The Dwindling Fly Club? What can we do?
There is some recent communication that our fly fishing clubs are dwindling away? That may be true for some, but not only can that be changed, it is not true and can grow!!!
The debate is if the internet is the future of the sport. Agree it is an important part, but not the answer. Please review the initial thought, and then how the Texas Council is going to support our fly fishing clubs!!!
Great topic to discuss. Agree that fly fishing clubs need to change to the times, and yes the internet can help. However, it is my opinion that we are leaving the human factor out. If you use the internet for information, techniques, places to chat, and save gas, guess what, you are alone. The internet is used for times when one cannot be in a group setting, or doing the things they like to do. They are in a setting by them selves, making the best use of their time, and again, still alone. Statistics show in Texas, and across the country, that the clubs and councils that have made changes, are growing like crazy!!! This past week in Livingston Montana, the Texas Council was awarded the Silver Merit Award for the highest percentage of growth and numbers. The Fort Worth Fly Fishers were awarded Club of the Year from their efforts and seeing their membership also grow by over 35%. The Austin Fly Fishers won an award for their conservation programs and efforts. Living Waters Fly Shop in Round Rock, Texas won fly fishing club of the year. Not because of their website, but because how they help fly fishing men and women. The Texas Council was Up over 32% from the previous year. Try and find another organization that can claim that. The success of the Texas Council did not come just from the internet. It was from putting effort into the local clubs. Communication, working logistically across the state, and putting on an amazing Expo. Clubs are now doing activities with each other. This past weekend, the Fort Worth Fly Fishers and the Austin Fly Fishers had a joint outing, and on a 100 plus degree day, had over 45 brave souls, drive long distances to fish. You can’t do that on the internet either.
With close to 900 members, the Texas Council will focus on what matters this year. Supporting the clubs, educating Texans on fly fishing in our great state, and preserving our natural resources. simple as that. This past spring, seven clubs joined forces to support the Living Waters Fly Shop do a clean up on Brushy Creek. Well over 60 again drove to support a local fly shop and club. From as far away as Sherman Texas. They do this because they want to help, and be with other fly fishers. For clubs tom prosper, they must have numbers, bringing in funds, supporting club functions, and educating the new members. The clubs that do that, will be successful.
Our plans to grow the fly fishing community this year, will be to go to the communities!! Simple as that. We will travel to functions across the state, in numbers, helping clubs help themselves. Having a traveling casting road show. Supporting the many tying events across the state, joining forces to clean up and protect our natural resources, and most importantly, fly fishing!!! Can’t do that in front of a computer!!!
Fly fishing is not a sport that is cheap, but what sport is? You get out of it, what you put into it. You invest, you get return. New friends, memory of a lifetime, and making a difference in preserving our world. That’s what I am going to do. That is what the club I belong to is going to do. And that is what the Texas Council is going to do.
To follow what we are doing, stay in tune on Facebook, or at texascouncilffi.com. New website coming soon!!!!
If you like to fish, want to learn how to fly fish better, help protect and preserve our natural resources, then join your local club. For the cost of one night out dining, you can see speakers discuss topics every month, attend fly tying seminars, go on club outings and fish, participate in conservation projects, and most importantly, meet new people in person. Make new friends that you can do activities with. Or you can sit in your chair, on the internet. It is your choice. I prefer the other.
President of the Texas Council International Federation of Fly Fishers