Hello my fellow fish finders, outdoor enthusiasts and environment lovers. I just returned from two full days of totally geeking out, fly-fishing style, at the Pleasanton Fly Fishing Show. It was great to see so many of you there and have an opportunity to do deep dives into fly fishing gear without pressure to purchase. To discover places to fish, or simply visit to enjoy-in some of the most beautiful places in the world, and to explore the many different social responsibility, conservation, restoration and preservation efforts to participate in, whether it's the Florida Everglades, British Columbia, or right here in our own beautiful California, with organizations like CalTrout, Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers International. My new best friend, Simon Gawesorth, proves you don't particularly need a spey rod to "spey cast", but perfectly employs roll, spey, switch, snap-T, whisk-ee, and other tactics makes one wonder if a back cast would ever again be needed. And he's funny! Next year, I would love to see SCFF have their own booths at the show, and a tailgate party in the parking lot to avoid the $14.00 beers and $20.00 hot dogs-aka Jeff Goyert style.
On our way home, when Mona and I were driving through the tens of thousands on the highway, I mentioned how interesting this tiny group of homo-sapiens we are. Think of it. We are the very few who love getting out in the wilderness, jumping in water, waving a long stick with some string and a fly on it, for critters that likely more than 99 percent of the world's population consider food or don't particularly even care they exist. Jack Dennis used to humble me; while I was so excited to know some of the most famous people in our sport, they were "famous" to less than a half percent of the total human population-if that.
We are captivated by those "expert" in this tossing of stick, string and bug, in what is to us, clearly an art encompassing nothing short of a ballet. We stand paralyzed with awe as men and women spin, twist, clip and tease feather, fur and other materials into things we'd generally swat with a paper or crush underfoot. Or the artists, Josh Udesen, AD Maddox, Sarah Landstrom, who take pen and paint, working so hard, yet seemingly effortlessly at capturing the vibrant color God splashed on these creatures, on a canvas for us to enjoy for as long as they hang on our walls. And without ever having to worry about taking a fish out of the water. The fact they even care to put a fish on canvas gives us so much more opportunity to create awareness beyond food or recreation.
The passion so many have for this thing we call fly fishing and the outdoors, whether it is tippet, line, reel, rod, or the habitat these creatures live in, is something refreshing all together spiritual, zen-like, proof there is a Creator greater than us. Compared this to the rush, rush, rush, more, more, more of the workforce today, fly fishing and literally everything around it, is everything and everywhere altogether different, refreshing peace. I loved meeting Erick Johnson, who can support his family selling tippets, lines and more for Scientific Anglers. Or Michaela Snow, working for Trout Unlimited, and Joselyn at CalTrout, who literally and figuratively represent our future. And then there is Beniam Reno, our own 8-year-old fly tier, who is head over heels passionate about fly fishing before he even knows how incredible his contribution will be to our future. Perhaps a future SCFF President! Or President-period!
The technology we have at our disposal today affords us so many opportunities to enjoy this tossing of stick and string, while marveling at the other creations all around us. I certainly found all sort of new things I "need" to further enjoy all of these out of doors. The number of people I met and reconnected with is going to keep me busy for many days/months to come.
A special meeting was held by what you might know as the NCFFF or Northern California Federation of Fly Fishers. This was a terrific opportunity to collaborate with fly fishing club leaders from all over California; (okay, it was me!) to share what works, doesn't work, challenges, and new ideas to further ignite the passion and leadership for the benefit of the sport and the environment. And, it is very clear the new FFI is very focused on both generating new fly fishers and the restoration and preservation of fisheries habitats.
As the Winter Olympics come to a close, I recall the words of the IOC President: "I call upon the youth of the world..." They are the future of everything we cherish today. They are the future of what we loved in the past and now need to work so hard to restore, preserve, enjoy. This was the best meeting the new "FFI" has had in many years, and I'm looking forward to working with YOU-yeah, YOU! And the other clubs around California (and the country) to see what we can do to bring the youth of the world to fly fishing and preservation of all fish habitats. Let us call upon the youth of the world, find ways to accommodate their busy schedules in between school, work, and life, and help them realize the potential they have to make a great difference in our world, today and tomorrow.
I'm excited-again! Are you? If not, let me know why-so I can get you into therapy. I'm off to writing and collaborating.
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