Every now and again on Casting Across I share information about a product or a company in fly fishing. The goal is usually to tell a story. It is either the story behind a piece of gear, a business, or my experience utilizing something on the water. I’m happy to share these stories, and make recommendations to those who read.
Today, I’m sharing a totally different kind of product! After walking around some fly fishing shows this winter, I realized that there is a certain look in the community these days. Sure, there are logo hats, flannels, and the occasional tucked-into-the-jeans Columbia shirt. But the one feature that transcended all ages was facial hair.
I’m talking beards, lots of beards. There are even multiple beard-centric social media fly fishing icons.
I’ve worn a beard a few times in my life. These days, I’m taking it a little more seriously: for my own benefit and that of my lady (surprisingly, she isn’t a fan of beardruff). I started using beard oil to keep things a little cleaner and more tidy. My brand of choice is Yukon’s Beard. After seeing the sea of beards among anglers this past season, I talked to Tony Denham, the proprietor of Yukon’s Beard, to get his take on the phenomenon:
Generally, why has facial hair – big beards, in particular – experienced a resurgence in our culture?
There isn’t a singular reason that big beards are making a resurgence in our culture. I believe it is due to multiple causes that have set in motion the trend we’re seeing today. It’s not simply a clean-cut matter (pun intended).
The past decade we’ve even seen traditional corporate America being challenged by Gen Xers and Millennials who don’t want to conform to conventional preferences that hold back their creativity. The corporate “dress code” of the suit and tie is transitioning to jeans and an untucked shirt. With this, the face of man has changed. Sporting a beard brings the essence of wilderness, adventure, and the free-spirit into the workplace. I also think the resurgence of the beard is an affirmation of men who want to express their masculinity in a culture where the lines between gender are becoming blurred.
As a beard expert, what does the image of the bearded angler say about the man and the sport?
Whenever I think of an angler I always envision an older gray haired man with a full beard; sporting his hat and rain gear. He has a pipe dangling from his mouth, maintaining it with one hand while he carries a rod and reel in his other. Where I get this image from I’m not quite sure! However, I see the bearded angler as a symbol of time, perseverance, and character. He is a man who boldly faces the elements.