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25 years in the Editor’s chair

With the June issue due out soon, Mark Bowler has a very exciting announcement to make...

The very first issue of FF&FT, published 25 years ago!
The very first issue of FF&FT, published 25 years ago!

I have to thank the reader who came onto the stand at the BFFI and asked me what we’d got planned for the 25th anniversary issue? I have to be honest: if he hadn’t mentioned it, then I wouldn’t have realised that the June issue would represent FF&FT’s 25th birthday!

Having recovered from the initial shock of the news, we began planning and, having just completed the issue which is now at the printers, I can confirm that it will be something special.

Things to look out for in this bumper issue is a special section containing a series of reflective articles on the past 25 years in the fly fishing world, plus an extra competition – our ever-popular fly-fishing themed Codeword. We’ve also created something to commemorate the event: without giving anything away just now, let’s just say…it’s a highly useful piece of kit!

Of course, some of the research meant digging out that first yellow covered issue and seeing what we put inside it. It’s fascinating. Two FF&FT favourites were right there at the start: Malcolm Greenhalgh had a memorable piece on Mayflies (we were limited on the amount of colour pages in those days, so I had to make sure that the 5X4-inch colour photograph that we had taken specially fell into the colour section). Mick Huffer launched Textbook Tying, tying a Cove Pheasant Tail Nymph and a Hare’s Ear. Again, the finished fly was resplendent in colour, but the stage-by-stage photographs had to be in black-and-white. Mick also had an article on Buzzer Pupae patterns in the same issue.

The late Peter Lapsley was talking to Mick Bewick about Queen Mother reservoir. Peter was one of the first contributors to be approached when the magazine was being formulated. He became an ever-present author and his thorough, precise and expertly produced articles formed the central pillar about which each issue was built.

Davy Wotton had a feature, incorporating deer hair into his ‘unsinkable’ new Sedge patterns, Dave Riding was seeking salmon on stillwaters, whilst Robert McHaffie was reporting back on four patterns he’d encountered whilst visiting USA. Bruce Sandison was in there too, giving away Scottish trout loch secrets. Unusually for that era, there was a piece by a woman, Diana Holba, who wrote about how she’d got into fly fishing and how much she was now enjoying it.

Taff Price, whom I mention as being one of the pioneers of progressive fly fishing in my forthcoming June issue article, was reporting on his ‘Travels with a float tube’. Taff not only helped popularise float-tubing in those early days, but he was also one of the main proponents on travel fishing. This first article typified how progressive he was. Whilst the rest of us were standing by the side of a UK stillwater in our Barbour coats, Taff was floating across a lake in South Africa with his flippers on.

Taff told me how he managed to afford to travel to such exotic fishing destinations. His secret? Giving up smoking. The amount the saved went straight into his fishing trips. Probably the best health incentive ever.

The development of overseas travel fishing is one of the major changes in our sport that has occurred in the past 25 years, but, when you look back on it, there have been many, many more which are discussed in the up-coming June issue.

Meanwhile, I’m still recovering from the fact that I’ve been doing his job for 25 years. How can a quarter of a century fly past like that?

The June bumper issue goes on sale Friday, May 8. Order from your newsagent now, or subscribe HERE.


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