Trust me, fly fishing is the newest extreme sport.
A little over a year ago my brother-in-law convinced me to buy a fly rod. I can still hear his voice, “Bro, you gotta come fly fishing with me! Seriously, it’s so freaking sick!”
I have to admit, I never really planned to go, let alone enjoy it. I mean, fly fishing, isn’t that the stuffy old man sport my dad relentlessly tried to get me in to when I was young?
Flipping and flopping around a bunch of feathers tied on a hook, hoping a fish would bite… how lame. Little did I know that I would be hooked, pun intended, the second I set the hook into my first fish.
Every tug and twitch of the fish’s head radiated up the line, down the rod and into my hand. For lack of a better description, the experience was purely intimate. I was so connected to the fish; I had never experienced anything like it with a bait-caster or spin rod.
As I’ve just started my journey into the sport of fly fishing, I’ve realized that it is undergoing a major transformation. No longer is it a sport of retired businessmen. It is, in my opinion, the newest extreme sport not because of the danger involved in a roll cast, but rather due to the crowd that fly fishing is attracting.
There is a culture shift among fly anglers that is saturating the market. Young adults in their teens and twenties are flooding the Internet searching for videos of the next big catch, the latest fly pattern, and the newest gear.
Nothing solidified this more for me than the Provo Brothers film titled Steelhead and Spines. In this film two extreme sport junkies, who happen to be brothers, combine backcountry skiing with steelhead fishing. It sums up the shift of the fly fishing culture perfectly. (Jump to 15:04 for the fishing clips.)
Extreme sport junkies are now turning to the solace of rivers and streams to chase the adrenaline rush of a trout jumping on the end of your line. Fly fishing is quickly becoming a sport for the young at heart, the adrenaline junkie looking for his next big fix.
In high school, my friends and I spent our free time snowboarding, watching snowboarding movies and hanging out in snowboarding shops. We were teens during the height of what we saw as the snowboard revolution. I can’t count the number of home movies we made of each other; thinking we would be the next film festival winner or X Games champion.
Now as we enter our 30s, I see that same culture taking root in that “stuffy old man sport.” Fly fishing film festivals are dotting the country. My buddies and I now daydream of our next trip out on the river, or of trips in high backcountry we want to take next summer. I even catch myself sneaking away from work early to stop by the fly shop on my way home; so that I can drool over the latest gear and apparel.
Fly fishing IS the newest extreme sport. And if you have any inclination towards an adrenaline addiction, I fully recommend you try it out. But be warned, once you’re hooked, it may consume your life.
Comment on the film? Or how you see fly fishing evolving?