|I built this fish habitat, but haven't had time to fish it. |
I think that means I lack dedication and/or passion.
But again, what I felt most was disappointment, and the next immediate feeling was that maybe I'm not hardcore enough for that outfitter and their goods. The Outdoor Foundation reports that the mean number of fishing outings (including *all* types of fishing) is 17.9 times per year. As an advocate for the sport, these are the people you want. They buy licenses, they purchase gear, and most of them are copacetic with fishing about three times every two months. They're good for the industry and the fishery, much like gym members who rarely go to the gym are pretty good for the gym.
|Property of Fox Broadcasting Company|
"Boy, he sounds sour." Well, I am sour. I'm confused at why, knowing what we know about the folly of creating outdoor celebrities - and how the animal rights crowd loves to use the antics of those celebrities to try and snuff out our sport - that we are having contests to create more fishing rock stars. I'm confused at why at a time when we need anglers to defend conservation, defend federal lands, and defend a potentially dying industry, we are designing highly publicized contests to separate the 1% from the 99%. Because in larger society, that certainly hasn't been noted. Maybe I need to get a bunch of drunken worm dunkers and we'll be "Occupy the Poudre."
I'm sour because fishing does not rank in the TOP TEN "aspirational outdoor activities" of 18-24 year olds.
Or the TOP TEN "aspirational" activities of 25-34 year olds (for 20 years, a core market for outdoor retailers).
And it squeaks in at #8 for 35-44 year olds, previously, but no longer, a core market.
And it's no surprise that while at least TEN other outdoor activities are 2016 growth markets, according to the Outdoor Foundation, fishing is certainly not one of them. And fly fishing? I mean, it's about 10% of anglers....so.... 2% or so of Americans. "But it has grown 0.5% in the last 3 years!" Yeah sure. Kayak fishing has grown 17% in the last 3 years. We're losing *total* anglers hand over fist. Clearly, the fly fishing industry caters to a small portion of Americans. But which Americans?
After making solid inroads into wider acceptance (broadly and socioeconomically) over the last decade, it would appear that high end fly fishing is again positioning itself as the pinnacle of the sport, the pinnacle of angler excellence, the pinnacle of dedication and passion - and you know, dedication costs big bucks. "Fly fish 20 days in September" - because we sure are. If you can't fly fish 20 days in September, you don't have the passion. Bottom line. So says our marketing team!
Perhaps, once again in 2016, the soccer dads, football moms, inner city kids, and lonely apartment millenials aren't the sort of people that the fly fishing industry really wants. After several years of claiming they wished for "growth of the sport" during the Great Recession, I guess they've got enough Titanium Card customers to rid themselves of that facade. It is noted.
While I've hit personal records for both largemouth bass and chain pickerel in the last 12 months, and while I've fished in six states this year, including a four-day offshore trip in the Gulf of Mexico, I couldn't fish 20 days in September. Despite dedicating my life to wetland and stream restoration, I couldn't fish 20 days in September. Clearly, I lack the passion that some guys have. Maybe one day I'll have the kind of dedication to the resource and the sport that lets me enter a 20 Days In September contest.
Probably not. They're looking for a different kind of people.