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  #1  
Old 06-21-2008, 07:42 AM
josko josko is offline
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Decline in fly fishing

I'm noticing a big decline in numbers of flyfishers in both places I fish, Cape Cod and Andros.
On the Cape, plugging seems to have taken over for flyfishing by and large. I confess, I've taken to plugging more and more. It's got many of the same attractions: plugs are locally crafted and a craft onto themselves, tackle can be prohibitively expensive if you let it, and to me, at least, nighttime plugging or flycasting are comparable (although different) in technical skills, tune to the environment, and satisfaction.
I'm on Andros now and it's emptiest (of bonefishers) since the fall of '01, following a very low turnout spring. In part, this may be do to the 'recession', but it also seems the bonefishing fad has crested. There's no doubt that lodges here aren't making it and guides are taking to other jobs. (Hanks is closing on 6/30, although he might reopen in the fall.)
So I wonder just how much our 'posting' thread has to do with the overall decline of flyfishing popularity, particularly the decline of new folks getting into the hobby. 10 years ago, all these boards were much more vibrant; part of that was the novelty of onlune posting, but there were also a LOT more people inthat initial, excited phase of just having descovered a new fun activity and a place to share it.
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  #2  
Old 06-21-2008, 08:46 AM
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I doubt that bonefishing is declining too much-maybe a little beacuse of the economy right now--but I see lots of people going to the Bahamas. This time of the year is out of the prime season for all bonefishing lodges in the Bahamas. Most of them are empty now. Plus, there are more lodges than before, so the anglers are spread thinner. Also, I think people are trying other places besides andros--I know I am after having fished there several times in the past.
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Old 06-21-2008, 02:41 PM
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[QUOTE=josko]I confess, I've taken to plugging more and more. It's got many of the same attractions: plugs are locally crafted and a craft onto themselves, tackle can be prohibitively expensive if you let it, and to me, at least, nighttime plugging or flycasting are comparable (although different) in technical skills, tune to the environment, and satisfaction.
QUOTE]

It is clear to me that it takes more technical skill to consistently produce the same level of proficiency on a cast by cast basis with a performance surf rod than a ten weight Striper rod, relatively speaking. I can much more easily blow a cast to the level of unfishability with a surf rod that a fly rod. Then if you want to throw in a fast conventional reel like a Newell rather than a spinning reel there really is no comparison in skill.
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Old 06-21-2008, 07:12 PM
josko josko is offline
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I'm glad to hear you say that, John, 'cause I feel likewise, and I didn't expect it to go over too well on this board.

Vince, there is no doubt in my mind that the number of bonefishers on Andros is approximately a third of what it was in the peak years in the late 90's. This goes just for Andros, of course. I'd also guess the number of saltwatrer fly fishers on upper Cape is less than half what it was in the late 90's.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:06 AM
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Let's clear up one thing here. If you get the impression that people on this board dislike people who use spinning gear I think that would be a wrong assumption.
We just prefer to flyfish. That being said I'm sure there are flyfishing snobs just as there are spin fishing snobs on this board. Use what ever you like. It's no big deal.
This site is devoted to flyfishing by the founder of the board . If it's not for you then so be it.
Speaking for myself I can learn a lot about fishing from guys who spin fish. Some of my best friends spin fish. FishHawk
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:22 AM
josko josko is offline
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FWIW, I don't use spinning gear for plugging.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:45 AM
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Josko, in line with your original question...and not to turn this into a plugging or spinning versua flyfishing. I feel or think that unlike some of the other sports that have grown...like golf and tennis...which have leveled off...and not really because of the economic situation...you have to like fishing in the first place. I have seen many people start out to take Flyfishing lessons who have never fished before...never put a worm on a hook... they take up or explore the sport because of it's novelty... then... when all that work appears..it becomes too hard or they lose interest . Many of those who flyfish or spin fish or plug....are fishing like many did with their Dad's or Uncles or family frends for those elusive bluegills with a worm. To be fair and (not caustic as I have been accused of in a resent thread) I am certain there are some who will stick with it because thay grow to like fishing...but the growth had to do with the initial "let's all jump in"...sounds like fun and something to try... then a discovery that they really don't like the basic issue...fishing itself..... and drop out. My late father would take me up to northern Quebec and we would spn fish for lakes and speckled trout, and he would also have a fly rod on the old wooden boat.... when my kids were young, I did not do much fly fishing, but would take them down to Hardings Beach and with my Penn Slammer and chunk mackerel ,stake three rods for bluefish... they played on the beach and they started to grab rods....so it was the fishing first ... at least for me......Caviat- just my opinion.

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  #8  
Old 06-22-2008, 09:41 AM
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One possible reason for the decline in interest in fly fishing (not sure that has been established) may be due to what I consider its steep learning curve. Not unlike golf, it looks easy when watching it on TV. I surf cast for 30 years, but became interested in fly fishing while watching fly fisherman (probably some of the present members) on Monomoy. It looked like a blast. So the next season I went out and bought a basic set up. Then the daunting task of learning to cast. I thought to myself, how hard can it be? So I went out a few times, and learned quickly ( a few clousers in the back of the head) it was not as easy as I thought. I blundered on, too stubborn/cheap to take lessons. So within a month or so, I went back to what I knew and felt comfortable with. But the next season, I was determined, took a lesson, spent time on the water, and slowly gained some skill. Even after 3 years, I still need work on my cast. How many people are willing to take the on the challenge and the time it takes to learn a sport that requires the kind of skill and knowledge to become proficient?

Steve
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:36 AM
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Jim Miller Jim Miller is offline
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I think there is a general decline in free time and monies to put towards recreation.
Unlike the 70's,80's and 90's.
With the economy and cost of living .... our (my) money and time are appropriated more and more to just getting by.... paying the mortgage, feeding the family, getting the kids thru college.
Very tough for me to take off for a weekend and go fishing.
Wish it weren't so...
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  #10  
Old 06-22-2008, 10:54 AM
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As I contemplate this topic once again, I come up with the exact same result...

I fish for satisfaction and fish are just one part of it. I get tremendous satisfaction out of the demanding process of catching good fish on the fly, (and I am not making any statement on other's likes and dislikes) there is simply no comparison to other means for me, to each his/her own.

I spent many years plugging, live-lining and chunking on the cape and know a bit about it. In fact when I started the fish I encountered were nothing short of frightening to a 90 pound boy on the jetties and beaches. As I grew older my thumb was quite educated at one time even without a mag clutch.

These days for sure there are howling wind-blown days when I am screwed. Sometimes the fish are blitzing 80 yards out. Sometimes both. I take a white stripe but it only makes me want to find a way more than ever as I drive home.

I enjoy fishing side by side with the late fall swimmer plug boys who catch more 40+ than anyone I know (from shore). I think any respect I have earned from them is from the fact that I hang in there, and when I hook up they seem to celebrate with me.

BTW - I haven't fished the upper cape in a while but the lower cape still has a high FF percentage. Maybe because it's so much more accomodating to the wading angler.
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2008, 04:18 AM
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The reason for the decline may be the same reason for the recent decline in using revolving spool reels. With the new braids now established the transition to heavy spinning as been significant in the performance surf casting arena. One the light tackle end, 10 to 20 # braid coupled to a modern spinning rod offers and alternative that just was not there for the light tackle enthusiast ten years ago.
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  #12  
Old 06-23-2008, 05:50 AM
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Has it declined from it's heyday? absolutely, just look at all the great shops that have gone by the wayside.
I think today to be successful you have to be a little more versatile.
Taking a big fish on Fly is just a little more rewarding for me.

Surf casters are the new fashion-plates of the fishing world dressed to the nines, with every gadget under the sun.
Hey.. it's all good just go out and have fun
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:15 PM
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Surf casting certainly seems to have come up with its own response to the high-end fly-gear market in recent years. Maybe its always been there and I never really noticed before.

I used to wonder why a high end fly reel cost so much more than a high-end spin reel until I came across Van Staal and Zeebas! Spin rods haven't quite caught up to the high-end fly sticks in the $600+ range unless you factor in some of the custom wraps. Decent turned plugs are going for well over $20 and the prices some guys pay would make me think twice about even getting one wet

I have a passion for fly fishing and just ventured into the 'dark side' this past couple of seasons, coming at it in "reverse order" so to speak, having flyfished for the past 35 years. It does open up a bit more of the ocean but better than that, it gives me another perspective that I find helpful when I go back and pick up the fly rod.

As far as a decline in fly-fishing in general, my sense is the economoy, especially gas prices, is playiung a big part. Maybe my immagination but the Cape roads seem to be a bit quieter compared to last season? I guess I'll find out on Friday
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:27 PM
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I am still skeptical that fly fishing has declined significantly. I would love to see some hard stats on this. I don't really see it in my business, and in WNY.

the fact that small fly shops are closing left and right is not indicative of the popularity of flyfishing. Today, there are more options on where to buy fly fishing gear, and it is easier to do so. The internet, e-bay and the big retailers like cabelas and bass pro are killing the small shops. Sure there are less mom and pop fly shops, but look at the sales of the big retailers, and I bet they have gone thru the roof. Just 10 years ago the # of people using the internet was significantly less, and cabelas and bass pro didn't have the fly shop business they now do.
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:45 PM
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I think fly fishing certainly had its boom years back in the 90's and it has come back down since then. What we've seen on the retail side is the eventually change from hardware sales to software sales. Rods and reels last longer then flies and tippet. During the boom lots of new high end fly rods and reels were being sold. Now that it's come back down to a normal pace, the only things left to sell are flies and tippet. That's one reason you see fewer shops. Not enough margin in flies and tippet to cover overhead. And let's not forget how many second hand rods are sold on ebay and forums these days which hurt retailers. Here in VT we had a company making snow shoes. For years they were doing great when snow shoeing took off. Then people found other things that interested them and the company was evnetually sold to K2 and the shoes are now made in China. No different then fly fishing. I know lots of people who bought fly rods and then never used them. My brother is a perfect example. A movie came out, his wife thought that Brad Pitt guy was cute and next Christmas under the tree was a new fly rod...which has been used twice

In terms of the sport, I think flyrodders especially on the salt, are a different breed. It's certainly not the most effective way to take a fish. But the challenge keeps us focused and we're still out there figuring out how to cast 50 feet in a 30 MPH wind just for the chance to fight a 40 inch striper on the fly rod. For now, I don't want to catch a fish on anything but a fly rod, but that may change in the future. Some times I don't even care what I catch as long as it's on a fly rod. Plus I feel it will take my lifetime to ever come close to being as good a caster as I'd like to be.

The one thing that startles me is the stark difference in conservation attitudes between fly fishermen and spin/bait fishermen. Most flyfishermen I know take maybe one or two keepers per year. Every spin/bait fishermen I see out there takes their limit whenever possible.
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