Influencer Spotting

The ones we love to hate

By Kate Skinner

He runs a “successful media business” that’s never actually had a net income. She’s a “guide-” turned social media influencer who always appears perfectly coiffed and fashionably clothed. Is it a filter, or does she actually spend hours on hair and makeup?

We’ll never know.

We don’t want to know.

In the world of social media influencers and trust funders who have set up their lives to appeal to a certain audience on social media, it can be difficult to separate the legit folks out doing shit from the wannabes who have time to curate their carefully filtered social media lives.

Okay, fuck it, it’s not that difficult.

The real folks are too busy guiding or working to post elegantly posed images everyday at 9AM. The legit anglers are doing a thing we like to call “work” rather than putting too much attention into how they appear on social media. Instead, they post when they can, from where they can. Airport layover? Sure, that’s a great time to post. Blown off the water by a storm? Catch up on computer work.

Just look at the images. You should be able to spot a working man or woman versus a social media princess. (Now there’s a title that conveniently works for both genders).

But in case you’re a few beers or mimosas (I see you in the Delta Sky Club) deep, here are a few warning signs that you’re looking at the Instagram feed of a fishing-industry influencer:

Female in the Fishing Industry:

  • Likely dating a photographer, or at least sleeping with him. It’s cheaper than hiring someone to take all those images she’s posting. Bonus points if he is rich and can fly her places.
  • She’s the one holding up the boat in the morning because she’s still in the room doing hair and makeup. Quite possibly she’s the one who blew the fuse in the lodge because her $500 Dyson hair dryer wasn’t made for this kind of wiring.
  • She can’t name any of the flies her boyfriend/guide has tied on her line, and she has to ask three times what kind of fish live in this water.
  • Her luggage is 95 percent clothing, makeup and hair care products. Any fishing gear she happens to bring along is strictly there because someone else handed it to her and told her she might need it for photos.

Of course, some of those points account for male influencers as well, but the token case of the Trust Fund Media Guy comes with his own set of traits:

  • He posts about his wealthy family at least once a month … worried his audience will forget he’s “cultured.” Bonus points if it’s a family gathering at a ski resort or at a five-star restaurant in a major city.
  • He can’t actually light a grill or drink anything close to a PBR, but likes to post about the latest boutique cocktail he and his friends made while on their resort vacation.
  • He’s never seen without the latest gear, fishing, cameras, clothing or otherwise. And if it gets a scratch, it’s gone. He can’t be seen with worn things, darling, that’s unfashionable.

Traits common to both:

  • Likely can’t actually fish … the boyfriend/guide/photographer catches the fish and the influencer then holds it for images.
  • Once someone else has caught a nice fish, the influencer likes to hold the fish at multiple angles while posting against multiple backgrounds to get “more mileage” out of the fish. Why only post one big trout, when you could have images of three?
  • They complain if they find themselves sleeping rough or lacking vegetarian food options while traveling. Gas station beef jerky and coffee isn’t an option—they’d rather starve.
  • Use the hashtag “blessed” at least once a week. Always seems like life is rosy and wonderful.
  • Has never held a real job—the trust fund life is elegant, refined, and doesn’t allow for serving food or working retail. Likely has a personal assistant to handle their social media partnerships.
  • Guides and lodges roll their eyes when they see the influencer on the client list … they know it’s going to be a high-maintenance week.

If you see an influencer in the wild, you have two options. One, give them a wide berth. Go about your business. Life’s too short to worry about the morons. Or two, ask them a basic fishing question, any question. “What fly do you like for this water?” or “How was that hydraulic between the dam and town?” 

Watch the confusion, then politely let them go on their way and know that you’ve done your good deed for the day.

Maybe—just maybe—you made them think.