Angling Trade is pleased to partner with AFFTA by featuring a regular column in the Angling Trade E-news from AFFTA communications director Jess McGlothlin…
A few weeks ago I was lazily drifting down the lower Madison with a friend who is a relatively busy guide. It was a day off for us both, a day of mellow fishing and drifting conversation. As so often happens, talk transitioned to industry chatter. While he’d taken a relatively direct route into the fly-fishing industry; my own has been rather circuitous, providing us both very different views into this small world we all inhabit.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to approach the fly-fishing industry in a variety of ways—writer, photographer, shop rat, shuttle driver, marketer, copywriter, social media manager, international camp management staff. Each new angle lends new appreciation (and, yeah, some new frustrations) about the industry. Currently I run a busy freelance photography/writing business, am the communications director for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) and work as the social media manager for Yellow Dog Flyfishing. Pretty much all fly fishing, all the time.
The recreational fly-fishing world is a small one. When you look at the number of people who truly make their living in the industry, the number drops even further. We tend to enter this world because we’re passionate. Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life, right? It’s not quite so rosy as that, but in the past few years I’ve been able to work closely with fishing guides and industry professionals across the U.S. and abroad. Whether we’re sitting in a tundra camp above the Arctic Circle in Russia, sitting on a tiny motu in the South Pacific eating raw fish, or floating down a river in Montana, once you get past the language barrier the answer is pretty simple: I do this work because I love it.
Walk the aisles at IFTD, the industry’s annual trade show. The fishing folk filling the booths might look a little “scruffy” (a clean pair of blue jeans is sufficient dress clothing in most Western towns) but take a closer look. They’re happy. Those smiles are genuine. Yeah, we might not be in the industry for the money, but you can bet there’s a veritable laundry list of reasons why we do what we do.
In this new monthly column, we’ll take a fresh look at various aspects of the industry you perhaps hadn’t given much thought to. Stay tuned for more, and feel free to reach out with ideas you’d like to see covered.
Jess McGlothlin, Communications Director, AFFTA