July 12th, 2004

Eight Looong Years
By James Castwell

"Dear nice people, i am going to learn flyfishing, please send information. my email address is." Or this. "I need 2 know how 2 tye fli's. R thier any good webs 4 this?"

And yes, they do get answers, even the ones who sign the Guest book. One person at a time is how this thing became what it is today, whatever that is. One thing it is, is... big! But it was not always so big. Like many things, it was small at birth, joining the world at just one page at about two am in September eight years ago. It's been all up hill from there.

The LF was writing for a newspaper string and syndicated in a few hundred papers and they also put her column on a web site. When it went under they offered her a thirty-page contract which didn't thrill her. Two neighbors convinced her that she should have her own URL. She was not convinced, but they insisted and off we went. She was publisher, I was editor, we had a promotion guy and a web-master.

Our first electronic waves drizzled out from part of a hard-drive on a rented server in Salt Lake. Our technical guru did not have phone contact with them, only email. Assured us there would be no problems. Ha! We were off line more than on line. Within two weeks the four of us attended a big fly tackle dealers show in Denver, CO. This was to let the world know about our venture. We talked, they listened and patting our pointy little heads wished us well and great success. And to let them know next year how it was going. As we actually knew most, they were polite, but not quite ready so sign up as sponsors, not just then anyway.

Our promotion guy tried to sell sponsors on the idea that ten grand was a very reasonable price to be on our site. They all disagreed, both of them. I found a server outfit six miles from home and scheduled a meeting with a top 'techi' down there. The four of us went, I bought lunch. We 'chatted' about 'techi' things. Mostly I was completely lost. During the meeting I noticed I was not the only one lost. I made a decision to switch server locations. My guru and promotion guy bugged out. We stayed with that location for a few years. LF learned how to write code, I had some background in graphics and the guys at the server controlled the 'techi' stuff.

Things went well mostly. After the first six months, we had cut our staff by fifty percent, signed a contract for a year of server time, had bought a graphics program and a code book. Look out world here we come. I had some requirements. A guest book, a good BB and a chat-room that could be controlled. Fast loading pages, no flashing banners, nothing on fire or spinning or popping up, no place where you could buy anything and no place to enter a credit card number. Period. Ever.

You guys, our readers would be number one. Sponsors second. Actually the sponsors seemed to agree with that. Without readers, not much use for any sponsors I guess. Eight years later nothing has changed. I wanted a low price spread so the small guy could be a sponsor but listed right beside the big-boys. Worked that out too on the sponsor page. Some have requested things like a page of all sponsors who make reels for instance. We do not do that for several reasons. Perhaps you are not looking for a reel but happen to see one while looking for leaders or something. Works equally for all.

More than once in the earlier years when the new issue was to go on line at nine Sunday evening it became three am before the code got all straightened out and the LF got the Main page loaded. Time and practice have improved our graphics and code and things seem to go some smoother these days, but there are still a few trying times.

So far we have only been sick once at the same time and allowed a line of text to slip thru for a few days in a column. Lost a big name sponsor over that one, bummer. The rest has been a gradual increase in pages, files, graphics, and servers. Wow, have we spent the bucks on that stuff but, that is what it takes to provide you with the very best we can produce. The new equipment is about to go on line and is faster than many of the 'gamers.' You may not notice any change, or you might, rest assured, it is fast and well protected. My server, (make that servers, all four of them) are in a vault protected like 'Fort Knox.' Twin power supplies from two different sources come into the building and it can run for 18 hours on a generator with out refilling the fuel tanks.

Our writers are the best we can find and continue to get even better. The truth is, we don't find them, they find us, for which we are most grateful. The support of our sponsors has allowed us to give the writers a showcase for their talents and us an opportunity to become involved with all of you, often in person, on the phone or by email. The 'Fish-In's' are great fun, just that we can not attend them all. We wish could. Our work day starts at about 7am pacific time and ends around midnight (we check our tracking numbers four times a day). Mostly we are here seven days a week but that is what it takes to make this thing work.

Our most sincere thanks to all of you who have given us the opportunity to produce this web-site over the past years and we hope to be around for a few more. I mean, if we hadn't done it, then who? ~ JC & LF

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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