Two years ago, I got pretty excited by the cover of The Drake, showing the ultimate in fish handling: this salt-water fav actually stayed totally submerged, with the fisher’s hands and rod in the background. I thought that was a model for handing catch-and-release fish, and one that made me question some of my own fish wrangling, especially when taking that all-important beauty shot.
Over the weekend, I received the latest The Flyfish Journal with the above cover. Doesn’t it look like this cutthroat trout is getting squeezed? The magazine features a bunch of excellent pictures from fishers in a photo article called “Rises,” but to promote this kind of fish handling on the cover I find questionable.
From that 2015 piece, something to ponder from Gordon M. Wickstrom, the author of “The History of Fishing for Trout with Artificial Flies in Britain and America: A Chronology of Five Hundred Years, 1496 to 2000,” who wrote about six periods in fly fishing for the Orvis News blog in 2011:
“In closing, allow me to play the prophet: I think that, in this New Period of angling, we are part of an important cultural shift toward a deeper humanity and mercy of the good Earth. We may find ourselves living quite differently, living better with less, with a greater delicacy, clarity, balance and honestly. Fishing a fly on a clear, cold stream may well serve as a working model and inspiration for what we want. It shows forth qualities — environmental, psychological, social, economic and political — that we need to incorporate into the future.”
See you on the river, Jim Burns