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Neil Travis - Sep 23, 2013

FAOL celebrated another milestone this month when we completed our 16th year in business. In September 1997 Deanna – The Ladyfisher – and her late husband Jim – Castwell – started out on a new adventure. Neither of them had any computer experience and the idea of publishing an online magazine on the Internet was about as foreign to them as fishing with bait. The Ladyfisher had a background in journalism and Castwell was a jack-of-all-trades with an amazing ability to make things work. Thus the journey began.

The original idea was to produce a product that was reader friendly. The idea was to make a place where fly fishers could share ideas and to provide a free resource for information about fly fishing; fly tying, fly casting, techniques, and angling history. In short, they set out to provide an online encyclopedia which would be accessible to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection.

The learning curve was steep since they did not have any experience with the new world of computers and the Internet. The Ladyfisher learned how to code the articles so that they you be placed on the website and Castwell assisted by handling the graphics. It was truly a mom and pop operation.

For the next several years FAOL posted a new issue each week. This was a punishing schedule for two individuals to maintain and ultimately an IT person came on board in the person of Ron Tidd. Ron has the computer expertise necessary to keep the website running and current. Ron codes all the articles and maintains the website. Without his expertise it's likely that FAOL would have ceased publication years ago.

Over the years FAOL has published the work of many amazing writers, and without the continued support of several dedicated writers FAOL would not have the content that it does. These contributors all write for free and provide our readers with a wealth of angling information that is not found elsewhere.

Likewise, FAOL has basically been a labor of love since the beginning. No one draws a salary from FAOL. In the early years sponsors provided for a modest income for The Ladyfisher and Castwell but today we generate enough income to pay server costs and the chat room. The economic downturn has had an adverse effect on many fly fishing businesses and that has resulted in a loss of sponsors. In addition, the competition for advertising dollars has increased since FAOL went online sixteen years ago, and online operations that are funded by deeper pockets than we have picked up many of those limited dollars. We are thankful for those faithful sponsors that have continued to support FAOL and allowed us to pay the costs of keeping the website active and current.

FAOL continues to post a new edition to the website every two weeks, and today the day-to-day operations no longer falls on the shoulders of The Ladyfisher. She now has a chance to relax and eat bonbons and watch TV. I edit and assemble each issue, post it to the server where Ron turns it into computer code and places it on the website.

I think what has made FAOL special is the loyal readers who have supported the website since the beginning. Through the bulletin board they offer fly tying tips, exchange angling tips, offer assistance and form lasting friendships. The chat room allows our readers to get together and chat about all types of topics. They have formed a fraternity of brothers of the angle through this online forum. That is what The Ladyfisher intended when she started this website sixteen years ago.

So, we launch off for another year. With the help of our faithful sponsors, our great IT guy, our writers and our loyal readers we will endeavor to continue.

Neil M. Travis

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