Fly Rod & Reel Magazine is Done: That’s right Fly Rod & Reel magazine is kaput. Here’s editor Greg Thomas’ blog confirming the magazine’s passing. Yes, the spring 2017 issue is their final breath. Sad news. It was a damn good read.
The magazine sprung to life in 1979 under the steerage of the late John Merwin (Who also started Fly Tackle Dealer later on.) Back then the publication was called Rod & Reel: The Journal of American Fishing, and addressed all forms of angling. Downstream, however, it changed moniker to Fly Rod & Reel, although exactly when that happened eludes me at the moment. (mid-eighties?) But it was with the shift in focus to fly-fishing that the magazine gained traction. And with the passing of years, the masthead brought us names such as Silvio Calabi, Jim Butler, Stephen Bodio, and Joe Healy, to mention a few.
To earn its keep, Fly Rod & Reel separated itself from other publications on the sport by offering a more literary and philosophical approach. People such as author John Gierach and well-known conservationist Ted Williams graced the pages giving the magazine its distinctive voice. This slant bestowed a special status on Fly Rod & Reel, one that attracted avid reader. At the same time, however, others felt the magazine never supplied enough hardcore technical information. Oh well, you can’t please everyone.
Fly Rod & Reel‘s demise is yet another sign that the internet has altered the world. As Marshall McLuhan so aptly informed us half a century ago – “The medium is the message.” And so it goes. In our digital age, print magazines are on the wane; while electronic magazines such as Midcurrent and The Drake thrive in cyber, waxing stronger by the day. And in a similar fashion, the internet has had a significant effect on the number of fly shops across our land. Sadly they’re ebbing too, as buyers surf the web searching for deals. Perhaps all this upheaval will turn out for the best; we’ll just have to wait and see.