I have been hearing a lot about volunteering lately. Some of it has
to do with politics, some has to do with some of the fly fishing
organizations push to get small grass-roots groups to form and
try to develop fly fishing power from the ground up.
I am in favor of that, the 'from the ground up' idea. I have seen too
many well-meaning organizations become top heavy and actually
believed their own promotional materials. Too much weight at the
top makes things plop over. So far they have not fallen but many
have merged with others to attempt to form new images. So be it.
I still think that fly fishing is an individual thing that can be done in
Take a weekend on a lake or stream, half a dozen guys wading or
belly-boating, each in his own way, at his own speed and with his
own methods. But, they all spend the weekend doing it together. I
used to spend my weekends that way. A few of us would meet at a
campground to trout fish. We all used different fly rods, reels, lines
and usually, flies. But, in the evening, when all was done, a soot-smeared
aluminum coffee pot graced the rocks outlining our campfire.
The chill drifted up from the river and down jackets were the preferred
garment for the hours till midnight. Then off to our tents or campers and
back at it the next morning. A group had been formed. No official name
was given, but we had rules and ethics. Even then, without any formal
stratifying, we agreed without discussion that part of each day would be
spent cleaning up the area of cans and trash. It just went without saying.
Work was out. That was one of the firm rules though. No one was
allowed to mention any part of his job. Kind of silly I suppose but we
had fun having it that way. One of the bunch did teach us how to sharpen
a knife correctly, he was a butcher and felt sorry for us. We allowed that
exception. Back home a group just seemed to form and before I knew it
I had a dozen or so meeting on a regular basis at my house to tie flies. That
group went on to become the first FFF in the state. That was a long time ago.
Ground up. That is the way to get it right.
Volunteer to do it. Teach it. Tie some flies at a store or a mall or wherever
you can find an audience. Our recreation can not be saved or developed
from the top down. You are what is important, what it is all about, you are
who it's for. You and future generations of volunteers.
Lastly on a completely different subject, or maybe it isn't. Here is this. There
is a law now called the Clean Boating Act of 2008. This was recently signed
into law by our president. What it does is this. Permanently restores a
long-standing exemption for the nations 18 million recreational boats from
permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act.
This permanently reverses a September 2006 court decision that would
have required recreational boaters to obtain a federal or state permit in
order to operate their boats. Think about this one. ~ James Castwell