So you think scuba divers are cool? Maybe you visualize a diver as some sexy neoprene-clad temptress who unzips her wetsuit a little, shakes her hair and says “Wow that was great! I really get a kick out of hand-feeding those giant groupers! And l just love the way those huge manta rays glide by like enormous birds!”

If you suffer delusions like this it is likely to be because you have seen footage of divers filmed on dive boats in the tropics. They are all young and fit and easy on the eye. Their suntans are golden.

But real divers are not like that at all. I used to do a lot of diving and I can tell you that your average diver is some bloke who drags himself, shivering, out of the English Channel (or somewhere equally grim). If he´s lucky he might have seen a prawn or a hermit crab but the chances are that in the near-zero visibility water he couldn´t even see the dive buddy he was tethered to. Frankly, he´s pretty pleased he is still alive and that he and that he hasn´t succumbed to hypothermia or the bends. His nose is runny and his skin is white. Or maybe blue.

And now it seems that this rift between appearance and reality is creeping into fly fishing too. You know as well as I do that your average fly fisherman is a pretty flawed human being (just think of all your fishing buddies!). The chances are he´s already long passed the time his warranty expired and various components are beginning to creak and grind. Maybe his eyesight is failing which might explain why he seems to catch so little. There are a lot of guys like this out there. They sit stoically on the hard wooden seats of drifting lough boats until their arses lose all feeling. They ignore the drops of rain that collect on the rims of their hats as they cast tirelessly, hour after hour, to the recalcitrant trout that pay them no attention.

But now there are new kids on the block. A new generation has emerged that, frankly, make the rest of us look distinctly substandard. They´re younger than us, and fitter too. Of course it would be comforting if they were crap fishermen, but unfortunately they´re not. You have probably seen photos of these young guns cradling trout as long as your arm that they tracked down in remote rivers in New Zealand. And then there are the ones who wear sunglasses that mirror the cloudless sky as they pose with bonefish or permit in some faraway tropical paradise. These guys are really pushing the limit. They wear bandanas and scarves over their faces and look like a curious cross between a jewelry store thief and Lawrence of Arabia. They need two hands to display their catch and balance their rod and reel over their shoulders while they grin in front of the camera. And when they are done catching whoppers they upload footage onto the internet so that schmucks like us can watch them on Youtube.

But maybe there´s an upside to all of this. We all know that fly fishermen share a deluded optimism that animates them at every prospect of a trip to the water. By their very natures we are “clouds and silver lining” types. Could it be that instead of envying the new generation of upstarts we ought to be grateful to them? It could turn out that the widely disseminated antics of these trendy young bucks will raise the profile of the whole sport. People might think we fly fishermen are cool. Even us! And, the next time we wander into the pub after a fishless day of misery, beautiful women at the bar will smile coyly and cast admiring glances in our direction.

Or maybe not.

Young Bucks was published in Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Monthly February issue 2017



Typical diver my arse


Give us a break! I don´t know anyone who looks like this so I stole this image from: