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Why I Write About Fly Fishing

I write more than I fish.

To be fair, I do write about fishing a lot. Realistically, that isn’t going to lead to enough quality grip-and-grin fish shots to make for a visually dazzling website. Moreover, that isn’t going to lead to hundreds of “likes” on social media.

And if I am being honest, sometimes that gets me down.

Not down down. Just kind of occasionally bummed out. Maybe it is fly fishing blog envy, but I look around and see some of the amazing places and spectacular fish that are out there. By and large people respond and gravitate towards imagery, and I think “well, I can’t compete with that.”

I’ll tell you precisely what brings this on. It happens every now and again. Some weird social media algorithm gets rewritten or I fail to use the right keyword and there are a few weeks of low website hits. My content doesn’t change and my logistics remain steady. It just happens.

It usually doesn’t take me too long to jostle myself out of the scowl. I don’t do this for website hits. I don’t write so that I get thousands of social media followers. I don’t write to get on the pro staff of companies. I don’t write so that people say “hey, you’re Casting Across!” on the stream. I don’t simply write so that my fly fishing pictures can have a few token words or hashtags.

I write about fly fishing because I enjoy it.

I write about fly fishing because everything else that I write these days requires such great precision and research that my brain needs a breather.

I write about fly fishing because I know that the Lord has given me some degree of ability to do so.

I write because, as I’ve subtitled this website, I believe that fly fishing involves a quarry and a culture.

Perhaps I’m a social cycle or two too late, but I feel like fly fishing writing is important. Writing that transcends “tips n’ tricks.” Writing that isn’t always too serious, but has the capacity to infiltrate the right places of the heart and the soul. Even some fly fishing writing that might be a little tongue-in-cheek, for a change.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ll take all the website hits and social media love. And I’m certainly very thankful for the partnerships I have with some top-notch fly fishing companies. I just don’t see those facets of this adventure as means to an end, but as an integral part of the journey. A journey that involves a weird/necessary dichotomy of independent/communal aspects.

Others might pursue those areas of “the industry” with great gusto. I don’t fault them at all. If there is a market for it, I say go for it. My path is different and in many ways, it is complementary. Historically, it has been important for fly fishing as well.

All that to say, I truly enjoy writing. Obviously, I want to fly fish as much as I responsibly can. Yet these days, my part in fly fishing – personally and in the community – primarily involves what I’m thinking about, type up, and post online. I’m grateful if one person reads, and I’m grateful if it is 1,000. I want to share my thoughts about a day chasing brook trout in the mountains, and I want to share my self-deprecating thoughts on how I obsess over under-wader attire.

Just like it isn’t necessary for someone to justify why he or she fishes, it isn’t obligatory to explain the reasoning behind writing about fishing. Yet in that explanation I suppose a lot more than “why” is communicated. So there you go.

I write for me. I write for fly fishing. I write for you.

6 comments

  1. Gabriel says:

    Well said. I’m the same way. It’s fun when I get page hits or a lot of social media response for my writing, but it’s really part of my experience of fly fishing for me. I actually wrote a similar piece for Fly Punk talking about this. Just like fly tying is a huge part of fly fishing for a lot of people, writing is also a huge part of the overall experience for me (also the tying). Whether someone reads it or not. It’s for me, but it’s a bonus if someone else gets something out of it too. Keep writing.

  2. Hi Matthew,
    I follow your blog mainly because it is NOT a how-to or where-to vehicle. Furthermore, I don’t do Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of those other time-wasters. Just because you don’t hear from people like me on a regular basis doesn’t mean we’re not out there. I enjoy reading about fly fishing by the old masters (Lamb, Gingrich, Miller, Jennings, Travers, etc.) and from people like you who fish for the joy of fishing and write for their own pleasure. Keep at it. You have at least one “non-social media” follower.
    Henry

    • Matthew says:

      Thanks, Henry. I do appreciate it!
      If everyone had one minute on the stream for every hour they spent scrolling on their phone, I suspect we’d be a whole lot happier.

  3. Keith says:

    Very nice written article. I personally like the photos you post as it is not necessarily
    better to have eye catching imagery or videos. Your articles have a very human and genuine feel to them which is missing in many other writings. Keep up the good work.

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