Charting search trend data for outdoors activities. Seems to be declining, but why? Other fly fishing relevant search data charts as well…

So it’s a slow week at the office this week. Thanksgiving and all, so I was puttering around on Google trends, like I like to do, and noticed a fairly depressing trend illustrated by the chart below.

It appears that there is a seriously downward sloping trend among outdoor activities. I suspect that this trend is mostly the fact that the internet’s long tail is getting longer and people already know where to find this information and as a result are not doing generic searches for terms like “fly fishing” or “backpacking.”  But as a person with a respect for the sciences, I’m not offering that as actual causal relationship. I’m merely pointing out that the general public is is not searching for the stuff we like, as much as they used to.

Another interesting thing to note is that when it comes to fish species interest is largely flat if you remove the seasonal interest swings.

Notice there appears to be a slight decline in interest in steelhead, which anecdotally runs completely counter to everything I’ve seen on the ground in the fly fishing world. The term “bonefish” was clearly obscured by searches for “Bonefish Grill” so I left that out. In addition the term “trout” by itself, was WAY OFF-THE-CHART, so it was left out as well.

Another interesting group of terms I looked at was the various types of fly fishing we might do. Each seems to be fairly flat, with “dry fly fishing” clearly still being the number one searched for term among the group. Streamer fishing seems to the one that has grown the most in popularity recently, albeit only slightly. I’m sure most would agree that as a tactic it is, in fact, the one that has grown the most on the stream as well. Streamer fishing that used to be relegated to certain times of year is now acceptable all year long, on any day of the week, and in any conditions. At least it’s acceptable for those of us who don’t care about numbers but are looking for size, anyway.

And finally for comparison purposes I’ve done a trend query for mobile devices and trendy electronic gizzies to show what an up-trend should look like.

I think this just shows that the internet is getting mature and content in general is geting more targeted and specialized.

I think what this tells us is that we need to come up with some new stuff. New ways to fish, i.e. streamer fishing (ok it’s not new but you know what I mean) to get the general public excited about outdoors activities. I’m not sure what those new things are, but we need some new juice in there… anyone, anyone, anyone, Beuller?

A Deliberate Life

As a small start up company SmithFly doesn’t get the opportunity to really “support” much of anything. So when Matt Smythe aka fishingpoet and founding member of Silo4 approached me about helping out with a film project they were working on, there was an easy answer, “Hell’s yeah.”

It helped that the very premise of the work is exactly the same point of origin that compelled me to put needle to fabric and start making some stuff.

To live deliberately.

This is just some truly spectacular work going into this and I’m honored to be mentioned in there along with some other great brands providing support.


Sunday Afternoon on the River

We fishers have a saying, “the best time to go fishing — anytime you can.”

It can’t really be that old of a saying. It probably comes from our fairly recent times where we can’t fish whenever we want. Years ago when we were more agrarian, or perhaps when we were kids without all this r-word hanging around our necks, we could fish whenever we wanted to. But now for many of us, the opportunities appear scattered around the calendar like bones on the soothsayer’s table.

So after replaying this axiom in our minds time and time again, it becomes a reflex.  When that pang of boredom creeps into the back of your mind and you find yourself standing in the doorway thinking, what was I supposed to be doing right now? You think, nothing? Seriously? I don’t NEED to be doing anything? Is that possible?

That’s when you look at your watch, nod a bit, and then briskly walk to gear closet and select your rod.

This past weekend we had one of those moments in my house. My wife told me she was going shopping with her parents.

My 6 year old son looked me, and said, “Dad, lets not go.”

I affirmed his suggestion as a good one, and said, with a reflexive air, “let’s go fishing.” I then walked briskly to the gear closet and picked out a rod.

Being that it was the middle of the afternoon on one of the hottest days of the year it wasn’t AT ALL a good time to go fishing. But it’s when we could go.

We loaded up and hit the river. We fished a pool that has some good smallmouth in it usually, and is accessible for a person with 6 year old stature, i.e. a shallow riffle that’s easy to cross.  I used the 5wt and flies. He used his usual Zebco and selection of hardware, although he eventually got board with that and switched to throwing my wooden landing net at the minnows in the shallows. It  didn’t work too well, but wow, it was pretty entertaining to watch.

The smallmouth weren’t interested in coming out to play, but there were a BOAT load of suckers working this pool. Watching them I observed an interesting phenomenon I’d never witnessed before. At first, I started to see the flashes of their bellies in tail of the pool. I thought they were taking nymphs of some kind, as most of the suckers I catch are on small nymphs or midge larva while fishing for trout. But they wanted nothing to with small nymphs. So I eventually figured out that they were eating bait fish, but the most remarkable thing was HOW they taking them.

These suckers were actually cork- screwing their bodies through the water, turning over and over to take the little bait fish. Since Suckers are viewed as a by-catch trash fish in most places, I’ve not read a lot about their habits. This may be a common thing for them? Who knows?

But to me this was new, and fairly interesting.

We went home with the skunk removed by my little guy catching a creek chub on a tiny rooster tail. Out-fished by a 6 year old with a Zebco, I was. But it was good. Just being on the river with my son was enough to make for a perfect, albeit a bit warm, Sunday afternoon on the river.