Editorial policy

My editorial policy is simple when it comes to taking free things, or being influenced: Disclose or decline. My main loyalty is to this community.

Editorial policy
Can you spot the product placement in this image? | Photo by Jacob Sapp / Unsplash

Oh hey! Just in case you were wondering. (You probably weren't.) I feel like I need to clarify things ahead of time.

Loyalty to our community

There's a grey area in ad-supported magazines that works in a very specific way: Underpaid journalists are plied with free gear, all-expenses-paid press trips, and other luxuries by manufacturers and destinations. Ask me about the gear guide reviewers who have twelve mountain bikes and twenty pairs of skis.

Manufacturers' paid public relations firms act as essentially retained bagmen and favor-askers, constantly "just reaching out" to pitch a new thing, outnumbering working journalists ten to one. Sorry, PR friends. It's not you personally. You're done dirty by your swag-slanging brethren.

Except for maybe Consumer Reports or The New York Times, which have very strict editorial disclosure and bias policies, there's rampant pay-for-play.

What you, the reader gets, are essentially paid-for catalogs, product placement wrapped up as unbiased opinion and review. That deception is not the end of the problem. It's just the beginning.

It starts up a tornado of consumption-guilt. Jane Reader thinks they have to have the latest-and-greatest to be able to fish right. Or they have to be at the VIP Lodge in Fishrich Island to have a great day. Which just isn't true.

It validates innovation that just isn't that innovative. The outdoor industry creates products that solve real problems. Sometimes. But most of the time they're re-heating leftovers and wrapping them in a glossy new box.

Your time is valuable, in many cases more so than your dollars. I'm here to help you have the most fulfilling fishing experiences possible, not to help manufacturers sell products.

Original sin

I've taken freebies before in the past, so I'm just as guilty as the next one. But today, Current Flow State is not like that. Our editorial policy is dead simple: Any financially-incentivized or relationship-advantaged access is disclosed.

If I get a discount on a product covered here, you'll know about it. If I got invited to come fish somewhere you can't just walk into, I'll let you know.

Let's establish some other things:

  • This is not a link blog, an affiliate marketing scam, or a way for me to get free gear. I write about fly fishing because it changed my life. I want others to experience the love and freedom it gives me.
  • The rare endorsement you see here is never bought. If I tell you I like a product, or have found it useful, it's because I have actually used it, and think you might like it too. Any products featured here on the site are tested, hard. And I may stick an affiliate link in there, with appropriate disclosures.
  • You get what you pay for. I am not here to tell you what to buy. It's all pretty much the same, with one important distinction: Generic crap from Amazon will not last, and undermines a huge source of fly fishing success for a newbie: your local community of anglers anchored by independent fly shops. Read more on this regarding rod warranties. It's fine to ask, and I'm happy to discuss, but this site is more than a glorified buyer's guide.
  • I might change my mind, at any time. Who knows? As the great Norm Macdonald once said, "ain't no river so long doesn't have a bend in it."
  • I will try anything once. I am a member of various pro staffs and have received gear discounts. But I'm too old and ornery to be pressured to talk about something when it's not worthwhile to you, and I have far too much fly fishing crap to not send it back.
  • Your membership counts. Part of the reason I can be transparent about bias (and all of the reason the site is the way it is) is because I'm not trying to wring every penny out of pleasing advertisers, and hocking freebie swag on eBay and cadging press trips. Your membership is 100% of the foundation for this approach.

Remember: The best way to support Current Flow State's continued independence and see more of what you want on the site is to upgrade to a paid membership.