By the Classic Angler (Who can’t get published, so he should know)
Under no circumstances should you allow your creative side to take over. Wipe any sentimentality, romance, existentialism, aesthetics, or self-examination out of the article.
Make frequent references to specific products in your article. “I could really cast a mile on the Henry’s Fork using the Sagorviloomiston XTPS 9’ 6 wt. It was balanced perfectly by the Rosovison sylk-drag large arbor 3400 xsr.”
Mention area lodges, businesses, guides, outfitters, restaurants, shuttle-services, etc. by name in the article. This sells advertising.
Make heavy use of pictures. After all, given the choice between words and pictures, pictures win every time.
Keep your articles under 1,500 words. Anything over that and people fall asleep.
Fail to mention that in return for the publishing of the article, you were flown into the exotic location you wrote about and literally molly-coddled into a fish.
Include photos of flies that work. Make certain that they are all commercially available so that advertisers can sponsor the magazine.
Include a glory shot of a huge fish. It does not have to be the same river or body of water you are writing about. It doesn’t even have to be on the same continent.
Make frequent references to Hemmingway.
Remember that your target audience is people that move their lips when they read. The fact that higher educated and literate individuals tend to take up fly-fishing should not carry any weight.
Make use of fly-fishing clichés in your writing: Tight loop, hopper-copper-dropper, pigasaurus, slab, etc.
Write everything in the first person singular. Use ‘I’ as every other word.
Make the guide that you are with the hero of the story. Portray him as some sort of angling godling blended with battle-scarred war veteran. His eyes should be ‘steely’, his arms ‘rope-like’ and his personality as rough as the river. He should never blink. He should know every fish in the river by name.
Either play down your own ability, becoming a buffoon next to the guide and other anglers, or exaggerate your prowess to expert status. There should be no middle ground.
Nature should always take a back-seat.
Chicken and the egg?