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.
It’s interesting that the word beard has its roots in Middle English phrases such as “to boldly confront,” “to openly challenge,” “to come face to face with,” “to meet head on,” “to be brave,” and “to stand up against.” In my mind, I see the man and his sport as a type of conquest; a symbol of life’s circumstances and challenges we all face. The object of angling or any other pursuit is to build one’s character whether a beard graces your face or not.
I don’t picture the young teenager David sporting a full beard when he boldly confronted Goliath, but his character embodied very the meaning “to beard.” He bearded the bully. He came face to face and overcame the challenge. I view a man having a beard as a metaphor for engaging and pursuing truth. It’s a lifelong journey to become a better man today than you were yesterday. It is for tomorrow, to inspire and encourage the upcoming generation to make the world a better place.
Is there a specific style of facial hair that you perceive as stereotypical of fishermen?
That’s hard to say. Angler beards come in all shapes and sizes and there’s not really just one style of beard that is typical of a fisherman. There’s too many variables! To some extent one’s real job probably has more influence over the style of facial hair that a man chooses to grow. But if I have to make a choice, I’m going to go with a full natural beard, somewhere between 6-12 inches, with very minimal grooming or trimming. Just a natural, “let it grow and see what happens” kind of beard.
I go with this choice because I have a good friend that lives in eastern Virginia who is an avid fly fisherman. He sports a very nice long, full, natural beard. When you look at him you say, “yeah, he’s a fisherman.” (And when anyone has a conversation with him, they discover that he truly is a fisher of men!)
Why should a fly fisherman, or any other outdoorsman, use beard oil?
The number one reason why a fisherman or outdoorsman should use beard oil is that beard oil stops your beard from itching and protects it from the elements. Depending on a variety of factors, your beard and skin go through different phases of itchiness. Your beard faces the elements: humidity, dry air, extreme temperatures, poor water quality, etc. These all pull moisture from your face and beard, and irritate the skin.
Beard oil makes your skin and facial hair soft, smooth, and comfortable. Discovering beard oil and using it for the first time is kind of like finding that perfect fishing spot: pure excitement and joy! The only difference is that you can always share the location of the best beard oil.
Is there anything else about Yukon’s Beard that you’d like fly fishermen to know about?
Yukon’s Beard oil makes a beard smoother and softer, quicker, even if you have the most coarse, bristly beard. Yukon’s Beard is made to order. That means you are getting the freshest beard oil possible. This ensures you’re getting the highest quality beard oil on the market. Our beard oils and balms are made with generous amounts of pure essential oils. Tremendous care and thought goes into our hand-crafted beard oils and balms to produce extraordinary products that will protect your beard and keep your skin from itching. Our Woodsman beard oil is one of our most popular beard oils that any outdoorsman is sure to love.
You can use the following coupon code: CASTINGACROSS and receive 15% OFF your next order at www.yukonsbeard.com.