Solving the Problem of Foundering Fly Fishing Clubs – Editorial Opinion Conclusion

| August 13, 2014

fly fishing clubs modern clubs modernizing #flyfishing operations
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So how do we solve the problem of dying clubs, and more specifically dying fly fishing clubs? By sheer coincidence I was listening to NPR recently and two authors of two different books were being interviewed. The books “The Vanishing Neighbor,” and, “The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter,” both hit on the problems clubs are having, but in more of a big picture cultural context.

In a nutshell, one author looks at the scientific effects of people engaging in social interaction over the internet, versus social interaction in groups in person. What they found is that the groups that meet in person, even if they don’t engage in highly active conversation, those people have a lower instance of deep depression and a lower occurrence of dementia in aging. So the positive side of communing with people at club events is real.

The problem is most people are dealing with less and less time for going to club meetings, so they may try to engage on the internet when they have time – I would add, much like you do here at Texas Fly Caster. That’s where Dunkelman’s “The Vanishing Neighbor” steps in and identifies these modern conflicts and solutions.

Now we all know clubs cannot be all things to all people. That’s certainly not what the solution is about either. What the solution is about, in my opinion, is bringing the social engagement of the club and club events to the people who do not have the time or means to attend.

How can clubs bring the excitement of their meetings, guest speakers and events to those disconnected connected people wherever they may be? Hint? By embracing the technology those non present people rely on to participate in whatever amount they want from the comfort of their own homes.

If I get in the car and drive to a club meeting, a number of things are immediately in play. First, I turn the key and begin burning fossil fuel that cost an insane amount of money (a club trip to the same location EVERY SINGLE TIME) runs me around $15-dollars. Next I have to fight traffic. I may have a quick trip, or it may take 50-percent longer than normal. Along the way I could be in a wreck that would total my car, and who knows what happens to me in the accident. Is it worth it?

Technology, the technology that separates us from others, in business and in fun, can bring a group of fly fishers together – like no other time in the history of the world. First, clubs would need to have a “tech” person who is committed to communicating the way younger people are accustomed to being communicated with on a CONSISTENT BASIS. Right now that means an active twitter account that those in the club can read and follow, if that’s how they want to connect. Right now that means an exciting and dynamic website that is being updated – with all kinds of media – all the time. Right now that means live streaming of club meetings, or recording and putting them on their club YouTube channel in a quick and consistent way. Right now that certainly means recording all guest speaker’s lectures for access on the club YouTube Channel so that even if am not into technology, maybe I can catch that Lefty Kreh lecture, or watch it again to make sure what I thought I heard in person was what I really heard. This stored information also becomes a club’s library, and a club’s attractant for new members.

So who’s going to step up and do this? Which organization? Which individuals within that organization? Sadly, I haven’t come across anyone at these clubs who really embraces the possibility of harnessing the power of the internet and the power of gathering in groups (in person) as a club, to enjoy the sharing of all facets of fly fishing.

Clubs are in a Catch 22 now, where members are rapidly aging, disconnected with these technologies (or just plain tired of them), and these club’s public image reflects that. Clubs appear tired, out of date, reactive instead of pro-active, and therefore don’t attract the young people with the knowledge, experience and ability to light the technology fire that would bring these clubs back to life and avoid the “demographic train wreck” straight ahead.

The “problem,” technology, my friends, is the solution.

The Village Effect: How face-to-face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier and Smarter,” Sandra Pinker, May 2014

“The Vanishing Neighbor,” Marc J. Dunkelman, August 2014

“The good news is that the very transformation at the heart of our current anxiety holds the promise of more hope and prosperity than would have been possible under the old order. The Vanishing Neighbor argues persuasively that to win the future we need to adapt yesterday’s institutions to the realities of the twenty-first-century American community.” – excerpt, book synopsis for “The Vanishing Neighbor,” by Marc J. Dunkelman

END NOTE – I have a multi-page step-by-step document outlining all the technology, how to use it, and how to make it (your club and your club’s image) appeal to new fly fishing members of all ages. It discusses the implementation, maintenance and work flow that comes with a commitment to modernizing a fly fishing club to be more appealing to fly fishers looking for a place to gather. E mail me and I will be glad to send it to you.

And if you want to see the kind of website, in this case a website I created for a club, be sure and visit That site is a perfect example of what I call a Ferrari website; one that is okay as it is, but has all the technology underneath to blow the doors off traditional fly fishing organization websites. They keys are in it, but it hasn’t even gotten out of the garage yet.

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Category: Causes, Industry, Life Observed, TECHNICAL

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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