Monday, January 25, 2016

Trip Summary - Catch & Release at Montauk, January 2016

One of my goals for 2016 is to go fishing at least once every month. Coincidentally, Emily wants to go on at least one hike every month this year. I'm sure there will be at least a few two-birds-one-stone situations, but either way, it looks like the Voss family will be spending a lot of time outdoors this year. I kicked off my resolution this past weekend with my first fishing outing of 2016, with an overnight trip to Montauk for some catch & release trout fishing.

This trip fell into my lap. A few weeks ago, Emily had her college roommate, Alice, over for dinner along with her husband, also named Jake. We've been out fishing and camping with the Dunlaps before, so naturally it's all Jake and I talked about the whole night. Jake mentioned that he and some of his friends were heading down to Montauk the weekend of January 23rd, so naturally I invited myself to crash on the floor of their cabin Saturday night.

Fishing above the low-water bridge - Montauk Missouri

Friday, January 22, 2016

Trip Prep - Catch & Release at Montauk, January 2016

Late last year, I switched jobs, and one of the many benefits of my new position is having Martin Luther King Jr. Day off work. Now, this was a surprise to me. I fully intended to come into the office this past Monday, but luckily I overhead a couple of co-workers discussing what they were going to do on their day off. A day off? It was the most pleasant shock I've felt in a long time. Whereas Emily still had to work that day, I figured I might as well spend the holiday fishing. There was just one snag in that plan, the temperature.

Weather forecast

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Threat to Fly-Fishing That You've Probably Never Heard Of

Let me describe a group of individuals to you, and see if you can guess who I'm thinking of. Often, they can be seen wearing funny pants. It would be no surprise at all if you spotted them sporting some sort of facial hair. Old, expensive, antiquated equipment is their passion, even though cheaper, modern, more functional products are more readily available. They take pleasure in knowing their hobbies are seen as obscure, and they get bummed out if "the secret gets out" or "someone talks about a place," and a once hidden gem location becomes too mainstream. Despite these trends being decades expired, a few of them might still be wearing fedoras and some even unironically wear fanny packs. Finally, they're probably into some weird, arts & craftsy-type activities, and talk about it as if everyone should know the vernacular. I'm of course talking about hipsters, and once they catch wind of fly-fishing, I think we're all going to be in big trouble.


Hipsters: those weird young people who never seem to work regular hours, drink too much coffee, and pay too much in rent for crappy "renovated" warehouse apartments. Already hipsters have invaded once proud hobbies, including bike riding, beer brewing, butchery, and bluegrass music. What will happen when these once oddball activities become too mainstream for hipster culture, and a surge of these oddball "unique" youngsters come and take away your fly-rod, just like how Obama's going to come personally take away all of your guns.

I fear that fly-fishing, as a sport, is incredibly vulnerable for a hipster acquisition. It is a powder keg waiting to be ignited. Not only is fly-fishing a more obscure version of traditional fishing, but it is a hobby that rewards antiquity, expense, and exclusivity. Whereas a fly rod is more expensive and in many ways less practical than a bait-casting fishing pole, a bamboo fly rod is an even more expensive and even less practical version of a normal graphite fly rod. Owning a one-of-a-kind, hand crafted bamboo fly rod that is too fragile to ever fish with would be the dream of any hipster fly-fisher. But soon simple store bought bamboo rods will not suffice, and local woodshop co-ops will be packed with young mustached people crafting their own bamboo fly rods, using the finest, most expensive, imported, all-organic bamboo, of course. This is, unless they start growing their own bamboo. Soon hipsters will find out they need even more expensive gear for steelhead fishing, or salmon fishing, or salt-water fishing. They'll be chomping at the bit for a Tenkara fly rod. Just take a quick look at Tenkara Rod Co's website. The hipster leak has already begun. Rods are just the tip of the iceberg. The sport of fly-fishing is ripe for a hostile hipster takeover.
Vintage Hipster Angler
This isn't a new theory. Look at that old-timey hipster-angler and his mustache.
Fly-tying already rewards those who are willing to spend a pretty penny on materials. We already have chickens being specifically bred/manufactured to produce fine hackle feathers. What's going to happen when hipsters demand that these chickens be cage-free? Or antibiotic free? That $80 collar hackle cape is going to cost $150. The trout themselves (who already have many hipster-like qualities) will become more accustomed to this all-natural hackle fibers on flies, and refuse your shoddy hand-tied, traditional Adams or BWO. Today, fly-fishers already relish in finding secret tying patterns, or even discovering their own. Like moths to a flame, hipsters will be unable to resist the urge to start tying flies, using other-worldly patterns and proudly (and loudly) proclaiming the benefits of 19th century Scottish patterns over today's mundane flies. Fly-tying will become the new knitting. Mark my word.

It won't stop at fly-tying materials or patterns. I fear that like vinyl collectors and yarn stores of years' past, fly tackle manufacturers will see the rise in fly-fishing's popularity as an opportunity to raise prices on all gear. Can you imagine what an all-natural, organic, vegan 7x leader 3-pack will cost? Waders will be specially manufactured so that skinny jeans can be worn inside of them. Polarized sunglasses will now only come in colorful thick plastic frames.

You can forget about having that special, secret spot to go fish in. Hipsters pride themselves in their knowledge of underground, obscure hot spots. Not only will a surge of hipsters steal all the secret spots, but they'll add more bodies to the already crowded streams. You won't be able to false cast without getting your line tangled in some hipster's gauged ear plug. If the cleanliness of Williamsburg is any indication, conservation will surely suffer as well. Streams will be littered with empty PBR cans, American Spirit cigarette butts, and unspooled cassette tapes.

Hipster Trap
It's a trap!
To be completely fair, on paper, I'd probably be grouped in with first wave of hipsters discovering this sport. I have a record player in my living room, I drive a Prius, and the hair on the sides of my head is much shorter than the hair on the top. You can even find pictures of me with a twirled mustache online if you look hard enough.

Hipster Jake
Check out that fucking hipster.
However, I wear normal jeans, don't ride a fixed gear bike, and have a closet full of fishing tackle in my basement. If anything, I consider myself more of a lumberjack-type hipster than a Seattle-hipster. In fact, of all of the fly-fishing elements that would be attractive to hipsters (i.e., exclusivity and snobbishness) I consider some of the sport's most unattractive traits.

Of course at the end of the day, one thing does keep fly-fishing insulated from hipster culture. All those hipsters' dads would probably be on board with the idea and proud of their weirdo kids finally doing something normal and outdoorsy for once, and as we all know, parental approval is a big turn-off for hipsters everywhere.

You May Also Enjoy: