Fly Rod & Reel Magazine is Done

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.

Update: The Digital Version goes down too

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4 Responses to Fly Rod & Reel Magazine is Done

  1. Alan Gregory says:

    I used to share media links to Mr. Williams. I was unaware until now of the magazine’s passing. And here is a link to a newspaper story from today that illustrates the ongoing demise of our natural heritage.

    • Ed Mitchell says:

      Morning Alan,

      Thank you for the link. As you are aware threats to our natural resources are all too real. Hopefully anglers continue to be be a positive force, protecting all we can.


  2. Ken McBroom says:

    I really loved reading Fly Rod and Reel magazine. While living in the historic Alaskan Hotel I penned my first real short story and submitted it to the magazine. My story was not a contender but it became the start to my first novel. I haven’t touched it in 15 years (raising Kids) but am looking forward to getting back to it. It needs another 25,000 words. John Gierach was my inspiration to become a writer and his spot in the magazine was my favorite.

    • Ed Mitchell says:

      Hey Ken,
      Fly Rod & Reel was a good read. But the writing was on the wall. Fly magazines are rarely very profitable, and quite a few bit the dust in the last fifteen year. Strongly doubt they are coming back anytime soon. C’est la vie. Here’s wishing you all the best with your novel.


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