Outdoor Writers Association of America
Northwest Outdoor Writers Association
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

April 12th, 1999

Couch Potatoes

We are as bad as everyone else. If we can't be fishing we probably have a bunch of fly fishing books out - or if it's Saturday morning, the television is tuned to what ever channel has some fishing show.

A really good one was aired in our "left coast" market recently, you might watch for it where you are. It was on Fox Sports, and was called the Fishing Journal. This particular one had a fisheries guy teaching little kids how to fish. The setting was a lovely stocked pond, and the kids - both boys and girls - were absolutely enthralled. He had some great tips on working with kids, and it's a super show. We also took note that our favorite outdoor catalog, Cabela's, was the major sponsor. Way to go!

Our favorite fly fishing show remains Mark Sossin's Salt Water Journal. It's not that we are such great salt water anglers, it is that this program goes to very great lengths to TEACH.

That is in direct contrast to so many of the shows where the 'star' is so wonderful, we are all supposed to just be thrilled at how good he/she is. Too bad.

Because the opportunity is there for these shows to do a lot of good. It doesn't have to be preachy or obnoxious in any way. The trick is to have the so called "star / expert" handle fish properly, (and that doesn't take a rocket scientist) handle equipment correctly - not like a recent show where the "star" broke the tip of two rods by poor rod handling. Of course, he doesn't pay for them, and he just reached back and barked "Give me another rod" to the person supposedly guiding him. I would have thrown him overboard.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to say something about the type of line or fly being used. Gee, there's a thought, maybe they could even show the fly on camera.

I think I've got it figured out. The "star" is God, the guys shooting the film don't know anything about fly fishing, and the editors putting the whole thing together are not looking for anything other than how good the lighting was and how long did it run. The show producers aren't fly anglers either and their concern is did it come in on budget. (Or do they have a sponsor.)

For entertainment value, some of these shows can certainly provide a good laugh. How very sad indeed they don't recognize (or care) what is the example they are setting to their viewers. Or what damage it does to the fly fishing community. ~ The LadyFisher

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