is a good thing because it keeps them off the streets and out of trouble, is NOT what the fly angler wants. I know that is true just by the responses on this thread! How close is to close as an example?..No one said less than eye sight, or 400 yds, but me! So you think fly fishing is strictly after more warm bodies in the fraternity? NO! They want the better class of citizen with higher social skills, and eithics, and I do as well. Let the other bunch call it elitist, I could care less.

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from Rhythm Rider wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Kirk, I was first introduced to your work with the Little Red book last year, then through Midcurrent's fly fishing jazz posts. I can't help but laugh at what an instigator you may be. It keeps a guy like me (fellow instigator) on his toes.

After digesting the above article a few days, and today reading your recent FFJazz post I had to chuckle. Being a 20 year fan of jazz I know a lot of jazz enthusiasts to be pretty much elitists and above the rest when it comes to musical appreciation. Regardless, I'll always be a card carrying member of KUVO. While many KUVO listeners will tell you Wayne Shorter makes no sense to them, he may never have gotten to where he was without a firm foundation to question.

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from grhen wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

You would think that the editor of "Angling Trade" magazine, purporting to be "the buzz on the flyfishing bizz" would have noticed that the webpage he refers to lists the event by the title it has used for the past few years, "National Fly Fishing Fair & Conclave 2011". http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=972497

He might also might have wanted to add the fact that it is a public event and has been since its inception. Aside from that, when I attended my first "conclave" over 20 years ago it never occurred to me that it was a "stodgy, self-important, exclusive boys club". It was a gathering of like minded people offering their knowledge, freely given, to whomever was seeking it.

My first exposure to the word "conclave" was in relation to the early exploration of the US, west of the Mississippi. The mountain men of old held yearly conclave where they could trade their pelts and other goods as well as stock up on supplies for the next season.

As to the reason the sport can't crack into the younger generations is the same reasons that the hunting industry has the same problem, too many kids never exposed to the outdoors. It isn't just fly fishing having the problem and someone who is an expert on the "bizz" is being disingenuous to say so.

Also, just maybe, it is also the marketing approach the industry takes. To my knowledge there is only one fly shop out there that has taken full advantage of new media marketing trends and have become top dog, crushing its competition.

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from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

So how am I wrong? You said I was wrong, then basically reinforced the points I made. It's important to me because the more you agree with me, the more worried I get, Sayfu.

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from shane wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

So much contention among fly anglers. I like the philosophy of those unsophisticated (oxymoron?) spinning gear cheater guys. It goes like this -

Catch fish. Have fun. Who cares.

Seriously. Take a hint.

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from William Romeis wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Conclave Schmonclave... I don't think the FFF having a conclave means diddly to young people..... The reason there aren't more young people fly fishing is because there aren't enough old people taking their kids fishing, or their grandkids, or their nephews, or nieces....or the neighbors kids.
As a relative newcomer to fly fishing who didn't start until he was in his 60's I can testify to wishing someone had put a fly rod... any fly rod in my hand at a younger age. I was lucky, my Dad put a cut down, cheap golf club in my hand at age 8. I was hooked for life. If that had been a fly rod, I might be able to make a decent cast by now....

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Lots of issues here. I don't even know where to begin.

The fly fishing industry is lucky. It has an unlimited supply of children who love to fish. Can you say Snoopy fly rod?

I have been fly fishing and hanging out in fly fishing circles for many years. I have yet to spot the "elitist" everyone talks about. If someone could post a picture of one I will be sure to watch out for them.

The days of just going to the river and fish are over. Sportsman must now donate time and/or money to assure these resources are available for generations to come. How many spin-fishing conservations groups are there?

Sayfu, A young blond showed up at my front door wanting to earn some extra cash. Having put off painting the porch I quickly hired her. After a short time she was back at my front door wanting paid. Surprised, I explained, "How could you have painted the entire porch in such a short time?" She said it was no problem, besides, it's not a porch, it's a Lexus.

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from Rhythm Rider wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Keep it up KD. I see your point. In the end I'll just take the good (code of angling ethics, and desire to teach) with the bad (elite attitude, perfectionism, general snobbery). You don't have to cast perfectly with expensive equipment to catch fish. If so, I wouldn't be as obsessed with fly tying and fishing as I am. Ugly casts, ugly equipment, and ugly fishermen catch fish. I think Lefty Kreh seems to understand this concept and has done great work bringing great equipment to market for a good price. There shouldn't be an economic or social barrier to this sport. Thanks for the thoughts.

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from Kyle M wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I have been a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) since 1968. As the Chairman of the Board and President/CEO and a volunteer I am very proud of what the Federation represents.

What I have found in my corporate experience is that when an organization is successful there is always someone who wishes to discredit the company's efforts. To me the FFF is made up of some of the best people in the world. In fact, we have become the fly fishing voice of the world; both nationally and inter-nationally.

There is no other organization specializing in the sport of fly fishing while promoting conservation and teaching future environmentalists in the world. Our organization is represented in 16 foreign countries with 15 councils within the United States. One major focus is to increase our membership which is in process.

The FFF has never considered itself an elitist group. Our core value is to enhance conservation and preserve the environment where fisheries are concerned plus support the sport of fly fishing. We do this by educating our children as the future stewards of our rivers, lakes, streams and watersheds. If we can teach them about nature and a better way of life, they can use these skills productively and we will have done our job. Yes we have our critics but that will not deter our mission and goals.

Our annual meeting will be in two months in which we will address the word "conclave".

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

Philip Greenlee
President FFF

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from Todd Tanner wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Here’s the thing, folks. There’s no need to get your shorts in a knot. If you want to join an angling or conservation group, then go ahead. The FFF and TU do good work, and we’re all better off for their continued involvement. But if it’s not your thing, don’t worry about it. Nobody is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to join.

The same thing with equipment. It doesn’t matter if you fish a bamboo rod that will set you back a month’s pay or a cheap graphite stick from Korea. Go out and have fun. That’s what it’s all about.

And when it comes to casting and instruction, there’s a pretty simple rule of thumb. Share what you know with people who want to learn. And if there’s something you’d like to improve at, listen to anglers who know more than you do. It’s really not that hard.

Here’s the thing. Gear doesn’t make an angler. Neither does skill. It’s all about passion. And if you love it, then make a point of giving back as much, or more, than you get from the sport. You can’t go wrong with that approach.

Cheers.

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from badsmerf wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Every type of fishing has an elitist affiliation of some sort. I have thought about joining TU simply for the opportunity to interact and learn from experienced anglers. I do hope there is more of a push to connect with younger generations.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Oh boy. Awful deep thoughts here for a Monday morning.

I'll let you boys sort this stuff out. I'll just fish.

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from backcast wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

You're right, "conclave" is a funny word, no matter who is using it. Sounds like anatomy. "Grandma broke her conclave-she'll be out of commission for a while." I don't really have any feelings either way regarding the FFF, since I've never had any dealings with them. But I will say that a lot of the elitist attitude in flyfishing comes from fly shop employees who act as though you have no knowledge of the sport...and when you start really talking to them, they don't know much that hasn't come from a book, or is second-hand information spewed back at you from another source. Don't get me wrong, most dudes in shops are great, but when you encounter one of the "elites" it's pretty off-putting.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Shane..I think you got on the wrong page again..this is the fly fishing page. I see no problem with contention. The fly angling community wants better and stronger fisheries, protection of native fish, better habitat. They also need more fly anglers to support the fly fishing approach to better fisheries, and that becomes a problem as to how to achieve the goal of increasing new participants. Here's an interesting observation I have had over many years, and thousands of days on the water. It is the spin guy that often brings up what a snob the fly angler is. Time after time I hear it contested by the spin angler how elitist the fly guy is...but I have NEVER heard a fly guy on the water bad mouthing a spin guy, NEVER. They go about having fun fishing their way, and spin little time criticizing others for their way of fishing. The intellectual contention as you call it, is off the water, and debated to improve fly angling.

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Your essay is about one word: Conclave. The FFF has done an excellent job at developing a formula to standardize many aspects of fly fishing. This formula does not exclude forward thinking nor does it discriminate one's ability to more past that formula once you learned the teaching method. There is no where in the books for the CCI where it says you 'can't' cast such and such a way. The FFF has only formulated how to teach the basics. IMHO by the pure definition of Conclave, which I have enclosed gives me a neither a warm and fuzzy feeling nor chest pains. I hate anything that smacks of elitism. Call it Fest, call it Synod, Cast-o-Rama, Forum, Throng or 'meet for a beer'... I really don't care what the name of a national meeting. I only care that we promote fly fishing to the masses and work on special projects for the betterment of our resources.
The membership for this organization is optional, as is to TU and other, relating to the enjoyment of fly fishing. There are many things I dislike about FFF, however those are over ridden by the good thinks I've seen.
I think what Sayfu encountered may have been a fluke, I for one would have embraced all his efforts. My clients are not instructed to purchase only one brand. I supply many companies rods so that there is a chance to 'feel' the difference. My preference for the new caster is a package under $250.00 that my local fly shop has put together for me. Rod, line, tippet, reel....the FFF has never said I can't promote or distribute the company or their equipment.
But CONCLAVE.....I can' take it or leave it.

conclave |ˈkänˌklāv|
noun
a private meeting.
• (in the Roman Catholic Church) the assembly of cardinals for the election of a pope.
• the meeting place for such an assembly.

PS. Thanks for the book.... now I have two autographed copies! Very thoughtful.

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from joaxe wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I got a few good tips recently from an FFF member/instructor, even though I have been FF-ing for several years and learned casting from books/videos. It helped me cast better!

Also, I don't have any patience for any "elitist" mentality or display in FF (or ANY kind of fishing, for that matter). If an "elitist" brings that crap to the stream I'm fishing in...he's going for a little swim!

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I am tired of hearing out the 'next generation' and what we need to do for them. It is this generation, the people her now that have to be taught how to preserve, protect and use the resources. The 'children of tomorrow' are not the ones dumping toxins, harvesting endangered fauna or building dams. Look where the money is and you'll find the guilty. Rarely does a corporation that strips the land have a board of fly fisherman. IT'S THIS GENERATION OR BETTER THE HUMANS LIVING ON THIS PLANET THAT NEED TO WAKE UP TO THE DIMINISHING RESOURCES. The FFF and T.U are both working hard to accomplish something important and if you sit on your ass and do nothing I lump you in the first offender group. IMHO!

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from Kyle M wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Sanfu,

You have gone on and on about your contact with one shop, "It is a specialty shop, the fly shop, and they sell specialty, high priced gear, and have to promote it to exist."

Just because this shop has FFF certified instructors, it does NOT mean that this shop represents the Federation of Fly Fishers. I would ask you to please remember that the FFF certifies instructors on their ability to cast and instruct, not on what they may sell! Most of these certified instructors are NOT associated with shops but became certified so that they would learn to be better instructors.

You may wish to learn that:

"The Casting Instructor Certification Program began in 1992 for the purpose of enhancing the overall level of instruction in fly casting, including instructor knowledge, casting proficiency, and teaching ability.

OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAM:
To educate and enhance the growth of fly casting instructors by:
-establishing high standards for teaching
-conducting teaching workshops that are a required part of the certification
-administering a test that assesses the applicants knowledge of casting, teaching ability, and casting proficiency
-conducting clinics on how to teach flycasting at FFF shows, conclaves and at consumer fishing shows
-establishing and maintaining communication networks for certified instructors " http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4454

In addition, you allude to some great conspiracy, i.e. "They promote the high end product" and "That is price fixing in my book, and the FFF is connected to that,gets protection from the mfgers so they push the high end product. And to go along with that, many of the well healed anglers that take up flyfishing are happy to see the generation gap, and don't want to see a bunch of "little people" out fishing their waters."

However, the reality is in fact quite different! How? Well for at least the last five years, the FFF's club membership incentive rods have been supplied by TFO:

http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Default.aspx?tabid=4676

Yes, TFO... not exactly the most "elitist" company in the fly fishing industry! It seems to me that the FFF is actually doing exactly what you said that you desired, i.e. "My theme is how inexpensive fly fishing can be, as an honest approach to overcoming the obstacle of potential newbies thinking it is a rich guys sport."

I am sorry that you had a bad experience with one shop and their instructors, but please understand that this great organization tha is the Federation is comprised of thousands of people, including hundreds of certified casting instructors.

You do no one any good by painting us all with such a broad brush...

Please also understand that one of the FFF's core missions is EDUCATION. It is what the organization was/is built upon. You cannot go to any FFF Conclave/EXPO/Fly Fair... without finding Youth Programs. I now that there has been at least one such program at the 40+ conclaves /EXPOs/Fly Fairs that I have attended in the last 27 years!

Again, I would ask you, and everyone else reading this posting, to attend such a Federation sponsored program/Conclave/EXPO/Fly Fair and learn about what we do...

In addition, if ya' do attend, I can guarantee that you'll have a great time!

Tight lines,

Kyle Moppert
President
Gulf Coast Council
Federation of Fly Fishers

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Being that some 60% of all fly fishers also fish other non-fly disciplines, maybe the fly shop needs to become the pro shop....those same folks spending $$ on fly gear are spending just as much on their other non-fly gear.

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from badsmerf wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I know you have had a bad experience and don't believe in the directing they go with things sayfu, but programs like these are one of the reasons we have places to fish.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Kirk, have you ever considered the social demographic. Socially, I fish with the majority of folks in the 10 years younger than me and 25 years older than me. But I see a huge social distinction between what I see as your average organized group membership and the folks I fish and hang out with. I would liken most of the folks I fish with as being "Drakish", or like the common posting members of drake.com. All good minded, conservation minded folks, with a socially different twist on things. They just don't fit other molds.

I wish there was a group like The Greenbacks near Colorado Springs...

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from smdmz wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Well said. 21-year-old angler just recently getting into the fly fishing game in the past couple years, I actually did run across the FFF while I was learning, and it was a bit off-putting. I visited their website and the whole "conclave" title immediately made me raise an eyebrow. Maybe it's just my nature to turn away from paid memberships to clubs or organizations, but this one wasn't just about the money. I think I'll just stick to fly fishing with some buddies, teaching myself, and talking to the older and wiser fly fishermen in the shops and out on the water.

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from Marshall Bissett wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Kirk: Your comments are right on. Ironically the FFF voted to rename it"EXPO" but this was somehow forgotten. Maybe they should call it a "rave" and really upset the old guard!

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from MLH wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I was a member for awhile since membership was associated with a local group, of which I still belong. Good organization, but I have to admit the use of "conclave" also took me a step back ... and I ain't that young.

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Damn Sayfu It's terrible when you try to do something as nice as your project and they step on our toes. Since that was the case... yeah I'd stop working with them too.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Why it happened was I taught school with a teacher that was the organizer of the "Learn to cast" class. He asked me if I would instruct them knowing I taught fly fishing schools. I said fine. The FFF had provided fly vices, and fly tying materials for the guy, and he taught a class in fly tying. Somehow, before the next casting session the FFF guys heard about the casting class, and told him they would be there to instruct for the next session. I anticipated a problem knowing the equipment they would use. Here they came, and I was right. I just turned it over to them. Mark it up to bad coordination. The teacher, organizer was trying to please everyone.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I'm again taking up a lot of cyber space on this thing, but it is a great subject to discuss. And I do not have an answer to it as well. The FFF guys, the TU guys, the flyshop guys, that are interconnected do a great job of instructing new fly anglers. Many are very good anglers, and they give of their time to benefit the sport. But it is the rich guy problem that needs to be overcome. They promote the high end product that, and it can not be overcome. They can't compete with the low end product line that the big box stores carry. So who can fill the gap? Not the big box stores. They often have no expertise to even sell the low end stuff, let alone convince anyone they should buy the more expensive gear. A Catch 22 IMO.

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from Kyle M wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Wow - What "back handed" slap at an organization that you say you should have joined a long time ago... As a 27 year member of the FFF.please let me answer a couple of your points:

"For one, I think a rigid, standardized, "certified" casting/teaching approach doesn't appeal to a young angler who wants to free-form it and innovate on the water. Standards for instruction aren't bad, but the perception that there's a rule book for casting doesn't appeal to some people."

The FFF dose NOT have a set group of casting instructions that everyone must follow. I've learned different techniques and styles of casting from dozens of FFF instructors. And I bet you a steak dinner that if you can cast well, that you don't use some esoteric, freeform casting method.

As far a the term "conclave" goes in regards to attracting younger fly fishers, this too is a red herring. You see, the various Councils of the FFF use differing terms for their shows: Conclaves, EXPO's Fly Fairs, Show and etc. As one who was very involved in changing the name of one Council's show from Conclave to EXPO, I can guarantee that the net increase in young attendees as a result of this change was ZERO!!! Nada... NONE!!

I would expect one in your position to do a little more research before attacking (and yes it WAS an attack) an organization with the fine record of the Federation of Fly Fishers. For instance did you know that the average age of a fly fisher is late 50's and that the average age to START fly fishing is 35!

With all the competition that younger people have for their attention, it is no wonder that too few have joined the FFF... Even you stated that you should have done so long ago!

Instead of throwing bombs at the FFF, I would invite you, your fellow staff writers and edits, and fly fishing friends to join this great organization. After all, YOU already said that it has been too long that you have not been one of us!

Now, how elitist was that? HA!

Kyle M

PS

In my 27+ years, elitism in the last thing that I've found from my associations with hundreds of wonderful, gracious and giving folks who have taught and given me and my kids so much. I will always be a member of the Federation ofFly Fishers and if any one who reads this posting has any interest in this sport, I would also invite you to check out your nearest FFF Club or Council event... even if it is called a "Conclave"! HA!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

The "elitism" label comes from the spin guy, the lure guynot the fly guy. As I mentioned, in all the days I've spent on the water, and they are many. I've told fellow anglers, I lost wives, and jobs over those fish, especially steelhead on the fly. Never have I heard a fly angler look down on a lure/spin fisherman. It is the other way around. The mention of some well healed guy falling off the cover of an Orvis catalog, wearing $4,000 on the hoof is fairly prevalent. They resent the fly anglers pursuit of "special regs" and fly angler ethics are chastised as elitism. $1,000 outfits as apposed to a $39.95 outfit loaded with line smacks of elitism to them. It disturbs me that the journalistic approach now seems to want to blend it all in together as the best way to get sport fishing lobby support..the can't we all just get along thing. So we get, on these threads, a type of journalism suggesting, "if your fly isn't working, open up a can of worms." The can of worms has been opened.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Kyle M....And I continue to go on, and on. No, it is NOT the attachment to one shop..it is universal across the country. TU guys, FFF guys support the flyshops, and understandably so. Why would they put forth the effort to work for the Big Box Store? Why would they donate their time for WalMart? And in essence, that is what they would be doing. The fly shops can't compete with low end items. For instance, they carry the 444 Cortland fly lines because they get pro-shop protection. Do they carry the 333 lines that are in the big box stores? NO, Why would they suggest to a customer they are very good lines using their qualified employees time telling them that, and then have the person go buy it at a better price at the box store? The groups I mentioned work well together promoting fly fishing, but there is a disconnect in getting a newbie equipment/introduced with inexpensive gear that today, you can do if it is scrutinized as to what you should have. The box store can't scrutinize it for you for the most part. They have unqualified help. I have no answer just a commonsense evaluation based on a lot of time spent teaching, guiding, in the class room talking fly fishing with young people.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Now I read your entire post Kyle...something I did not know about TFO..they are great marketers, and their sales reflect that. If they supplied their outfits that is a good move in removing the problem I have talked about. Here is a for instance. I sold Cortland in my pro shop. I carried 10 lines of Cortland to 1 line of SA. The big shots form SA came in one day, and asked me why the so few SA lines compared to Cortand. I told the gentleman the facts. I tell folks Cortlands 444 line is the best you can by, especially their dry lines, and far better than SA lines. I got price protection from Cortland, and I'd take the warranty card out of the box, and send them into Leon Chandler when I had accumulated about 100 cards with a note telling Leon how well sales were going. I'd get a kick back for every card, and a number of blem lines for my own use for a trip I told Leon I was planning on. I told the SA guys, " So why would I tell a customer exactly what they needed taking up my time and then want to sell them a SA line when I knew they were headed out the door, and down to the big discounter down the street? There answer was, "We could sue Cortland for price fixing, but they are very small compared to 3M and not worth the time and effort. And if TU guys and FFF guys were my customers, and I supported them I'd expect them to support me in their efforts to introduce young anglers into the sport.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

And now I read more and continue to digress :) I should not have used the word elitist. I am against that notion myself. Why I used it is that is the term used my many folks in the community when they reflect on the fly fisherman. If there is a universal statement made by young people, it is how expensive it is to get into flyfishing..and boy do I jump at the chance to dispel that notion. And I did not bad mouth TU or FFF. I have given them great credit for their efforts.

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from shane wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

"I have yet to spot the "elitist" everyone talks about."

"How many spin-fishing conservations groups are there?"

There he went!

To answer that question, there are a zillion. Any conservation group with the word angler, fishermen, fishing, etc. in it. They include all anglers. Chartering an exclusive one with the word fly in it and excluding the other methods then claiming superiority as conservationists is elitist BS.

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from shane wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Well actually there is nothing wrong with a specific, exclusive conservation group, but discounting the inclusive groups is where the BS comes in.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

badsmerf. I can make a lot of different reflections on this subject for discussion purposes, and it comes from a professional lifetime of experiences. I seldom site the unusual circumstance. I sight the norm, and have tried to validate that. Just reflecting...I don't think the successful person in life choses to flyfish because every segment of society participates in it. Fly fishing IS a niche segment of sport fishing. It is like the person that has a bit of disposable income that joins a good golf country club. They join for the atmosphere, and type of people they are around. I respect that, and support that. And for me to say, for instance, I put a lot of inexpensive gear in the hands of some young anglers, and sent them out on the water and that is a good thing because it keeps them off the streets and out of trouble, is NOT what the fly angler wants. I know that is true just by the responses on this thread! How close is to close as an example?..No one said less than eye sight, or 400 yds, but me! So you think fly fishing is strictly after more warm bodies in the fraternity? NO! They want the better class of citizen with higher social skills, and eithics, and I do as well. Let the other bunch call it elitist, I could care less.

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from Rhythm Rider wrote 2 years 41 weeks ago

Kirk, I was first introduced to your work with the Little Red book last year, then through Midcurrent's fly fishing jazz posts. I can't help but laugh at what an instigator you may be. It keeps a guy like me (fellow instigator) on his toes.

After digesting the above article a few days, and today reading your recent FFJazz post I had to chuckle. Being a 20 year fan of jazz I know a lot of jazz enthusiasts to be pretty much elitists and above the rest when it comes to musical appreciation. Regardless, I'll always be a card carrying member of KUVO. While many KUVO listeners will tell you Wayne Shorter makes no sense to them, he may never have gotten to where he was without a firm foundation to question.

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from grhen wrote 2 years 39 weeks ago

You would think that the editor of "Angling Trade" magazine, purporting to be "the buzz on the flyfishing bizz" would have noticed that the webpage he refers to lists the event by the title it has used for the past few years, "National Fly Fishing Fair & Conclave 2011". http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=972497

He might also might have wanted to add the fact that it is a public event and has been since its inception. Aside from that, when I attended my first "conclave" over 20 years ago it never occurred to me that it was a "stodgy, self-important, exclusive boys club". It was a gathering of like minded people offering their knowledge, freely given, to whomever was seeking it.

My first exposure to the word "conclave" was in relation to the early exploration of the US, west of the Mississippi. The mountain men of old held yearly conclave where they could trade their pelts and other goods as well as stock up on supplies for the next season.

As to the reason the sport can't crack into the younger generations is the same reasons that the hunting industry has the same problem, too many kids never exposed to the outdoors. It isn't just fly fishing having the problem and someone who is an expert on the "bizz" is being disingenuous to say so.

Also, just maybe, it is also the marketing approach the industry takes. To my knowledge there is only one fly shop out there that has taken full advantage of new media marketing trends and have become top dog, crushing its competition.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I say you are wrong Deeter, but nothing new on that front. Standard teaching is fine. Flexibility needs to be emphasized, but the standard format teaches you sound principles so you can be flexible. The problem with FFF is its elitist status that turns off young anglers. It's the attachment with the flyshops that promote the need for very expensive tackle to get started as the way to go...I know, I ran into it first hand. I ran a 'learn to fly cast" session for an entire 8th grade class. My theme was, "it doesn't cost you that much to get started" and I brought good casting outfits that cost less than $100. The next session I was told by the organizer, that FFF was coming to the session, and would help me out. In they walked before the session, and one instructor scrutinized my equipment, and the woman said, " what did you bring that crap here for?" They had all Sage equipment for the students to use. I turned it over to them and left.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

I might further that Deeter because I got into a slight confrontation with the female instructor. After she bad mouthed my equipment, I asked her if she'd like to see how well my equipment cast? She said, "So what? That is not the nature of our business! She was a guide, and an FFF licensed instructor, and she said, that is what we promote and sell. And that sums it up and why you have such a generation gap. When a person becomes successful financially in life, they are the folks that turn to fly fishing, and that separates them from the Ave. Joe crowd. Her client that can afford the $450-$500 a day guide fee is the consumer the industry looks for.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Deeter..You are wrong in believing that a standardized approach to teaching fly fishing is wrong. I'm not a certified instructor, and didn't feel the need to be when they started that program, but I do like good standardized fundamentals being taught. With good fundementals you can apply them to whatever kind of cast you want to use. I am doing that right now with spey casting, and understand how the fundamental principles apply. But the big problem you did not address, and that is the elitism that is causing the generation gap. The expensive equipment makers are price fixing, and controlling the market price. Sage just discontinued their Z-Axis line of rods, and recently gave the shops the OK to discount them. That is price fixing in my book, and the FFF is connected to that, gets protection from the mfgers so they push the high end product. And to go along with that, many of the well healed anglers that take up flyfishing are happy to see the generation gap, and don't want to see a bunch of "little people" out fishing their waters. And I see nothing wrong with that from their stand point. If I made a lot of money, I might choose to go to expensive restaurants just to keep the general public out.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

Who even knows the definition of Conclave?.sure not this guy, and I doubt that turns off many that want to get into the sport. I am convinced that if the organizations involved wanted to promote the fact how cheap it is to get into flyfishing they'd bridge the gap. I find it necessary to promote that notion all of the time. Many times on this thread where young folks think fly fishing is for the rich. It is incredibly cheap compared to other outdoor sports. But those involved at the top are a tight fraternity tied to the flyshops that sell expensive gear.
The guy that headed up the FFF group that came to help me teach young people how to cast owned one of the famous flyshops in Montana, and is recognized as one of the top knowledgeable anglers in the entire country. I like the guy, but he promotes expense equipment.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

flutter..NO FLUKE! When I instruct as a independent instructor, I have no ties to flyshops, or guide organizations. My theme is how inexpensive fly fishing can be, as an honest approach to overcoming the obstacle of potential newbies thinking it is a rich guys sport. What I experienced is what goes on when FFF, or when TU gets involved in casting instruction, or in fly fishing schools. Orvis puts on one of the best fly fishing schools goin the entire package with outstanding facilities..but it promotes Orvis' expensive gear, and the schools are expensive. I have no problem with that. FFF is often tied in with the flyshops, FFF members are their customers..the shops can only sell high end gear that they are provided protection from the discounters. I have no problem with that either. The FFF members that showed up for my class, and were going to run, and not ask how they can help me..the lead guy is a famous fly angler, owns a world renown flyshop, and they were promoting top of the line gear totally at odds with what I had told the students the day before. No problem, I left, and turned it over to them. So how many of those junior High students had a grand burning a hole in their pocket, and ran right out and spent it buying a Sage rod, and a high end reel and line?

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

backcast. It is a specialty shop, the fly shop, and they sell specialty, high priced gear, and have to promote it to exist. For promoting it the manufacturers give them price protection, and won't let other big box stores even carry the product, or, in some cases, even another fly shop that wants to open, but is in too close proximity to an already existing shop. All the power to them in making the sale, but it does create the generation gap, and hamper young anglers from getting into the sport. It is if the conclave of accredited drivers teaches you how to drive using a Porsche, and then tells you to go to the local Porsche dealer and buy your car. The fly shop can't compete with all the inexpensive gear that is out now, so they down play it as not good enough to get started with. I did the same thing when I ran a flyshop.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 42 weeks ago

oleyakler, I sure believe you on the conclave thoughts, but the reason we have so few young people taking it up? I dunno, I can have mixed feelings on that. I work with young people, lots of them all the time in the high schools, and I am known as the fly fishing guy, and teller of many fishing stories. Many feel it is for the rich, and too expensive, and I dispel that all the time. Many bring up the point that their dad took them fishing when younger, and it was BORING!!..that is a common theme, and I dispel that notion differentiating between fly fishing, and sitting and waiting for a bite. I live in one of the greatest areas in all the USA for fly fishing, and few young people are taking it up, but many, many, many of them dirt bike! I can see it as the immediate gratification of today's youth, and it takes too long to get decent at fly fishing, and be able to catch fish.

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