It was too soon. It was sudden and the news instantly hurt so very deeply. After nearly 30 years working beside him – and reading his work since I was 12 years old – on September 16th, everything changed. The Fisherman’s rock, the one we looked up to, our Senior Editor, Fred Golofaro suddenly passed away.
So many of us are devastated. So many are in pain. Though words cannot express my sorrow, perhaps these words can further enlighten and comfort people regarding how special Fred was. First, I offer my deepest condolences to the Golofaro Family, his many, many friends, associates, charter captains, mates, guides, writers, tackle shop owners and staff, the incredible team here at The Fisherman who has been fortunate enough to have worked so closely with him, and also those who worked with him here in the past.
My sympathy also extends to you, our readers and the entire fishing community whom he cherished. The outpouring of deep, heartfelt love and admiration for the man is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Though considering who Fred was, I’m not at all surprised. And when you reflect upon his life there is something we all can learn.
Over the last 40-plus years, hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – have read stories and articles from Fred’s enormous body of work in The Fisherman. His literary touch was also ever present in The Fisherman features he didn’t author, but those with whom he collaborated. That’s what editors do, and no one was better at helping our contributors shine. It’s unclear how many features he penned, but it must be in the thousands. Each one more interesting than the last. He drew from a depth of fishing knowledge and experience few if any writers I know possess.
Everything fishing-related passed over his desk. He articulated complex concepts so concisely that it was easy for anglers of all levels to understand. He was a captivating storyteller, provided step-by-step fishing instruction, reported the news, gave the reports, editorialized on the most pressing issues affecting fishermen, captured thousands of fishing scenes through photos and videos, and at the end of the day – in its most basic form – he entertained us, and made us all feel good!
Fred was an eloquent and creative writer; a true wordsmith who wrote with tremendous clarity. As a result, every week the fishing community was deeply engaged in what he had to say; when Fred wrote something, there wasn’t ever any fluff, his words were always important and we hung on each one of them. We trusted what he said, his integrity was easily recognized and simply could not be challenged; but if you did, he was bipartisan and respectful in his response. There was a truth, an honesty to every word he wrote. As a result, Fred’s list of industry achievements could fill the entire page. It’s when he spoke, however – in his calm, soft, gentle voice – that you knew how incredibly sweet his soul was.
Fred was generous with his knowledge and extremely patient, taking whatever time was needed to help teach others. It was never about him; he wanted to hear your stories and was genuinely interested in learning from others, always taking the time to listen to what you had to say. There was no pretense, no ego, no agenda. He didn’t sell, wouldn’t sell. He gave and gave, and we all wanted more. That was the essence of Fred.
On a larger scale he invested an enormous amount of his time protecting our resources, and we recognize him today for his many successes, of which recreational fishing will continue to benefit long into the future. Whether expanding fishing access on our beaches, his involvement in the striped bass satellite tag study, artificial reefs, fishing piers, beach restoration and so many other initiatives, his work helped expand fishing access for everyone. And if you think about the thousands of kids that experienced fishing for the first time because of Fred’s Send a Kid Fishing Program, you realize the scope of how he put the needs, enrichment and welfare of others first. But when it came to Fred’s family life, nothing was more important. Fred, along with his wife Donna, poured themselves into parenting impressive and loving sons and daughters who have become great achievers in their own right. God bless you Fred.
Back in 1992 when I began my career here at The Fisherman I walked through the doors of 14 Ramsey Road in Shirley, NY a greenhorn. New to the industry, I didn’t know anyone, I was low on the totem pole. It was intimidating to be amongst three of the greatest authorities in fishing – Tim Coleman, Pete Barrett and Fred Golofaro. Each of these men was an inspiration to me; but while Tim and Pete were based in different regions, Fred was just a few doors down the hall. I am truly blessed to have learned so much from Fred; he was a true mentor. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have fished with him everywhere. There are just too many fish stories to tell today, but I know now it wasn’t just about the fish; the true blessing was just having the chance to fish so many times with Fred.
With his sudden passing, as masses of people share their incredible stories and love for him, I realize that his most important lesson of all was not really about fishing. It was not how to cast further, or which color plug to use, or at which stage of the tide to throw it, but rather how to treat each other with kindness, and respect. To have patience with one another. To speak a little softer, more clearly. Think about what you’re about to say. Be generous and protect and grow what you love. Fred was a man of dignity and unbending principle. All of the fishing knowledge aside, this is the true essence of how we benefit from knowing Fred.
These are Fred’s lessons and we honor his legacy every time we take a moment to remember that. God bless his loving soul; may he rest in peace.
Please join Fred Golofaro’s family, friends and all who knew him as we share memories and celebrate the life of the man we all loved so dearly. Saturday, October 2, 2021 from 1-4 pm, Robert Moses State Park, NY, Field 4. Service to start at 2 pm. Rain date October 3, 1 pm. Feel free to bring a lawn chair, bar-b-que, cooler, fishing rod and your favorite memories. An email address has been setup if you would like to share photos, stories, and/or if you would like to speak at the celebration of life service. Please send to Fredfishlegacy@gmail.com. We thank you all for the overwhelming support you have shown and look forward to seeing you.