Wednesday, January 19, 2022

It’s Called Aesthetic Sweetie. You Wouldn’t Understand…

The other night I was scrolling through Instagram when Ryan Siron's take on the jealous girlfriend meme popped up on the feed.  I laughed, screenshot it to share with a few carp fiend friends, and reached out to Ryan to see if he'd mind if I shared his artwork with this T.F.M.  He said that he'd send me an email. 

What I didn't expect in all of this is that Ryan would drop what he's calling his "TED Talk" to share with what should become an iconic piece of fly fishing art.  Scroll down to read what he sent.  It's really good.

Ryan wrote...  "The short version of my inspiration for this goofy-ass graphic stems from my love of memes and the repetitive nature of the information circulating in literature, videos, movies, and social media on fly fishing for trout.

I grew up in the Midwest and it wasn’t always easy finding trout to chase. I cut my teeth fishing for warm water species like bass, sunfish, and the esox varieties. However, I kept seeing these rubber-lipped beauties, carp, swimming around and got curious. I knew carp fought hard from experience snagging them incidentally with conventional bass gear. What I did not realize was how difficult they are to fool when not hooking them in the “south-mouth”. Through homework, mentorship, and on-the-water trial and error, I started to become more proficient at fooling them with the long rod. Carp on the fly became an obsession. There is now more information available out there on techniques and praise for carp as a worthy gamefish for the fly angler. It’s awesome to see the shift and interest now in carp and other warm water species that wasn’t as widespread a decade ago.

I now live in Montana, land of the salmonids, and I do get homesick for chasing warm water species regularly. I had some friends come visit Montana this past summer, everyone was cooped up from the first year of the pandemic and ready to enjoy a change of scene. We were on the Bighorn River and blessed for a week of consistent PMD hatches with big trout rising to the surface to feed. Everything people love about fly fishing in Montana transpired that week. Although trout were rising and eating proper presentations all day, my old flame, stepped back into the proverbial picture. Tailers and cloopers (happy feeding carp) viable on a mud flat across the river. I quickly pulled anchor on my raft and yanked my buddy off a pod of rising trout. I had to say hello. Just like old times, I creeped across the flat making sure not to startle the carp and get within range of presenting a fly. Leading the target, I dropped my leech in the anticipated path of travel. Wait. Strip. Head down. Tail up. Lip flare. Reel scream. Reunited. When later inspecting the photo my buddy took of me admiring this carp I had caught, I noticed I had the same dumb face that dude in the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme has when looking back at a girl walking by while he is out with his girlfriend. While looking back at photos from that trip this winter, I thought it would be funny to draw the meme again but replacing the characters with a carp and brown trout, and re-interpret the boyfriend as a fishing bum.

Overall, I love fly fishing, hands down, it is my favorite form of angling. Our culture is awesome, however, it is undeniably odd when looked at introspectively for many reasons. We are a hypocritical bunch when it comes to our ideals and morals. In the case of my graphic, brown trout and common carp don’t belong in North America, they were both brought here at one point for food and recreational pleasure, but one has fallen out of favor, and the other is held sacred and protected well outside it’s native range. Both have dealt ecological destruction to some degree on native fisheries. Wild and native fisheries is a topic often discussed and debated amongst ourselves. Historically, folks are quick to blame carp for the downfall of a watershed, supporting the idea of ridding these carp any way possible. On the other hand, we would never think that it would be a good idea to kill all the brown trout in the Madison River or Driftless region in an effort to bolster and/or restock the native Westslope Cutthroat and Brook Trout to their respective home waters. I know the topic of what we deem worthy of conserving is a long dark rabbit hole that gives Gen Z humor a run for its money. Hence why we tackle these difficult conversations that we need to address from time to time with comedic relief. I am in no way trying to sway opinions, or start arguments. I’m simply making an observation… With memes…

My name is Ryan and thank you for coming to my unintended TED Talk."

Follow Ryan Siron on Instagram for more artful takes and everything else that fuels his stoke.

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