Fly Rod & Reel: End of a Magazine Era

I headed Fly Rod & Reel magazine for about seven years, until 12 days ago when I got the dreaded, but somewhat expected, death sentence. That sentence arrived with a phone call from the owner of Down East Publications who said that I was being terminated immediately, not because he or the board of directors was unhappy with my work or the quality of the publication, but because they didn’t consider the fly-fishing industry’s support of the magazine to be sufficient. I wholeheartedly disagreed, and said so, but I’m not the one paying the bills.

Last issue of Fly Rod & Reel magazine.

So, with immediate termination, what comes next? That’s a good question but you can bet that one outcome will be an increased presence on Anglers Tonic. Being the editor of a magazine is a privilege and one that I took very seriously, but being released from the daily demands of the position—even if it is only for a short time—is a little refreshing, too. What I’m seeing in front of me right now is a blank canvas. Books? Another editor position inside or outside of fly fishing? A major push on Angler’s Tonic to make it the authority in the fly fishing digital field? Travel writing or bookings? Or do I take a different road, a completely different path?

I’ll be figuring this out over the next few weeks but, again, you’ll see more here soon. So, make sure you take a look at the spring issue of Fly Rod & Reel, my last of course, and what may very well be the final issue of the publication that anyone ever sees. You’ll notice a change in the layout, which looks busy in my opinion and was outside my control, but the quality of the content and writing is indisputable. Make sure to read the three essays I included in the mag, especially Jeff Day’s Whiskey Jacks, along with Chris Santella’s take on fishing GTs on Christmas Island. All good reads, for sure.

Thanks for all of your support of the magazine, and my work, over the past seven years, both industry folk and common readers. It was a good run.    GT

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11 Responses to Fly Rod & Reel: End of a Magazine Era

  1. James says:

    Sad to hear! FRR has been a longtime favorite of mine. Your content is always top shelf and you’ll always have my support. Best!

  2. Derek Johnson says:

    It seems my earlier attempt to post got lost so I will try again: This change baffles me. I consider FR&R to be the best of its genre. It is as good as Shooting Sportsman used to be when Michael McIntosh, Galen Winter and others wrote there. You have a great stable of writers. No where else is there as strong a conservation voice as Ted Williams, (or a magazine with the guts to publish same), Gierach is simply the best, and worth the price of the subscription, Leeson is refreshingly honest in his equipment reviews (maybe that is a problem?) and the list goes on. Good luck with your future endeavors. I sure hope FR&R survives.

    • Greg Thomas says:

      FRR is not going to survive. It had become streamlined to the point of impossibility. Everyone in the Down East office (the parent company) is doing more work than they want to and I think they just looked at FRR as a pain to deal with. I could tell the stories but it doesn’t matter at this point. I just think there was a lack of interest in the pub from very top down.

  3. Guy says:

    Wow. FR&R is the last magazine to which I subscribe…literate and beautiful, with a minimum of “adverticles”, and of course it has hosted Ted Williams for some time. Your editorship kept the mag fresh and relevant. Now what?

    • Greg Thomas says:

      Now what for me is a question. Now what for FRR is anyone’s guess. As I said previously, I don’t think you’ll see another issue of the magazine. And right now they are not doing much for themselves in the PR department so I don’t know that they care about keeping a stable of writers. Maybe they’ll do something digital but they’d have to pay contributors for their work and that doesn’t seem like something they care to do. And when that happens you don’t have anyone to work with.

  4. jason wyll says:

    Greg,
    sorry to hear about your job, but I’ll be curious to see what’s next. Good luck with the
    search. You should probably go fishing and think about it.

  5. Shaun Jeszenka says:

    Greg,

    It is extremely disheartening to hear about the demise of FR&R. I was an avid fan since my teens. Now that you are back in the business of doing more fishing, give me a call.

    Shaun Jeszenka

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