December 9th, 2002

By James Castwell

I do not know. Nope, really, I don't. We had an idea when we started, give real information, not just pictures, be adult about stuff, try not to lie, have a chat room with hosts who had tools, a guest book, the best bulletin board available, to have guys who actually fish do some of the writing - not writers who do some fishing and try to create a place where all fly-fishers can get togther and learn, teach, share, ask, inform, complain, brag and hang out. And we wanted to recreate the 'Fraternity of Flyfishers,' not just trout guys, anyone who fishes with a fly rod. I think we have done that.

Over the years fly fishing has changed. From wooden rods to cane, to today's materials. The flies have developed too, most have been discarded and replaced with new versions. Far more flies now reflect some semblance to some sort of food, not just fancy attracter styles. All of the accessories have improved, keeping pace with each new fly, line and rod.

Our society has changed too. Families no longer live so close together, travel has become easier for all of us, both close to home and far distant. The comradery of the early times has been relegated to the dust covered books on our shelves. The interaction of many is not what it was in past times, our culture is not conducive to this type of involvement.

Over five years ago we started this web site, today it is very large and growing constantly. Why? I am not sure, I can only venture a guess or some chancy opinions. What is it that keeps us all involved here? Why do we check the Bulletin Board a few times a day, many hit the chat room nearly every evening, often until two in the morning? What is it we are all seeking, or missing, or...or finding? Are we finding something here we want/need?

Is there something missing in our lives, something outside of fly-fishing, some facet of our existence which has been lost in our bourgeoning society? I don't know, perhaps. Is FAOL a safe place to come to, a place where we can enter without being judged or have to perform to some standard set by today's rules? Maybe.

Why are guys starting already to tie flies for the Fish-In 2003 next September? Can a fishing trip be that important? Does getting together with a group of like-minded persons mean that much to us? Not one of us would suggest we all line up and enter a stream 'cheek by jowl,' yet we can't wait to get together to play 'show and tell' with our pet fishing gear.

Is the information on FAOL so important, or is it that it is here and we can pick from the tree at will, whenever we want, taking as much as needed at any given time and replacing such as we may have the ability to do?

We often mention how things were better in the old days, or at least different. True, they were. So, when in the future, when 'now' will be the 'good old days,' then what? What are we? Are things going to get better or worse? Will the fish dwindle, or rods be made poorly in the future? I don't think so. Fishing will improve, management and stewardship will dictate just how much. Equipment will continue to improve, hard as that may be to believe.

But, what of us, FAOL and those of us who have built, or rebuilt a fraternity of like minded souls with an eye on the sport. We are now the 'cutting edge' of fly fishing. You have made it that way. Where it goes is up to you, each and every one of you. It will be in your hands to continue the ethics of such a group and how they are stitched together. What will the internet be in ten or twenty years, who knows?

We will try to keep up the standards by which we all seem to live. Those which seem to direct not only our fly-fishing, but our lives as well. We owe that to history, someday these will be the 'good old days.' Let us make sure they are just that. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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