A Quarter Century of Fly Rod & Reel

A Quarter Century of Fly Rod & Reel

Back in 1979, FR&R-then Rod And Reel-started life as a fishing magazine with a difference. From the beginning, founding editor John Merwin expressed a

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel
Back in 1979, FR&R-then Rod And Reel-started life as a fishing magazine with a difference. From the beginning, founding editor John Merwin expressed a bold, maybe even reckless, willingness to step outside the hidebound hook-and-bullet mold and experiment a bit. Perhaps the most startling-and risky-thing about this new publication was that it was introspective, and even critical, concerning the sport it served in ways that previously had rarely been seen in the outdoor press. Beyond that, the guiding principles of Rod And Reel included a dedication to writing honestly about fishing gear, an acknowledgement that entertaining readers was just as important as informing them, and the clear-eyed understanding that you couldn't make everybody happy all the time.In fact, Merwin, as young as he was back then-he was just 32 at the time-knew right from Word One that some readers would occasionally get hopping mad at him and his magazine… Since then, 25 eventful years have passed. Fiberglass rods have given way to graphite. Our once-ubiquitous rubber waders have gone nearly extinct, replaced first by neoprene, then by a variety of breathable materials. Commercial fly-tying changed from an American cottage industry with a small "i" to an overseas Industry that spans the globe. During that dizzying quarter-century, fly-fishing itself went from being the pastime of a handful of eccentrics to "the hot, new sport for CEO's and other up-and-comers." Currently, it seems as if we individualistic eccentrics may once again be reclaiming our old territory… . After all that time, FR&R has also changed, of course…and yet in many ways, it has remained remarkably the same. Please take a look, over the following pages, at some examples of FR&R's cover-the magazine's living, ever-evolving face-as we progressed from our shoestrings beginning in the late 1970's to our current, undisputed position as fly-fishing's cutting-edge publication. For your information and amusement, we've also included a retrospective of our popular FR&R Awards, which became an annual feature of the magazine in 1985. You'll find all of our Tackle Award winners here. Most, but not all, of the companies listed are still in business, even if the award-winning product itself is no longer being manufactured. You will also find profiles and updated information on all those fly-fishing heroes we call our Anglers of the Year. Enjoy. And, once again, thank you for being an FR&R reader.