Profile - In Memoriam: Rich Reina Sr., Founder Of The Fisherman - The Fisherman

Profile – In Memoriam: Rich Reina Sr., Founder Of The Fisherman

Michael Caruso, Publisher, Owner

I began working at The Fisherman in 1992. Culturally, it was in stark contrast to the corporate environment I’d grown accustom to and the positive career change I was hoping for. Aside from the thrill of working for the magazine I’d been reading since I was 12 years old, it was immediately evident that I didn’t just land a new job. I became part of a very special and unique family team, in which the founder of The Fisherman, Rich Reina Sr. was the patriarch. I loved being a part of the Reina team because of the code of values they held and lead by. Integrity, loyalty, fisheries stewardship, generosity and creativity defined those core values and ultimately is what lead to the amazing popularity of the magazine. More importantly it led to the recognition of The Fisherman as the ultimate fishing authority in the Northeast. It is a legacy I’m dedicated to carrying on.

Sadly on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, the founder of The Fisherman, Rich Reina Sr., passed away under hospice care in his home in East Hampton, NY. He was 83 years old. What an incredible life he led. It was a true honor to know and work with Rich Sr. and his son Richard S. Reina, as well as knowing many members of the Reina family. I’ve learned much and as the current owner I understand even more the pride he must have had by bringing joy to the lives of so many Fisherman readers through the incredible recreation of fishing.

 

Fred Golofaro, Senior Editor

“The fish come first.” That will always be Rich Reina’s legacy in my mind. Whenever we were faced with a fisheries management issue, those words were his mantra. Those simple words made as much sense during the 1970s when I served as associate editor of The Fisherman as they do today. Doing what is best for the fish will also be best for all involved in the long run – the fish, tackle shops, charter boats, party boats, tackle manufacturers and yes, even magazines and their readers.

Longtime Fisherman contributor Dock Muller was one of Rich’s closest friends and original fishing buddies, and called him a “pioneer” who left a great legacy of leadership in the world of fishing. “In 1966 with friend Mickey Chiarenza, they formed The Long Island, The Fisherman Magazine. Mickey, whose true love was lure design and manufacturing, left The Fisherman and created the Tri-Fin Lure Company. Rich, on the other hand, was determined to bring his dream of publishing an important weekly fishing magazine to life. He succeeded magnificently, and expanded the brand with the New Jersey, Delaware Bay, New England Editions and later the Mid-Atlantic and even Florida editions.”

“Until 1966, regional and national fishing magazines were the norm, but weekly magazines in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region did not exist,” Muller said, adding “However, Rich believed that a formula including good editorial content, accurate and timely fishing reports, and strong local leadership would be successful, while providing local fishermen with a platform to secure better access and fisheries management.”

Rich saw the potential of a local, weekly fishing publication at a time when the fishing world knew only monthlies. The big three (Outdoor Life, Field & Stream and Sports Afield) were thriving then, as was Saltwater Sportsman. He hit a home run in 1966 with the birth of the Long Island edition before launching New England and New Jersey editions, and the rest is history. His strong leadership qualities, acute business sense and love of fishing were at the forefront of The Fisherman’s success.

He was a firm, but fair boss to those who worked under him, including his son, Rich Jr., who would go on to lead the magazine through the better part of two decades. He also had a big heart. When my wife and I, and our three sons welcomed our two nieces and nephew into our home, Rich and his wife Mary wrote a very generous check to make sure all of the kids had a good Christmas. I never forgot that gesture of kindness.

Under Rich Sr.’s direction, issues like bluefish management, the 200-mile limit, fish traps and gill nets, fishing access and representation for recreational anglers at the state and federal levels were brought to the forefront so that readers were informed and able to voice their concerns to decision makers in Albany, Washington and at the local level.

“Rich has been my friend since 1974, my boss on and off through the decades, but a good deal of the time he was more like a brother to me,” Muller said, adding “His strong leadership, steadfast support, and friendship will never be forgotten.”

Now under the leadership of publisher Mike Caruso, the legacy rolls on as The Fisherman remains in the forefront of all issues affecting recreational fishing, and continues to educate anglers on all aspects of the fishing game.

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