Often as one year closes and another begins, I fight back a sense of nostalgia. The temptation to reminisce and examine the year’s events is an annual impulse that waxes in that time between Christmas and December 31. In some ways, perhaps because I am an editor, our turn around the sun always feels like a work in progress that on the stroke of midnight must be signed, stamped and submitted.
Reflection upon the year, a ledger of achievement and loss, challenges us to find meaning in the tumult of everyday life. For me, the sight of false albacore leaping over a white capped sea or the glow of a harvest moon shining down on a striper’s flank comprise the season’s best elements. And yet the valleys that lie opposite those peaks are deep indeed. Our exuberance for the next season is tempered by thoughts of those who will not be here to share it.
Editor-in-Chief John Melfi, well known to the angling community for his fly fishing and writing skills, died suddenly this autumn. John is remembered for his friendly, generous character and enthusiasm for pursuing all fish species. His loss has been felt by all, especially those who were closest to him both on and off the water.
Norman MacLean understood the loss of a great angler. In his exploration of grief along the Big Blackfoot River, immortalized in A River Runs Through It, the river itself provided a language of understanding.
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.”
Thank you John for your own words, your service to Tail magazine, and most of all your passion for fishing that continues to inspire others to take up the long rod.
Looking ahead to 2016, there is hope beyond the snow banks and frozen wastes that ensconce my home in New England. Elsewhere in the world, brightly colored fish are prowling along sun dappled flats as they forage within an angler’s reach. Thoughts of warm currents and exotic destinations may jump start the imagination from its winter torpor (or drive mad those who are unable to dig out).
The articles in this issue of Tail can easily stave off the symptoms of cabin fever. Join a DIY bonefish angler on the island of Guanaja or cast crease flies (yes, you heard me correctly) for bones on the flats of Andros Island. Take a tour of the Clutch fly rods factory or delve into the colorful hyper-realism of artist Ashton Howard. While I cannot shovel the snow for you, this is about the next best thing.
Happy New Year and tight lines from all of us here at Tail Fly Fishing. May this season be one that brings personal bests in every way.
Editor in Chief