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As The Fisherman Magazine celebrates its 50th year of publishing, we turn to you, the members of The Fisherman Family, for your stories of what the magazine means to you.
By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.
If you’ve got a 30- or 40-year pile of editions of The Fisherman growing in your basement somewhere, we'd like to share your story with fellow "prescribers"!

Fifty years ago, Rich Reina was working full-time in a Long Island print shop—when he wasn’t fishing! A pretty avid angler with a printers’ background, Rich started compiling fishing reports in his basement sometime in 1966, ultimately hitting the road to sell ad space and distribute his new weekly newsletter that he called The Long Island Saltwater Fisherman.

The Reina family has owned that print facility on Long Island for decades—and even today, it’s still a little hard to fathom how a little side project that began as one fisherman’s labor of love would pretty much eclipse the primary business, ultimately going on to impact so many lives over the span of a half-century.

From its rather humble beginnings in 1966, The Fisherman Magazine has most assuredly come a long way. Pete Barrett would launch the New Jersey edition in 1973, followed soon after by the New England edition in 1974 under the careful guidance of the late Tim Coleman. Together, the multi-regional publication has grown to become one of the most respected fishing magazines in the United States; forgive the chest pounding for a moment, but with a renewal rate hovering around 70% (the highest among regional and national consumer magazines nationwide), you can understand why we’re so proud of our readers!

Make no mistake, it is the reader who drives this publication; going back almost 15 years, the renewing subscribers I’ve met personally on the winter show circuit every season say the darndest things - “I need to renew my membership” or “it’s time to get my new prescription.”
None of us take these words lightly – “membership” into an exclusive fraternity, while expressing need of a “prescription” as if suffering from some life-affecting illness, that’s pretty powerful stuff. And it’s a strong reminder of how big of a responsibility we have here on a week-to-week basis. Reader loyalty keeps us all on our toes, as we’re continually searching out new tactics and techniques, along with the latest new fishing gear and technology to help us all catch more fish.

You can understand of course that when we hear first-hand how some of our “members” have been “prescribing” to The Fisherman for 20, 30 even 40 years, it raises the bar on personal and professional responsibility! That’s why we’re looking for personal reader input; with 50 years under our belt, our history defines our future, and the personal perspective of longtime members is the only way to truly celebrate progress.

In 2016, in celebration of 50 years of service to our readers and advertisers, we’re looking to share your story:

  • Who first introduced you to The Fisherman?
  • What does The Fisherman “fraternity “ mean to you?
  • Where do you do most of your fishing?
  • When did you first join The Fisherman?
  • Why is your subscription to The Fisherman important?

There’s no contest here; no one’s getting a free dry bag or backpack (unless of course you visit us at one of the winter shows to get your new or renewing subscription.) But to lift the old crime drama line, we’re thinking there must be eight million stories in The Fisherman readership, and now we’d like to start sharing some of them.

If you’ve got a 30- or 40-year pile of Fisherman magazines growing in the basement and can still remember when the magazine was only a quarter, we’d love to hear from you about exactly what it means to be a Fisherman member! Starting in the May edition, we’ll begin sharing some of those anecdotes, while also providing a unique spotlight on some of the industry movers and shakers over the past five decades, while dipping back with a nostalgic looking into the archives to review 50 years of our family history.

Join us for this anniversary celebration—after all, it’s all about you! Email us at info@thefisherman.com.

Catch ‘em up!