How Times Change: 1993 in The New York Times

In the early nineties, Sears was throwing out its spinning gear and dealers were taking down their “live bait” signs, while the Orvis store in Manhattan was cheek-to-cheek with women in soft-brimmed Brad Pitt hats. Only 15 years ago Barry Maier was writing exuberantly about “The Growing Lure and Profits of Fly-Fishing” in The New York Times. In retrospect, one has to question how long a sport defined by its “upper-class allure” could hold its own without redefining itself as a populist sport, complete with Korean-made rod blanks and Pakistani forceps. “This year, mail orders for fly-fishing equipment sold by the Orvis Company surged 40 percent. Some rod makers, like the Sage Manufacturing Corporation, have had to run double shifts to keep up with demand. And enrollments at fishing schools run by L. L. Bean Inc. and others also reached record highs this season.”

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  • The main thing is that it is something that is difficult. It was like the boom with tennis and golf in the 70’s and 80’s. For a while everybody was playing both or either and then raquetball. If it takes much effort to get really good at it, eventually all the people who get into it due to the pop appeal will go away because you have to… you know… practice. Yuck.

  • john egbert

    Perhaps you’ve noticed that the NY Times no longer publishes the fine writings of Nelson Bryant, or much of anything having to do with fly fishing. Join me in writing to them for a change of heart.
    Our numbers have grown and we read the paper.

  • It’ll be interesting to see how the general news media handles special outdoors interests in the future, or whether they leave them to Web media to address (perhaps more efficiently). But if you look at the success of the Wall Street Journal, which makes a business out of special interest reporting, whether it be wine or financial derivatives, you have to wonder if The New York Times isn’t giving up something valuable.