Sometimes all you can do is laugh…
If it weren’t for the opened turned pages of my MCI study guide, this post would never be written.
You see, I’ve grown relatively immune to negative press by people who have never met me. Quite simply, comments on my looks, my past and my causes simply don’t faze me anymore…
But the truth of the matter is that comments on my casting (without just cause) still get me slightly rattled as such comments indirectly affect my business.
I am a single-hand casting instructor…a proud one and a busy one. To have my skills virally attacked is grounds for me to speak up (albeit brief.)
Earlier this year I was invited by a large-profile magazine to partake in a photo shoot for one of their featured athletes’ shots. I was already in the area speaking at a TU event and the get-together was convenient.
We arranged a meeting place on the water with several guides and I wore a light coating of mascara and combed my hair in lieu of the shoot (I was later informed that full makeup would have been sufficient for such a shoot and I kicked myself for not being important enough to have a crew help me with my sweaty braid and flaking lashes).
A respectable magazine, we playfully yet seriously argued back and forth on the outfit of choice.
Their standard actions were to feature an athlete outside of their regular attire. A triathlete in a floral print, a rock-climber in the buff, a fly-fisher in white jeans and a plaid top(?)… We settled on a Patagonia zip-up, a smouldering stare and a seriousness that was quite difficult for me to keep still.
I found the whole ordeal rather humorous but respected their vision (and still do.)
What I was not aware of at the time of the shoot, was the wording of the side caption that would lace the photo; April Vokey, Savior of Fly-Fishing (which I most certainly am not).
While the criticisms flared, there was only so much I could interject in the dispute. I cannot be responsible for the wording of others, and furthermore would rather stray from insulting those who so kindly spent the day on the water with me.
But where the reasoning of this post lies is not in the photo, or the text in the side caption, rather in the short and unsuspecting video
that captures me telling bits of ‘my story’.
As we waited for proper photographic lighting, I picked up a rod and followed instruction by one of the kind local guides who lent me his time. On the American fly-fishing team, he was a master at Czech nymphing and he tried to teach me the technique.
Czech nymphing is one of those interesting approaches… without the use of a fly-line (in fact, the fly-line doesn’t even extend out the tip of the rod), an angler is left lobbing an assortment of flies outward, all the while trying to steer clear of over-hanging trees. It was interesting, but I sure as hell was no good at it. To rate one’s casting while czech nymphing is the equivalent of judging one’s Tenkara cast… simply absurd.
More versed with a single-hand rod than that of a Spey, I’m a caster and I like long shots at permit and tight loops with direction… while I respect it, Czech nymphing and I just barely got along; just enough to land me a few fish.
I knew the casts looked poor; they were supposed to.
What’s more is that I knew with a non-fisher editing a fisher video, that there would be no casting or fishing justice (case in point, the playful hookup of my leader entangling grass), but it simply didn’t matter.
We were catching fish, having fun and I was learning something new. It was great!
I have spent the better part of 10 years casting daily, fishing my tail off and battling the haters in this industry through the highwater days (such as now) and the iced over winters… But the last thing that I expected while sitting here alone with a slow internet connection on the Dean, is that I would be receiving the links to Moldy Chum, the Drake and other moron-laced websites who question my fish measuring skills, facial features, worthiness of this sport and my casting.
Surely, I’ve put in enough time, shown enough casting footage with a single-hand fly-rod, caught enough tricky species and cycled through enough towns to be given the decency of a bitten tongue and the differentiation of a swimsuit clad rod-flailing bimbo (see Sports Illustrated a few years back)?
Surely if they know me well enough to hate me, then they must know that I’m competent enough to conquer a simple roll-cast, right?
To no avail, some things will never change and I will still be called what I will… all I can do is defend myself where I may, here in the comfort of my own website.
I appreciate the shown support online, I am flattered by the assumption that my lips aren’t real (if I had them done, it would have to have happened 20 years ago… thank you Mom and Dad for giving Dana and I the good fortune of shapely mouths), and I delight in knowing that I am so eagerly spoken about amidst the ignorant internet community.
It just rightfully sucks that all this time later I am still rephrasing the “same ‘ol” of what has come to be a far too familiar blog.
There, that feels better.