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Warm water fishing: Do you Brownline?

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March 23, 2009

Warm water fishing: Do you Brownline?

By Tim Romano

Last thursday the Wall Street Journal ran a piece (view it here) on fishing for carp, catfish, and other warm-water species using a fly. They talk about a term completely new to me called "brownlining" or finding the brown lines on a map like urban creeks, rivers, and ditches. I guess the term's heritage flows from "bluelining" or looking at a topo map and picking a unnamed creek (blue line) in the wilderness and following it for fish. In this case you're looking for the brown water. The WSJ goes on to portray this type of activity as new to the sport. Funny, I thought this was just called fishing and as far as I can tell it's been going on for a long time now.  

Unfortunately for me they concentrated on a stretch of water that I like to fish quite a bit. The South Platte right through Denver. Yes, the river is dirty and there's diapers, shopping carts and trash in the trees, but who cares... In my book fishing is fishing.  If you love it, you do it when you can, wherever you can. My guess is if this had been about spin fisherman it would have never made the Wall Street Journal. Why is this even a story? Just seems like some dudes going out fishing close to home for a couple of hours. My question to you is why do fly fisherman get this bum rap of highfalutin, nose in the air sensibility just because they're not fishing for trout?

TR

 

 

 

Comments (15)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Ramcatt wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

yeah... mainstream media looking for a story
why does everything have to be extreme/ Alt/ cutting edge
I don't like fishing for stocker trout... so i chase carp
a sightcasted carp is the most difficult fish to take a fly in fresh
simple as that... it is a challange

I did love the shot of that goof wading with a mic

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Take my words for what they're worth, Tim, but the reason this is a story has little to do with fishing and everything to do with how flyfishing has (purposely) positioned itself in the national psyche.

Flyfishing can't have it both ways. Either it's a quasi-religious experience only a chosen, gifted few can achieve or it's just another damn way to go fishing.

And let's be honest: everyone know what option the flyfishing industry and a large segment of the demographic (present company excluded, of course) has chosen to follow.

So when an industry/demographic makes the decision to foster a particular image of itself (upscale, affluent, sophisticated) to the exclusion of any real sense of diversity then yes, it becomes news when trends that run counter to that image emerge.

So from a reporter's perspective (I started my writing career as a reporter for a daily) it's a good story.

Now from an angler's perspective (and coming from the point-of-view that ALL fishing - regardless of technique, location or targeted species - is equally good for the soul) the story is sort of ho-hum, because we're all brownliners at heart, or at least we should be.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jlfreeborn wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

I don't think I would eat anything directly from a drainage ditch. At least in the river, the nasty is diluted to a degree.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

This article is news only to the non-flyfishing person. Most of what they know is what they have seen in ads or on T.V. and that image is the upper middle class guy standing in blue ribbon trout water whipping a $1,000 rod through the air.

That is the target audience of the fly fishing industry and hence the image portrayed to the non fishing public.

To the industries defense I think that a rod company would go under pretty quick if it advertised itself as a catfish rod but an the flip side I think there is a huge untapped market for the average guy cathing bluegill and bass.

P.S. Carp on a fly are a blast! Bronze rockets!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Evan V wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

I fish an urban stream, you could call it that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

No, i don't "brownline"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charley wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

There is a big brown water near me- the Bear River and Cutler Reservoir. Luckily it is only a few minutes from my house and it is full of carp, catfish, walleye, bluegill and crappie. It's hard to catch them with a fly because the water is so BROWN (because it is a drainage ditch for every dairy in the valley.)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rob wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Uh, fly fisherman get a bum rap because they do have their noses in the air and they are high fallutin'. Did you see the gear those guys had on for carp? They looked like a Simms ad.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ramcatt wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

bullshit
if you have quality gear... your nose is turned up?
if you are old... you are the whitehaired stereotypical "orvis guy"
if you are under 35 with good gear... your a "walking ad"

carp are the most difficult in fresh... needing more quality gear than raceway pelletheads...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from YooperRyan wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

TR, this is too funny. Just today my mother-in-law sent me the clipping of this exact story with the attached note "icky or fun?" I immediately thought of that photo piece you did back around the DNC and wondered if this Teasdale fellow was a buddy of yours.

You know, last time I was at the REI store downtown I walked down to take a peek and had hard time seeing myself wetting a line there but won't entirely rule it out. Don't call me a convert just yet, I think I need some more convincing before you baptize me in brown water.

The closest I've come to fishing brown water was really far from. Boulder creek trough town, no farther east than the pool below 28th street. I seem to remember having good success in the shopping cart hole. Do you know the one? just below the rec center? Ha, I wonder if it's still there. I imagine somebody has hauled it out by now.

Fly fishermen get the rap because it is to some extent perpetuated by the marketers of its products (exhibit A: Orvis, exhibit B; Simms) the basis for which is rooted in the sports history. It was after all a leisure activity practiced by the those who could afford the time to pursue it which back in the day made you something of an elitist.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

I guess because they think they found something new.... a new kind of fishing when really it is fishing at the end of the day. Although they might be the first ones to be publicly caught doing this, I am sure people long before them have done it, but in the shadows. I wonder if that water is even safe to stand in? With all that garbage around it, does not sound that sanitary and I guess that is why you do not eat the fish at all.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from timromano wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

yooper ryan,

Sounds like we need to drag you down to the DSP. The water near REI is remarkably clean compared to up north near commerce city and what we fondly like to call "bum-alley" One you go carp you never go back.

The shopping cart hole... That's hilarious. Yeah, of course I've fished it. I worked at Jones Drug all through college and on my lunch breaks would cruise do to that very spot on my bike - catch a few and cruise back up the hill. That water is still pretty damn clean through town though.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dighunter wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Brownlining sounds like something my friend did at deer camp when he got scared by a possum laying on the outhouse floor. Adding a name makes it sound like a new and exciting sport. It's still just fishing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jonathan Wright wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Easy!

Catch and Release Fly Fisherman need to justify how much time they are spending at this, regardless of quarry. Without any real tangible benefits -- like dinner -- then it becomes an exercise in quantifying an essentially introspective activity that has some real compulsive elements thrown in there.

It got spun as a religious or academic experience to deflect the critics, and it stuck!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TonyCarpBoy wrote 5 years 1 week ago

I found flyfishing via mountain stream trout. Fun as heck. The problem is - I live in urban Minnesota and need to fish a lot or I go crazy. I catch more fish with flies than any other method so I use a fly rod 95% of the time. My gear is ratty and ugly, I tie ugly (but buggy and effective) flies and the end of my rod is busted off and I don't seem to get around to fixing it. Not a gear-junkie.

I DO catch a lot of big fish in the ditches and flood ponds in the Twin Cities area that are associated with good streams and lakes (source of the fish). I have world class (mud) flats-fishing two blocks from my house. As mentioned here, carp are smart and difficult to take with a fly. They also fight like mad and are by far the largest fish regularly available to most fisher folks.

The best part? When people ask what I am fishing for they respond "Oh" in a sad way and look at me like I am crazy when I say carp. Good, that is less folks to train the fish. I spook them enough as it is.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from chadlove wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Take my words for what they're worth, Tim, but the reason this is a story has little to do with fishing and everything to do with how flyfishing has (purposely) positioned itself in the national psyche.

Flyfishing can't have it both ways. Either it's a quasi-religious experience only a chosen, gifted few can achieve or it's just another damn way to go fishing.

And let's be honest: everyone know what option the flyfishing industry and a large segment of the demographic (present company excluded, of course) has chosen to follow.

So when an industry/demographic makes the decision to foster a particular image of itself (upscale, affluent, sophisticated) to the exclusion of any real sense of diversity then yes, it becomes news when trends that run counter to that image emerge.

So from a reporter's perspective (I started my writing career as a reporter for a daily) it's a good story.

Now from an angler's perspective (and coming from the point-of-view that ALL fishing - regardless of technique, location or targeted species - is equally good for the soul) the story is sort of ho-hum, because we're all brownliners at heart, or at least we should be.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ramcatt wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

yeah... mainstream media looking for a story
why does everything have to be extreme/ Alt/ cutting edge
I don't like fishing for stocker trout... so i chase carp
a sightcasted carp is the most difficult fish to take a fly in fresh
simple as that... it is a challange

I did love the shot of that goof wading with a mic

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jlfreeborn wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

I don't think I would eat anything directly from a drainage ditch. At least in the river, the nasty is diluted to a degree.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

This article is news only to the non-flyfishing person. Most of what they know is what they have seen in ads or on T.V. and that image is the upper middle class guy standing in blue ribbon trout water whipping a $1,000 rod through the air.

That is the target audience of the fly fishing industry and hence the image portrayed to the non fishing public.

To the industries defense I think that a rod company would go under pretty quick if it advertised itself as a catfish rod but an the flip side I think there is a huge untapped market for the average guy cathing bluegill and bass.

P.S. Carp on a fly are a blast! Bronze rockets!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Evan V wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

I fish an urban stream, you could call it that.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

No, i don't "brownline"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charley wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

There is a big brown water near me- the Bear River and Cutler Reservoir. Luckily it is only a few minutes from my house and it is full of carp, catfish, walleye, bluegill and crappie. It's hard to catch them with a fly because the water is so BROWN (because it is a drainage ditch for every dairy in the valley.)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rob wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Uh, fly fisherman get a bum rap because they do have their noses in the air and they are high fallutin'. Did you see the gear those guys had on for carp? They looked like a Simms ad.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ramcatt wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

bullshit
if you have quality gear... your nose is turned up?
if you are old... you are the whitehaired stereotypical "orvis guy"
if you are under 35 with good gear... your a "walking ad"

carp are the most difficult in fresh... needing more quality gear than raceway pelletheads...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from YooperRyan wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

TR, this is too funny. Just today my mother-in-law sent me the clipping of this exact story with the attached note "icky or fun?" I immediately thought of that photo piece you did back around the DNC and wondered if this Teasdale fellow was a buddy of yours.

You know, last time I was at the REI store downtown I walked down to take a peek and had hard time seeing myself wetting a line there but won't entirely rule it out. Don't call me a convert just yet, I think I need some more convincing before you baptize me in brown water.

The closest I've come to fishing brown water was really far from. Boulder creek trough town, no farther east than the pool below 28th street. I seem to remember having good success in the shopping cart hole. Do you know the one? just below the rec center? Ha, I wonder if it's still there. I imagine somebody has hauled it out by now.

Fly fishermen get the rap because it is to some extent perpetuated by the marketers of its products (exhibit A: Orvis, exhibit B; Simms) the basis for which is rooted in the sports history. It was after all a leisure activity practiced by the those who could afford the time to pursue it which back in the day made you something of an elitist.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

I guess because they think they found something new.... a new kind of fishing when really it is fishing at the end of the day. Although they might be the first ones to be publicly caught doing this, I am sure people long before them have done it, but in the shadows. I wonder if that water is even safe to stand in? With all that garbage around it, does not sound that sanitary and I guess that is why you do not eat the fish at all.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from timromano wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

yooper ryan,

Sounds like we need to drag you down to the DSP. The water near REI is remarkably clean compared to up north near commerce city and what we fondly like to call "bum-alley" One you go carp you never go back.

The shopping cart hole... That's hilarious. Yeah, of course I've fished it. I worked at Jones Drug all through college and on my lunch breaks would cruise do to that very spot on my bike - catch a few and cruise back up the hill. That water is still pretty damn clean through town though.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dighunter wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Brownlining sounds like something my friend did at deer camp when he got scared by a possum laying on the outhouse floor. Adding a name makes it sound like a new and exciting sport. It's still just fishing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jonathan Wright wrote 5 years 3 weeks ago

Easy!

Catch and Release Fly Fisherman need to justify how much time they are spending at this, regardless of quarry. Without any real tangible benefits -- like dinner -- then it becomes an exercise in quantifying an essentially introspective activity that has some real compulsive elements thrown in there.

It got spun as a religious or academic experience to deflect the critics, and it stuck!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from TonyCarpBoy wrote 5 years 1 week ago

I found flyfishing via mountain stream trout. Fun as heck. The problem is - I live in urban Minnesota and need to fish a lot or I go crazy. I catch more fish with flies than any other method so I use a fly rod 95% of the time. My gear is ratty and ugly, I tie ugly (but buggy and effective) flies and the end of my rod is busted off and I don't seem to get around to fixing it. Not a gear-junkie.

I DO catch a lot of big fish in the ditches and flood ponds in the Twin Cities area that are associated with good streams and lakes (source of the fish). I have world class (mud) flats-fishing two blocks from my house. As mentioned here, carp are smart and difficult to take with a fly. They also fight like mad and are by far the largest fish regularly available to most fisher folks.

The best part? When people ask what I am fishing for they respond "Oh" in a sad way and look at me like I am crazy when I say carp. Good, that is less folks to train the fish. I spook them enough as it is.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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