Oldie but Goodie

Hank Patterson, wolrd's most knowledgable fishing guide
just have to pick on yourself once in a while and I found this article I wrote for a small blog many years ago when I first started getting involved in the business and I laughed so hard. Its amazing how hard a young shop rat will try to fit in, and its amazing how far the sport has come. The weird thing is though, I still get the point. By the way, the story from the article is true. Italics added today.

So many days on the stream have resulted in pleasant memories for me. I have been having one of those years where it all seems to come together with beautiful days, excellent fish, well placed casts, and new friends. It was only recently that I found myself in knee deep water on a warm summer day, everything was going so good and for once I was alone in the best stretch of an awesome river. And than it happened. In the midst of chowing down on an excellent sandwich (thank you Vinny) best damn sandwich shop ever, right in pawing I hear a voice behind me "mind if I step in ?" Now fully annoyed that I spilled oil all over my lucky shirt I turned around and came face to face with every angler's dream. Standing there in front of me was a beautiful olive skinned angel of a women clad in her finest fishing gear and holding some old but well kept cane, silk line and all. Amazing right? Im not done. When I say fine fishing gear I'm referring to a lime green bikini top complimented with a belly ring and some OD convertible waders. True story, no lie. This really is a true story

Before I could studder a regretful remark from my drooping jaws her boyfriend emerged from the trees clad in a vintage trucker cap to go with a Skynard shirt he wasn't wearing a damn skynard shirt and cargo shorts soaked to the waste, a getup not unlike some I have been guilty of wearing on the water on more than one occasion I have never done this. After a short but pleasurable conversation I gave up my little piece of heaven on earth in a forceful attempt to share, and made my way back to my truck where I promptly burnt rubber, my generations way of telling our friends how cool and dominant we are. Not to mention how impressive it must be to the ladies. ok I did do this and I don't know why
This brings me to the point. In my opinion, this whole generation gap controversy I think I just mean young generation brought into the light over the last few years is going in the wrong direction. In some circles we have gone from complaining about a lack of involvement to whining about punk kids ruining the fly fishing tradition or changing the face of our craft. I cant say that I don't understand. its amazing how far we have come
It wasn't until later that I realized how annoyed I was by my encounter. As much as I enjoyed the spectacle I was perturbed by how loud their appearance was. Here I am enjoying the solitude of my favorite hole on an awesome summer day, enjoying the pastime of our forefathers when I was interrupted by two people who looked like they just got back from a spring break concert. Would I have been as upset if it was two older gentleman wearing tweed and smoking pipes? Probably not. Come to find out, the two happened to be excellent and knowledgeable anglers. Down to earth young folk like myself who enjoy a good day's fishing. she was a shitty angler using her dads shit and ended up cheating on my new friend
What is it that keeps us from accepting change? Are we so ready to watch our sport die?
Working in the fly shop and interacting with industry participants has made me realize that the new generation isn't ruining our sport, its improving it. I know that the new light on the subject is not outright saying that we are damaging the sport but they might as well be. I have met more than one young angler who could give many of us a run for our money on the river,and they can back it up in the shops too.
The same young Skynard fan I mentioned earlier spent an hour with me in the shop a couple days later talking about the writings of "the compleat angler" he really did this I know a lot of crusty guides who couldn't tell me who wrote it, let alone get through more than two pages of its confusing dialogue.
In truth, this whole generation gap controversy is just a way for some anglers to say stay off my river. we can become so selfish and protective that we wont accept the evolution of our sport. Some of the new anglers have been so good to us through their involvement. From stream improvement projects to new innovations not to mention some well worded letters to local governments and conservation projects.
With that said, its true the young crowd comes off a little strong. We listen to our music too loud and our hair is way to long. total shot at Rob Lewis Maybe we drink a little to much, sorry Rob. The truth is, these new anglers are good for the sport and all of us are entitled to the same pleasantries, even if we go about it in different ways. We all need to take a step back and have a good long look at things. We all need each other to face the problems we have right now and this is not one of them.

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