Grumpy Old Men

Grumpy Old Men

Martyn White | Thursday, 20 October 2022

I was watching the excellent Kiss the Water last night while getting my stuff ready for the start of seabass time, and I was struck by something that one of the interviewees said about fly tyers nowadays not tying flies and just glueing things to hooks. Not like they did in days gone by.

Without detracting from Megan Boyd, that is not my intent here at all, her skill and achievements are a huge but sadly neglected part of Scotland's salmon fishing history and, by extension, salmon fishing history as a whole. And her cottage's fall into disrepair is a disgrace. The critique of modern tyers is nonsense of course, there are some truly fantastic flies being tied every day, and Kelson had no problem with using glue, and there are plenty of books from the time of Megans life with refernce to glues or "tricks" like coating the tips of feather wings with celire to make them hold their form. It reminded me of quote often attributed to Socrates who lived in the 5th century BC:

"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

Old men have forever been criticising those who come after them, on occasion it might be justified but in most cases I doubt it. They're probably either factually or pragmatically wrong or both -as in this case. Fishing is an ageing sport, we need recruitment among young people and established members of the fishing community criticising the new, accessible aspects of the sport isn't doing anything positive for that. It's pure gate keepery, and it's bullshit. Invariably the gate keepers are also the ones mouthing about the problems of no young members in clubs while sitting on committee seats doing everything they can to make the same clubs unappealing to the youth. Just last week I wrote about a positive change brought in by a new young club committee. I live in fear of becoming one of those old men, I don't think I will but the urge must be resisted. I'd rather see a kid hanging a blob under a bung if that's how they get into fishing, maybe later they'll become curious about other aspects of fishing. But they need to get started first!

Now I'm away to give my rubber candies their second coat of silicon...