Book Review: Magical Fly Fishing for Majestic Steelhead!

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Zen Piscator, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. What I wrote is just one man's opinion. I think I'm entitled to that. Low hole me if you'd like. It wouldn't be the first time. If you'd like to throw a cast in my direction that's fine too. I run into idiots every day on the road and the river is not much different.:thumb:

    I did notice the wink icon but don't think it's sincere.
  2. Can I borrow that line some time?

    I thought the book review was well written and gave an honest opinion.
  3. I guess now I know why the mods yanked it the first time Zen posted it. What an airhead I am; I thought it was all a joke.:hmmm:
  4. As I mentioned, I've never before heard of the guy. I don't think it's classless to be critical of extraordinary claims if those claims aren't backed up by substantive evidence. I've had the good fortune to know some of the most accomplished steelheaders in the region, and they don't make claims comparable to this fellows, so I'm skeptical. If I'm wrong, and he's really God's gift to steelheading, I'll happily apologize for and retract any negative comments I made.


    Salmo g.
  5. Again, this issue has absolutely NOTHING to do with how incredible a person's claims are, how incredibly poor their inter-personal skills are, or even how "nice" they are for that matter.

    What it has to do with is ETHICS. Some of you should be familiar with this term, but perhaps it only applies to sporting inter-actions between people and fish. How many of you would be up in arms to see a guy kick a spawned out hatchery steelhead up on the bank, unhook it, then punt it back in the river like a piece of trash. THIS you would be incensed about!

    Yet making verbal sport of humiliating a member of your own species (presumably Homo sapiens, although I'm beginning to suspect Pan troglodytes) is not only acceptable but an activity to be relished and shared with glee.

    I'm sorry if I gave Zen both barrels, but I've been disgusted by this for a long time. And on the subject of "offending" people, I think it is obvious that there are at least some folks here who are "rubbed the wrong way" by seeing this kind of abusive crap. The fact that it's not physical (i.e. date raping, lynching etc.) DOES NOT MAKE IT ACCEPTABLE OR ETHICAL!

    Give it up guys, bashing people to this degree is not entertainment for civilized people regardless of how much the person being bashed may have asked for it.

    The only thing that may be ethically worse is actually defending this abuse.
  6. One of our biggest problems is there are no consequences in our society. Tell a lie, cuss in front of kids, go ahead, you're just being you and how dare anybody judge you! Well guess what. This is our little world. You come in and sh*t in the well, and some of us are going to let you have it. Giving newcomers the impression that REAL steelheading is what is being claimed by the author is destructive behavior. It not only negatively impacts the poor souls who believe it, it might even result in them quitting the sport entirely after a year or two of no success using that pink little fly. Each one that quits is one less set of eyes on the water, one less vote for our rivers and forests.

    You're going to tell me, as an experienced name-dropper did recently on another board, that a steelhead can take 400 yds of backing? I'm going to say you're a Blivet, which is three pounds of excrement in a two pound bag for the uninitiated.

    Ethics is not turning a blind eye to lying, petty theft, minor vandalism, or littering for fear of hurting someone's feelings. Confronting bad behavior, no matter how minor is the ethical stand to take.

    So giving the Sharpster a hard time is as much a lesson to the village as it is an attack on him. Act like him and you will be shunned. Didn't you see "Witness"?
  7. Interesting. So the ethics of this are derived from where? Have you ever made fun of someone? Can you take a joke? Is it acceptable to write parodies of behavior or comical critisisms anymore?

    I agree that the critical comments made were over the top in some cases, but this is the real world. This man released his works, backed by his reputation as something to the world, good, bad or indifferent.

    As for ethics, we aren't making fun of a guy based on an INTRINSIC trait. He's not black, or asian, or gay, or handicapped. He's Clay Sharp and he went out of his way to make his reputation what it is. He constructed this ediface, crafted over many, many posts on internet boards, boasted of his expertise, and blashphemyed God by saying his lies, deceit and boastful nature were GOD GIVEN TALENT.

    I will do nothing to cut this guy some slack. If being ignorant and arrogant are traits we will let live, then that is just as bad as making fun of someone for something they can't control. Clay can choose to moderate his behavior, he has not, so he should live with the consequences.

    While distasteful, I feel that none of this is over the top. When physical threats are involved, then I'd draw the line, but at this point, we are seeing in most cases, griping about behavior, satarical writing based on what he has in his book, and boorish comments on how they don't like him. Tasteful? No! Ethical? Depends on your value? Too much? Heck no!

    -- Cheers
    -- James
  8. SilverFly, I respectfully disagree with your take on this. Sharp Steelie has become a public figure in Pacific Northwest flyfishing circles for no other reason than his own unrelenting efforts at self-aggrandizement. His defenders often try to chalk this up to his "aw, shucks" naivete. Many of us might have believed (in fact I am pretty sure that I initially did) that he just didn't realize how outrageous his behavior was the first time (or ten) he bragged - and there is no other way to describe it - about a level of fishing prowess that the exploits of better known, well-seasoned steelheaders could never equal, or his continuous claims that his floss flies were the secret to his success and would dramatically increase anyone's productivity as a steelhead flyfisher. But since he got the same feedback on every site he visited (other than one - which will go unnamed - that has few serious steelheaders as regulars) but never toned it down despite all the electronic smack downs he was subjected to, it is impossible for me to conclude that he was naïve. It seems to me that he really craved the spotlight and realized the best way to do it was to post things that no even remotely modest fishing god would consider posting. Anyone who goes down the path that Clay set for himself has to expect that there will be some blowback. If Ron Artest goes up into the stands and beats a fan up; if Russell Crow punches out a photographer; if Angie the Fishing Goddess questions the manhood of every WFF member; or anyone for that matter engages - particularly in a very public way - in any other controversial behavior, are you suggesting that they should be immune to criticism because he or she is a member of the family homo sapiens?

    Look at the bright side: I'm guessing this thread alone will net him at least 5 - 10 sales that he otherwise wouldn't have gotten; might even turn the book into a collector's item.
  9. With the many different personalities on this board you are going to get many different responses to HIS tactics. When HE was posting on this board I never did anything but read his stuff and move on.

    I watched some of the posts he made on Westfly and just had to laugh. Holding fish and claiming this is a 38.5" fish and blah, blah, blah. He sure does have some nice photo's but that 38.5" fish he was bragging about might have weighed 10# at most.

    So, when someone writes a book and talks about his great success I just felt that some of the folks on this site that are new to the game should realize there are far better ways to spend their dollars than to buy his book. Sorry if that rubs you the wrong way.

    This site is free publicity and possibly a great way to advertise a book but his past behavior is also going to reflect on his credibility. If anyone wants a good all around book to read about flyfishing steelhead Deke Meyer's is a better choice.

    Sharp Steelie should become a guide because if anyone can guarantee those numbers of fish to first time fly anglers they will have their guide days booked years in advance.
  10. Let me clarify. I am in total agreement that someone coming on any of these forums is opening themselves to criticism and ridicule to some degree.

    Where I have a problem is when a line is crossed between justifiable "criticism and ridicule" and actual abuse. Where that line is I can't say, but it was crossed with this guy a long time ago.

    I guess it boils down to whether or not you are the kind of person who enjoys seeing other people suffer. If you see a guy on the street corner wearing a "kick me" sign, do you keep walking or do you take him up on his offer. Finding entertainment in another person's misery is wrong, even if the person brought it on to themselves. This is a basic tenet of humanity.

    My apologies for the earlier primate behavior references, but for some reason I cant get an episode of National Geographic out of my mind where a troop of chimpanzee's were fighting over the body of a juvenile baboon they had caught. They were using it as a toy, throwing it back and forth and hooting with glee, before they tore it to shreds and ate it. It was ugly, primal behavior pure and simple.

    I'm sorry but maybe that makes me an "elitist snob" when it comes to human behavior, but I draw the line when humiliating another person becomes a form of entertainment.

    Abuse is ethically, morally, and civilly indefensible, - PERIOD!

  11. I love playing devil's advocate.

    Repeatedly bashing everyone else's ethics, judgement, etc. is abuse in itself. I feel abused. Based on this thread, if you ever wrote a book on ethics, I would imagine it would get the same overwhelming criticism and abuse (verbal of course) that Clay's book is. SilverFly - The world's first and best self-proclaimed elitist snob of human behavior. I think you're pushin it a bit, but so did I. This wink, though, is sincere. ;)
  12. I am beginning to notice a pattern here.

    catch a steelhead= make someone jealous who hasnt.
    Write a book about catching steelhead= bash someone to a point of total humiliation. and then joke to your WFF buddies about it.

    this place is like a friggen high school.

    Zen wrote a geat review. I thought it was funny as hell. I know clay, I would not fish with him, and take his fishing ego with a grain of salt. but hes got pics yall. and a book.

    dont hate the player, hate the game.
    jealousy is an amazing animal, especially here.

    by the way, I have never caught a steelhead, and I have tried.

    grow up, and learn to fish better, if you are that concerned about numbers of fish you caught.
  13. Wow, this is turning into a really great dicussion. I like it that the mods let it play out, because i have learned alot.

    I didn't expect many replies and wrote the book review as a joke to kill time while the rivers were blown. I did actually read the whole book however, but the review was not objective.

  14. mgamby,

    "catch a steelhead= make someone jealous who hasnt."

    Please tell me you don't really believe that is what is at play here? Jealousy has ZERO to do with this.

    "by the way, I have never caught a steelhead, and I have tried."


    "I would not fish with him"

    Why? Please elaborate.

  15. that is EXACTLY what I think is at play here.

    steelheaders are an amazing bunch... and you cant not agree, that people get jealous when others catch steelhead, and your not.
    I have seen it on other fishing sites as well....
    but its my opinion to think that, right?

    I wont fish with him because I dont want to.... fair enough?
  16. GB,

    Point taken. Guess I can add hypocrite to the list. You're right, I was bashing, and I have to confess that I was chuckling to myself when writing the chimp references (probably the only person chuckling, but I thought it was funny :rolleyes: ).

    Yeah, I might be a "tad" spun up over this, but I along with several others had hoped the Sharp Steelie hub-bub had died long ago. We are just really very tired and sick of the whole thing as every time his name is mentioned a train-wreck is sure to follow.

    So I will take my OWN sage advice :rolleyes: and try a more "civil" approach:

    Please, my fellow fly-fishing brethren. Myself and a host of others with tendencies towards bleeding-heart liberalism, overt sympathy, and excessive estrogen levels, IMPLORE you to abandon the incessant pattern of ridicule that pertains to this person. We no longer find any humor in such activities and feel that there is no sporting value to be found in targeting him with your wit. I would also like to remind those of you who have valid complaints about his tenacious "self-promotion" that someone once said "there is no such thing as bad publicity". By repeatedly dragging his name through the mud you are only furthering his exposure and creating interest in his commercial ventures. If you want to find sport in denegrating someone, I would suggest that SilverFly character as he is totally full of shit and actually fancies himself something of an amateur satirist.

    OK, I was just kidding about that last part but just wanted to show that I can take a joke and make fun of myself.

    Let this be the end, - PLEASE!
  17. Me too, and it's a geographic one. I hope this thread hasn't become a manifestation of an Oregon vs. Washington animas.

    But then I've been wrong before . . .

  18. I would just like to say that I enjoyed reading Zen's review. Very funny. Wit like that is hard to pull off, Zen. cheers to you. I feel sorry for this Clay guy, though, no matter how silly he is. He really got dragged through it. Too bad.
  19. Reguardless of the quable, back to an interesting point. Sometimes there are books published on the topic of fly fishing (Clay's is not alone) that offer poor info, often misleading.

    When I was just starting out fly fishing I would believe anything anyone said to me about the sport. I was so eager for knowledge that I really didn't care what I was being fed.

    I think a lot of beginners are like this, and I think it would be nice if they recieved good info, maybe stuff like this can be helpful to them. Don't believe everything you see.

  20. Dang, talk like that takes me back to the days when my knees weren't blown up, and I spent hours trying to "break ankles" and "cross fools up" or making people fall over And 1 Mix tape style, playing basketball! :) Why, back in the day....

    No sarcasim intended or meaness intended, you writing that comment made me go back and put a big ol smile on my face! :) :) :)

    Yeah, I've had great days on gear, but not on a fly yet! I'm still waiting for that first tug and "FISH ON!".

    As for hating.. you should really look up some Sharp Steelie posts. I've had *GREAT* days fishing on gear and that was 5 steel to hand and about 7-8 bulls on the Hoh.... Honestly I can't image an 20 steelhead day on *any* stretch of river unless

    1) someone is lying
    2) the fish are stacked up somewhere not good and forced close together
    3) they are fishing a hatchery ladder

    In no case can I consider any of this good behavior :)

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