In summation, I think you are saying, steelheading, if compared to rock 'n roll, is a 70's band down to their one last original member who misses most of the shows on an endless casino farewell tour because of a bad heart.I think steelhead fishing should be made uncool again. It's almost happening. It's so cool right now that guys like me who are actually cool don't do much of it anymore. I will repeat that narrative over and over to as many as possible to negate any false belief of cool. The evolution of cool and the steelhead is simple. Here's how it goes.
Stage 1: Steelhead fishing is something your grandfather did and your dad but video games and other stuff are cooler so the twenty something crowd opts out. Essentially it's a bunch of old farts and weirdos who like being cold and miserable. This stage is the "golden" age as the golden agers are the main practitioners. They are retired, bored, and uncool.
Stage 2: This stage is the "economic" stage. Demand for this Filson experience increases and even the younger cool crowd begins to take notice. Being they are cutting edge "early adopters" of this long lost arcane art they are dubbed the coolest of the cool. A boom in the fishing economy happens and companies are on for the ride.
Stage 3: This is the "exploitation" age. This is the stage we are in now. Steelhead angling is now at the height of cool. Problem is the stage one guys don't like the company or all the buffs and bobbers. The experience is packaged and processed into easily digestible units for those who want to be cool. They aren't that cool but they still think it's stage one or two. These are the new experts. These are the bead bros. The real experience is degraded while these guys get experience and post their exploits on various ego masturbatory blogs and social media.
Stage 4: This is the "death" of cool stage. All the actual cool guys have left the building or at least stay well hidden. All that's left is guys who "got a grab" and landed "a face melter". It's a cacophony of bro talk and false fortitude mixed with the heavy scent of Filson wax, the soy based stuff that's non toxic of course. The heady mix of micro brews and hipster facial accessories offends the old guard to the point they don't want to be associated. The industry still thrives but it's clear a change is in the air. There's so much cool and not much substance. Even the cool guys are losing patients and wonder what a steelhead actually looks like and they fantasize about actually catching one.
Stage 5: The "extinction" of cool phase. The death of quality fisheries and an increasingly less than pleasant experience wears even on the coolest of the bead bros. They haven't seen any numbers of fish and find themselves talking about the good ol'days ten minutes ago when they got that grab. Yes, that grab was nuclear cool awesome but it was ten minutes ago and they hunger for more. Even the skagit master website doesn't stoke them out with heady ties and bitchin banter over organic oatmeal stouts. In this phase the language of the tribe is becoming lost and fractured along with the culture. They await marketing from another industry to lure them away to a new pursuit they can enter in the later stages and claim ownership or "OG" status. That's "original gangsta" for you hodads out there.
If we refer to the chart we can actively see the devouring and destruction of cool by the very cool. This species actively destroys a culture in which they become a part of. It's colonial, systemic, and without cure. Cool is once again not created or destroyed but changing in form. The actual cool which is in layers too deep to be easily mined was long gone in the early stages. This coupled with distraction will once again allow the deeper layers of cool to repopulate the upper strata once the bead bros have left for surfing or some other type of culture vulture activity. All one needs to do is outlast them, distract them, and stay hidden from them. Do not be seduced into giving up any intel no matter how good their weed and heady micro brews are. This process of burning out can be accelerated by a vigorous misinformation campaign to counter act the vigorous misinformation campaign put forth by the industry.
Oh yeah, that sounds like Foreigner