How do I summarize 40-plus years of being associated with The Fisherman Magazine; working for eight managing editors, publishing hundreds of articles, conducting numerous fresh and saltwater seminars, authoring a best-selling book on the art of fluke fishing, and developing a video which takes the viewer along on a fun fluke trip? Two words come to mind – “thank you” to all the editors, publishers, those anglers who attended our workshops, and who shared their techniques and tips when we wet a line together on an always interesting fishing trip.
A lot has changed over the past four decades. In the early days, when I had an idea for an article it was usually drafted using a yellow pad of legal size paper, and a number two pencil. Then, the draft was transferred to formal paper using a manual typewriter. Needless to say, I used a lot of White Out to change various spelling mistakes; I guess you can call it the Christopher Columbus method of manual typing (i.e., Discover and Land).
When it came to submitting photos to accompany the article, it initially started as paper photos, then it escalated to picture slides, now it just a matter of selecting and forwarding an online photo from a file residing on a laptop PC or iPhone. Of course, the fishing equipment has changed significantly over the years, as have the techniques using the latest equipment. Back when, we never heard of braided line, graphite rods and reels, Gulp soft baits, or depthfinders which scan both left and right at the same time under your boat. You almost feel sorry for the fish!
What we did many years ago is read various outdoor magazines such as Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, Saltwater Sportsman, and Field and Stream in hopes of picking up just one technique which could apply to the waters we fished and the species we’re targeting. We also watched such TV shows as the Flying Fisherman, and the American Sportsman.
Like many of The Fisherman’s readers, I still remember the first fish I ever caught. It was a yellow perch from a small lake in the central part of New Jersey. Having viewed anglers fighting huge bluefin tuna, I naturally thought that it was appropriate to yank back as hard as I could at the first sign of a bite. So when the perch bit my worm, I yanked back so hard that the perch landed some 15 feet behind me onto the wet grass. I think that the poor perch developed a severe case of whiplash.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and fishing with some of the most talented guides including Bob Smith (Cuttyhunk), Al Urban (Montauk), Mike Frenette (Venice, La), and Paul Osmon (Elizabeth Islands). They not only shared with me their spots but also their techniques for catching our target specie. Developing articles for The Fisherman required me to book flights to such interesting places like Alaska, Manitoba, Canada, the Out Islands of the Bahamas, the Everglades in Florida, and the salmon rich waters off San Francisco.
On our trip to Alaska, I met a housewife who lived in a remote cabin at the edge of an expansive mud flat. This woman was very gracious in terms of food and hospitality. However, she never left her cabin as the surrounding woods were inundated with dozens of bears of various sizes. How’s that for a life?
On a tarpon trip to Miami, I witnessed a guy in a parasail being towed by a boat directly towards a large thunderstorm. To make matters worse, the winch on the boat was jammed. I watched, as this parasailer got closer to the darting lightning bolts. Finally, the captain of the boat realized that if he put the boat in neutral, the sail and passenger would just float down into the water. Today, I can still hear the cries for help.
I won’t bore you with such tales as the double rainbow, which split a thunderstorm in two as we were wading a sand flat for bonefish in the Bahamas, or the time a black bear tried to climb into our boat as we were trolling for northern pike in Canada. Suffice to say the past 40-years have been both interesting and enjoyable as author, contributor and field editor.
My profound thanks to The Fisherman Magazine for all their cooperation. Finally, I want to thank my wife, Helen, for her lasting patience and support. It’s especially appreciated.