Every sport has its legends, and in modern fishing, few measure up to the titan that is Steve Huff. Described as “The Best Fishing Guide Alive” by websites like Garden and Gun, the 76-year-old has been guiding others in the sport for five and a half decades. Despite this hard work and dedication, Huff had long remained camera shy, at least until a new short film elucidated the appearance and character of this elusive master fisherman.
The Man, The Fish, The Legend
Simply titled HUFF – THE FILM, this caps-lock titled film touches on the history of Huff, and what drew him to what would become a lifelong passion. Based in the Florida Everglades, Huff became obsessed with the challenge that the area represented. Each day provided something new and complicated, where battling insects, heat, weather, and tide helped carve Huff from newcomer to world-renown expert.
In 2010, Huff became the first full-time fishing guide to enter the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame. Both as a master of the sport and his work protecting the environment, Huff’s lifetime of work has many regarding him as the best there ever was. With a legend that will no doubt long outlive the man himself, some consider Huff the best there will ever be. It’s not an easy claim to live up to, but the notoriously humble Huff doesn’t concern himself with such labels.
Content to see himself as the luckiest man in the world, Huff has no plans for retirement, and with good reason. Long considered one of the most raw and elemental sports a human could engage in, fishing has experienced many of the same issues that other physical activities have in the digital age. The traditional ways of doing things have dipped from the status they once held, though ironically, the digital age could also be driving a resurgence toward this classic pursuit.
Attracting a New Age of Fishermen
On-demand is the way the modern world of entertainment works. Movies and music have both turned in this direction since the introduction of streaming, where users can get exactly what they want, when they want it. Fishing, as famous as it is, requires a considerable time investment, and the best-laid plans can be ruined by unexpected weather or travel complications. Digital games avoid this issue with their interpretations of fishing, but in doing so could also draw new players to the physical sport in significant numbers.
There are more video game players today than ever, and more of these players are willing to experiment with new genres than ever. We’ve seen this in titles like Euro Truck Simulator, and it’s increasingly becoming the case in fishing games too. Titles like Fishing: North Atlantic and Fishing Sim World: Pro Tour have drawn immense public attention, and they’re only getting bigger.
It’s not just the simulators that are drawing in players either, as arcade and casino titles have also proven some of the most popular in the modern age. Blue Bubble Reels routinely find themselves in the most-played casino games list for mobile and desktop players. Fusing fishing with classic slot gameplay, even in such a stylised way, creates a link that sticks in players’ minds, improving the odds of jumping into the real sport down the line.
Steve Huff is a rare legend, with his work and legacy keeping the sport alive and well. Though urbanisation and instant gratification might have once created concerns for the future of fishing, these concerns might have been overstated. Thanks to modern games and Huff’s enduring legend, fishing could be poised for a resurgence, and for staying true to our roots, that’s a very good thing.