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The fly fishing community is a gentlemanly group, right? Calm of demeanor. Open-minded. Conservation-oriented. Attentive to other points of view. Well, yes and no. Like any other group, fly fishermen can be cranky and pushy, even unforgiving.
I’ll tell you in a moment why I say this. But let me preface that revelation by telling you a story a good friend once told me about two organizations (the watch and clock societies) he represented as a lobbyist in Washington at one point in his career. What those groups could have wanted from legislators is a mystery to me, but what truly boggles my mind is what happened to that part of my friend’s client base. Seems the watch and clock societies got into a knock-down fight so serious they both canceled their contracts with him because they didn’t want to be represented by the same firm in Washington. Watches and clocks in a fight. Go figure.
That story is an apt way to introduce you to the shocking fact that Fly Fishing Federation, the US organization, not so long ago got into a fight with what was at that point its European offspring, Fly Fishing Federation–Eu¬rope. I discovered this while I was fact-checking one of Italian correspondent Claudio Tagini’s recent reports. My efforts took me to the European Fly Fishing Association website (www.effa. info/en), the organization that replaced Fly Fishing Federation–Europe after its fight with FFF. Intrigued at some of the subject headings, I began to click around the site with an eye toward possibly recommending the site as a source of information for US anglers who want to fish in Europe and have no idea where to start looking for help. Maybe EFFA has an instructor program, I reasoned. And, maybe, they would be open to queries from US anglers. Both of my suppositions were correct, by the way. I highly recommend the site to anyone headed to Europe on a fly fishing trip.
It was by pure accident that I stumbled on a short mention of the fight that alienated the US and European fly fishing organizations, leaving scars and acrimony that appear to still exist some 10 years later. At the risk of having overblown this fight, here is the account I read of the conflict:
“In 2006, the FFF attempted to force their affiliated European partner FFF–Europe—which was then independent—to exclusively apply the American standards of flycasting instruction (which are not up to the same standards as the instruction offered in Europe) in their instructors’ tests, and to submit all revenue from examinations and membership fees to the American FFF, stating that any failure to comply with these requests would invariably lead to expulsion and subsequent denial of right to any future use of the name, logo, or make any reference whatsoever to the FFF. Since the former FFF–Europe members felt that they neither need nor want supervision from across the Atlantic, and that European funds should re¬main in Europe, they decided to form a new, independent, and strictly European organization—the EFFA.”
I won’t even venture a guess as to who is right or wrong in this matter, but I will entertain others’ views of that if they are in a position to say anything substantive. Personally, I am going to file this under watches and clocks and just go fishing more often if I can.