Lake Davis with Jon Baiocchi

by Jon Baiocchi

A guest of mine last week asked me a question. "What does fly fishing need to reach the next level, what’s missing?"

My take - “I would say it’s more about what fly fishing doesn’t need. Fly fishing is just fine. I have no problems with it. It’s an amazing lifestyle with historic values, but there are a lot of pieces to it that aren’t necessary. It needs less bling, and more soul—that’s what it needs.

It comes down to aspiring new anglers, and veteran individuals of the fly fishing community pushing the industry to new levels of productivity, and creativity. Right now all the brands, shops, guides, and manufacturers are competing with each other because they see themselves as an eternal part of the industry. They are all trying to bullhorn their message, many with little experience, or shall I say roots. In a perfect world, if we were all working together, the way that the industry started, we would probably be a lot stronger. When we all strive to teach, educate, preserve the waters we fish, and share fly fishing, everybody wins including the fish, the bugs, the public, and the rest of the industry.

Fly fishing needs to inspire more participants to be passionate enough to spread their love of sharing the great outdoors and fly fishing, and the species of fish we seek to catch to the masses. As an industry, we’re spending all our time trying to steal market share from each other and not enough time trying to grow the actual market for a solid future. It’s been better in the last few years with some positive individuals, clubs, nonprofit orgs, and others rising to the top and spreading the good word. Giving up on that positive goal can’t be an option.”

Jon Baiocchi has been fly fishing and tying flies since 1972 and has been a California licensed fly fishing guide for 22 years, is a published author, educator, innovative tier, and public speaker giving fly fishing presentations to clubs and expos around the state. Jon operates Baiocchi's Troutfitters guide service in the northern Sierra during the warmer months, and on the Lower Yuba River during the winter. He has a reputation as a hard working guide who has been trained by some of fly fishing's best known master anglers, and is passionate about teaching all things fly fishing.