Five years ago, September 1, 1997, Fly Anglers OnLine
made its first appearance on the Internet. My first column
was called, Born in a Barn?
As you might expect from me, it was not politically
correct - just a simple set of rules or ethics for the
We wanted to set the stage with that issue. It was a small
one compared to what we do each week now, but we wanted to
have a place where people could find real, honest, correct
information which would help them become better fly fishers.
There is an underlying motive to what we do here. It isn't
about money. (Surprise.)
Here is the idea. If we can teach, encourage, lead, and
enlighten fly fishers so they catch more fish, eventually
somewhere they are going to put a fish back. For whatever
reason - I'm not doing a carte blanc endorsement of catch
and release here - when they put that first fish back and
lightning doesn't strike them dead, they become interested
in the welfare of that fish. If they put more fish
back over a period of time, they may have a whole stream,
river or watershed which they now become interested. That
fly fisher becomes a steward of his environment, your
environment, my environment.
He may also develop an interest in the regulations of his
water, who makes the decisions, what the seasons are, if
there is 'fly only' water - all sorts of good things which
help to make the fishery better for you and me.
The other part of beginning Fly Anglers OnLine (FAOL) was
an attitude I saw in fly fishing. It had become a 'neat thing'
to do (following the movie A River Runs Through It) and
a huge amount of importance was placed on the numbers of fish
one caught - or released. To the extreme that some anglers
carried a click-counter in their pocket and kept a tab on the
totals. Bizarre - but it happened. There was also a large
amount of snobbery, if you didn't fish for trout or Atlantic
salmon you weren't a fly fisher. That included a
look-down-the-nose attitude at anyone fishing for 'trash fish.'
Yes, those fish - panfish - all fish not trout or Atlantic salmon.
That even included the saltwater fish! And of course, you
must fish with the very best, most expensive gear
possibly available. (Not exactly a smart way to bring new
people into fly fishing, and certainly not necessary to get
started.) I hated the 'attitude' then, and still do.
There was one more important part of beginning FAOL. We had
to fund it. One of the suggestions by an advisor was to make
it a 'subscription' website. People would have to 'join up'
and pay a fee to read it. We, my husband JC and myself,
said no. FAOL would be free to anyone who wished to read it.
That meant we would have to find sponsors.
We had both been kicking around the fly fishing industry for
many years, and thought we knew who the good guys were. It
has been a long, tough slog, but we do have a fine group of
sponsors, all of whom any of our readers can depend on to be
good companies who stand behind their products. Sponsors
are here by invitation. We do stand behind each and every
one of them. Find a print magazine which will do that.
At the five year mark, JC and I are extremely grateful to our
readers, each and every one of you. We are constantly amazed
at the quality and quantity of material sent in by you to be
included in FAOL. It may be a personal experience, a tip,
a Fly of the Week, some humor...the variety is wonderful.
We know you enjoy reading them - mostly because you know it
is written by a real fly fisher - just like you!
FAOL is a roaring success - thanks to each and all of you.
Thanks folks. Keep passing it on. ~ LadyFisher
If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to
post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!