I read this article last night via moldy chum. Some good points for sure.
"The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"
How is that a fake fish...Is it made of fiberglass or plastic and motorized......
Life's to short for an ugly boat
Blaze N Abel Charters
Interesting. Some good points, but the author also does a lot of pulling at the log in his brother's eye. While decrying the hatchery truck that fed the fish he is holding, he fails to give credit to the hatcheries for giving tens of thousands of anglers opportunity to catch and/or eat fish they would not have the opportunity otherwise to catch... including himself in the years before he became an enlightened guru on all things fly fishing. It could even be argued that without hatchery fish, the author would not find himself in this enlightened spot on his journey as a fisherman.
One example of ignoring his optical splinter follows: "What's with the hate?" Decrying the divisions within fly fishermen and fishermen of all gear types, while criticizing hatcheries and by proxy those who catch fish from them. Criticizing the way other anglers take photos, while leading the article with a photo of himself as a younger man doing exactly that.
I would tend to agree with many of his points, but I know that I have come to my conclusions through much trial and error, and that I am on a journey with no clear end... I don't know what I will prefer in another 10 years. I wouldn't walk up to the grinning young man in the photo and lecture him on the crassness of an arms length out of water photo of this fish, nor would I bash him for catching a fish that got his length from eating hatchery offerings. Yet that is how the author comes across in his presentation. A savvy fisherman, in search of big fish, will go where the big fish live, and offer the big fish what they want to eat... if big fish get easier to catch when a hatchery truck is coming with fresh food, the savvy fisherman will be fishing when the hatchery truck pulls up.
I actually do take his point on sportsmanship - I was once at Piledriver doing some early season fishing and there was a guy there who was clearly a very serious fisherman, if you went by how much he'd obviously spent on high-end gear. It was kind of bad that he parked himself in front of the conduit for hours, but what was really a problem is that he was telling some young airmen who were there with spinning gear that this was Alaska and you had to fly fish and spinning gear was for people who didn't know how to fish, etc. I don't think it's helpful to go to the "It's intolerant to be intolerant of the intolerant" place when there clearly are people out there who aren't helping the fish or the sport much.
I agree with you on stocking, kind of. Stockers are easy pickings and in some ways not very sporting, and in rivers they can outcompete native fish and damage fisheries, but on the other hand, at least here in the Fairbanks area, while you can't keep graylings out of the Chena and you can't fish for salmon at all upstream of the dam, you can keep pond fish. Not only does that remove some of the incentive to illegally keep river fish, it also puts fish in the frying pan, which is great.
Rants like this have been around forever. Or at least as long as I've been reading outdoor magazines. I've been reading those mags when such notables as A.J. McLaine, Ray Bergman and Ted Trueblood were writing about fly fishing. They probably started around the time of Isaac Walton. Every so often some wag will pen an article about "what's wrong with our sport?".
For the majority of us there is NOTHING wrong with our sport. It doesn't need to be saved from itself.