Cameron Mortenson is the man behind the fantastic blog The Fiberglass Manifesto. Recently, we were able to interview him about his blog, his life as a dad among others things. See learn more, check out his blog here or follow him on Instagram
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, where do you currently live, how many kids do you have, etc?
I didn’t grow up fishing and it wasn’t until my late teens while working at a summer camp in northern Michigan that I started spin fishing after work on the lake. Looking back, the fishing was unbelievably good with both smallmouth and largemouth bass and pike.
College years led to getting married, moving to Colorado where my wife and I spent a year and a half hiking, skiing and fly fishing our way around the state. It was a great way to start a marriage that has lasted over twenty years.
Fast forward to now and we have lived in South Carolina for almost twenty years. We have a fourteen year old daughter, Hadley, and an eleven year old son, Finneus.
When did you start fly fishing?
A couple years later, I picked up my first fly rod which was a fiberglass Eagle Claw Featherlight and I learned to cast foam spiders to sipping bluegills around the lily pads. The year after I started exploring away from camp on the Au Sable River and Manistee River learning to fly fish for trout. I really didn’t understand what I was doing yet, I somehow caught enough to draw me deeper into fly fishing.
I guess I’ve been fly fishing for over 25 years now which doesn’t make sense as I don’t feel like I could be that old.
What aspect of fly fishing do you enjoy the most?
I can also go on the other end of the spectrum and dig river floats where I’m happiest in the backseat playing clean up, taking photographs, enjoying friends and conversation while taking in the whole experience. It’s a lot of fun to go somewhere with a few friends, cook at the house or go out, have a few drinks and unwind. We all need that.
You are the mastermind behind the fantastic blog The Fiberglass Manifesto. Tell me how that came to be.
One of the other members and I had gotten to know each other pretty well and were discussing the need for a website that would highlight everything going on with contemporary fiberglass fly rods, the rod builders, the blank makers and the fly rod companies. At that point there was maybe a dozen rod companies, builders and blank makers messing around with glass but we sensed that things were going to pick up.
We were going back and forth with ideas and I’ll never forget asking him what we should call this thing we were talking about. Almost instantly he replied, “The Fiberglass Manifesto”. Damn, that sounded pretty good.
Neither of us were internet wizards and the idea was on the backburner for a couple months until one day I Googled “How to start a blog” and the Blogger website popped up. I haphazardly started putting the website together and began writing posts without really knowing what I was doing. Fast forward almost twelve years and I likely still don’t but have always had a lot of fun with it.
Many blogs come and go. What is the secret to The Fiberglass Manifesto being so successful?
Learning the different social media platforms and how to incorporate those with the website has been a learning experience and at a time where podcasts and video are the rage, trying to keep T.F.M. relevant is always on my mind.
I started using a hashtag years ago of #glassisnotdead that has centralized a movement and there are over 62,000 posts on Instagram tagged with it. It’s been a neat way to follow along with so many anglers and rod builders experiences with fiberglass fly rods.
I know you fish a lot in the family pond. Tell me a little about the significance of fishing as a family activity.
As a Dad, do you approach fly fishing differently?
I have some bad memories of trips where snacks were forgotten and it’s not recommended…
Our children are at an age where they are both starting to pick up the fly rod but still the default is their spinning rods. I’ll be honest, after twenty some years of not gear fishing, it’s way more fun than I remembered it. It’s broadened my own ideas on what’s fun to do on the water.
Do you have a fly fishing bucket list?
There are a handful of places that involve multiple flights and too much money but if COVID-19 has taught us anything, there are a lot of places right out our back doors that we should be exploring. I’m trying to do that more and I’ll take a native fish on a nearby stream over a stocked fish elsewhere.
If you could only fish one location for the rest of your life, where would it be?
About the time you read this, I should be out on Beaver Island poking around the flats looking for tailing carp, smallmouth around the rocks and pike in the weeds. This trip has become an important thread of my summer and can’t imagine late June any other way.