Ladyfisher
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

December 30th, 2002

Annual Report



Well not quite...but the end of any year marks the ending of some things and the start of others. It seems our readers should be entitled to at least as much information as one of the big mega companies provides its stockholders.

FAOL doesn't have any stock, but there's another word being thrown around these days, stakeholders. I figure anyone who reads FAOL is a stakeholder in this venture - and for sure a major stakeholder in fly fishing. That said, you get the report.

9/11 struck terror in us all. The repercussions are still being felt in many places. FAOL lost some Sponsors this past year. They really didn't want to leave, but between the uncertainty following the 9/11 attacks, floods in the east, drought and fires in the west, people were not fishing as much, and traveling outside the US was pretty much limited to business. One Sponsor told me his business was down this year 27%. He had to cut back everywhere. (I would have preferred he stayed with us and kept his name in front of our readers, but his choice of course.)

I've mentioned before a couple of our former Sponsors were also hit hard by off-shore knock-offs. That one is especially tragic, because the companies and their products were/are very superior to the knock-offs. You might remember that when you are tempted to buy something for a little less - check out where it is made.

So with a depressed fly fishing market, business down, folks cutting back, how did FAOL do?

We grew. Again. We doubled...again.

A year ago, December 17, 2001, the 'record' day was 2,129 unique, individual people visited FAOL. Accounting for 114,401 hits in one day. We were very proud to have reached that point.

A year later, December 16, 2002, 4,299 unique, individual people visited, accounting for 237,118 hits. (We have had higher hit numbers, over a quarter million a day in fact, our highest for December 2002 was 288,696). The readership of this website continues to grow. On an average day, people from 82 countries read FAOL.

Amazing.

We continue to add new Sponsors, there are several who do not yet appear on the Sponsor Page, but you will see them shortly. We appreciate their support - and vote of confidence in the information we are providing to our fellow fly fishermen.

We've added some new things, Al Campbell did a wonderful series on photographing your flies and fish (more to come on that) and Ronn Lucas, Sr. is producing an on-going series on all the facets of tying Atlantic Salmon Flies. Stay tuned on that one, flies from many of the readers who tied flies for swaps will have their flies included. (You can too, read the Open Invitation on the Atlantic Salmon Flies index page.) The Stream Doctor is here to answer your questions on what is happening in your streams, including the fish and the insects. Stu Farnham contributes a weekly column on what should be in your library - including some of the oldies you may have overlooked.

There is more coming! Some surprises.

No surprise on this one. FAOL is alive and well.

How can that be when the rest of fly fishing seems to have problems? It's all because of you. It is the readers of FAOL which make the difference. It is your desire to have a connection with other like-minded anglers, whether it is reading articles, searching out a fly or method, commenting on the Bulletin Board, visiting in the Chat Room, contributing a Fly of the Week or 'your' story to the Readers Cast. Someone said the Internet would eventually become "interactive television." Well, FAOL already is.

What's the secret? You are. ~ The LadyFisher

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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