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Old 03-31-2011, 05:28 PM
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Default Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

I read an interesting comment on another forum the other day. The poster was complaining about increased license fees, and also generally about the cost of fly fishing gear. He said that fishing used to be a working class sport, but the way things were going fly fishing would become a sport that only the rich can afford.

My impression is that fly-fishing is becoming more blue collar than it ever has been in the past. Sure, your average working class joe can't afford a custom bamboo rod or the newest sage, but there is a lot of high quality, affordable equipment out there right now. Sure there are high priced private waters that I will never fish, but the internet makes it easier than ever to find about about all of the public water available to all.

What do you folks think?
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:36 PM
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Default Re: Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

With all due respect, trying to typify the average fly fisher, one economic bracket or other, is:
a. Fruitless
b. Pointless
c. Incredibly difficult to sample
I truly doubt that there is anyone on this forum, or any of the others, that has the breadth of exposure to the demographics of the fly fishing public (or pockets deep enough to sample it) that this topic requires for an answer that has any basis in reality at all.

Having said all that, it'll be fun to watch the answers roll in.
Gary
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

Thanks for your reply Gary. I would agree with you that trying to sort the average fly angler into one economic bracket would be silly. My point is that I think fly fishing is becoming more and more available to people of all economic backgrounds, rather than less available. I'm curious whether others would agree.

Best,

Tim
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Old 03-31-2011, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

Got it, understood, Tim. thanks for taking my comment in a positive light, which is the light in which it was intended. I get too serious/analytical sometimes, anyway. Hopefully your query will elicit some interesting thoughts. Boy, I sound like a pompous ass (which I'm really not) tonite, so will get out of this interesting thread's way.
Gary
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:13 PM
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Default Re: Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

Tim,
I don't think anything really has changed over the years. The way that I look at it is that there is a little bit for everyone. TFO probably sells more units of rods than any other company. At its price points, it makes great value rods for those who can't afford $700+ rods. Abel makes a killing by selling to its core customers. They are willing to spend over $450 for a custom graphic click and pawl reel or $100 for a pair of nippers. I say bravo to those companies who know how to identify their clientele.

Being in the business, I see a wide range of customers. I sell to anyone making blue collar wages to those clearing a million a year. Premium tackle will cost plenty. Good basic gear will stay within reach.

MP
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

With the advance of manufacturing technology, as well as having things made overseas (no matter if we agree with that practice or not) products are becoming cheaper and cheaper to be had. Years ago it may have cost several hundred dollars to get a decent rod while today you can get one of the one of decent quality for $100, if not less.

Also, with manufacturers racing to get the latest and greatest out, they will be clearing house almost yearly, which results in great deals for those that bother to look.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:59 PM
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Default Re: Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

I can't comment on demographics or statistics...as for the latter I parrot the late great Winston Churchill who said he only believes in statistics if he gets to falsify them himself. That being said...I started Flyfishing around 1999. Two trends I noticed personally - both in conjunction with technology/internet. 1) You get a lot more for your money. Awesome fly rods are now available within $200.....I did not see that initially 2) Information/education incl boards like this, free on line websites etc allow you to get so much knowledge and give any eager student unlimited access ....regardless of affluence. I don't know whether that means more or less blue collar - but it does make it less "mysterious"...more accessible to the masses. I always feel the more people that fall in love with this sport and with trout - the better off we all are.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

It's always been available to everyone in my opinion.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

Wait.... There's blue collar people taking part in this fine pursuit? Are you all not millionaires? I know I am-- thus the sole reason I fly fish.

Good topic. I am thrilled that there is affordable gear out there. If it weren't for affordable gear, I'd have no gear. Truth be told-- I could afford, as many on the forum, a new sage rod--- but this isn't my only 'hobby'. That same 7 or 800 dollars would go a long way to a new motor for my little GTi project car...... Or to that smoker that I've been eye-balling.... Or to some material for my back yard kitchen.... you get the point....

I know of two instances of good gear at great prices that have gotten fly rods into local hands just this season.... that can't be a bad thing. One guy I have fished with for a few years, he with spinning gear--me with fly gear. He expressed interest, I ran across a pretty good rod at little cost and picked it up for him, put a spare reel, line and leader on it for him. I suspect he won't look back anytime soon....

The second story is a person who found me thru this site, we pm'ed, he got a nice redington set-up for a great price... we've 'fished' once together-- limited time, and we were just playing around- comparing notes, etc.... I suspect with this person's great stroke and cast-- there'll be no looking back either once a few fish are brought to hand.

I will say-- there'll be a time when fun, go-fast bits and pieces on a car will be lesser on my radar-- but fly fishing is likely to be a life long pursuit--- cliche, I know-- but true. I can only hope that for these two guys it is the same.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Fly fishing - becoming more or less blue collar?

It's become more affordable by far but unfortunately our leaders have seen fit to really put the crimps on a lot of folks financially these past few years. All in all I'd say a lot more folks are out there these past few years due to the affordabilty factor. I worked in fly shops and sports stores that sold fly gear in Maine, Washington, Ohio, Colorado and Florida and now keep close tabs on Ebay, fly gear for instance. Many bargins to be had these days where a few years back they were very scarce. Add to that the information and teaching that goes on in forums such as this and from blogs and fly fishing websites and the potential is endless for all price points.

Slightly off subject, a short time back I, as a frequent forum poster on several national forums over the years, and working fly shops, part time, I was included in the loop for field testing gear by at least three different top salt water fly companies but health reasons took me out of the loop for awhile and that ceased. I am amazed that more of the big companies do not seek out and include folks who have been pros, etc and who do a lot of time on the net, moreso than they are now appearing to doThey'll get a lot more exposure from this than feeding gear to guides in my estimation.
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