Documenting and bragging has been big part of fishing since the beginning of time. I can imagine the earliest of the human race catching a fish, holding up proudly, then scurrying away to hide and eat the bounty. I also can search a historical photo archive and find a deguerreotype somewhere of a guy holding, hanging from a stringer or fighting a fish, just like this one:
It’s always a grainy, black and white image of a big fish or a ton of fish. It’s almost predictable but somethings never change.
The question is, Why do we do this? Why is it necessary to document your outing? Are you a notorious liar, and nobody will believe you otherwise? Or is it you believe you will never catch a fish again and you need the proof to show all your friends?
I don’t really have an answer and I am not an expert of human nature, what I do know is ego plays a big part in this. Why else would it be necessary to take a photo of yourself holding a fish that you just caught?
Trust me, I am no saint. I am a fly fishing guide.
I take pics with fish, I take photos of my clients with their fish as well as the surroundings were enjoying. I do this for a couple of reasons.
Sometimes the fish is amazing and I want to show it off…so there is my ego shot.
I have many photos of my clients with fish for the main reason of fueling their excitement, as well as hopefully securing my spot as their guide for future trips when they are back in my waters. It’s simple, if I’m out of sight I’m out of mind.
This brings me to the ‘Instagramation’ of fishing and how it has cheapened the status of the sport I love. Instagram excels at bring forward the worst in people.
Social Media is now the new synthetic fabric of todays society.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, whatever social dot-com comes down the pike, has created false realities and false envy for their users and followers. What Instagrammers promote is the image of “amazing” in a second reality that is far from real. How many times have you seen the perfect pose, in the perfect place, in the perfect car drinking the perfect expensive drink with the tag line; “#livingTheDream” or “#mylife”? And you know they drive a 10 year old car and their selfies without a filter they would never look like that.
Every time I check out Insta’, it’s almost ridiculous. I will even admit that seeing scantily clad beautiful women has become completely benign and old hat…EVERYONE does it. “Likes” are that important to the poster that having dignity and mystery is no longer a value, it’s an engagement killer.
So that brings me to fishing pictures on instagram. I will once again state that I use and post on the platform and I am not condemning it. What I want to stress is to get your priorities straight on the reasons your posting the images you taking. And to take those photos with respect the to sport and the wildlife you have captured.
Having the opportunity to spend time in the outdoors, communing with nature is one thing, taking that experience, sexing it up, exploiting it or damaging it is a completely other story.
The examples I can give of this are many, the extreme ranging from a girl who poses topless with all saltwater fish she caught to the asshole that posted himself using a baby shark as a bong. If you find this funny, you might want to reevaluate you sense of humor.
Next up the list is the posters that believe that they are “influencers”. For those of you that don’t know what a instagram influencer is, It is a person that gets free stuff from companies because they have a substantial amount of followers. I get that, more eyes, more sales. Conversely, I have seen many photos posted of people with a fish, with their hat down so the Logo of upfront, with a beer can propped up with the label proudly presented in the frame with a million hashtags, thinking that they will get noticed and become sponsored.
Two things; One, having 210 followers does not make you an influencer and secondly, you’re really not all that interesting. On a side note, if you’re a cute girl, that’s a perk for gaining more followers but, I can assure you that those followers are not all that interested in that fish you caught. What exactly are they trolling for? Just remember that.
One of the things that social media does do well is highlight failure. Get online and search #fishing #flyfishing #bigfish, check out how many anglers are mishandling the fish. They have them by the gills or hanging from their jaws. They have them flopping around on the shore or out of the water too long.
My personal favorite is the people who forgot they were trespassing and fishing private water. Even worse than that is the people who willingly break the rule JUST for the photo-op, Talk about losing sight.
I know it sounds like I’m a grumpy old dude and I just don’t get it but let me move to the great part of instagram fishing pics…..I got nothing”n
I love seeing beautiful places, gorgeous fish, amazing flies, exotic destinations, you know, it’s the reason why we do this.
I would like #flyfishing or #fishing to be more like the Travel Channel or The Drake Magazine less like a venue for shameless self-promotion
My advise, keep the camera in the car, or if you cant resist, take fast and thoughtful photos. Always respect the fish, the enviorment, and if you’re a catch and release angler, “keep’um wet” let them go quickly.
One thing I know for certain is a well told fish story is way better than a photo any day of the week.
Tight Lines (from the socially unsocial guide)