from Deanna Travis

August 10, 2009


It seems like just yesterday when we published the following: "Our dear friend Al Campbell passed away from incurable brain cancer April 28, 2005." Al was an important part of this web site, and the rumors were rampant throughout the fly fishing world (well the Internet anyway) that Fly Anglers On Line (FAOL) was also dying. There was an assumption on the part of some that Al either owned FAOL or was a major part of producing it.

Neither was true, and now, in 2009, we face another batch of rumors.

James G. Birkholm, also known as James Castwell, was my husband and co-founder of FAOL. It may surprise you to know FAOL is actually owned totally by Deanna Lee Travis, and has been from the beginning. Yes, I remarried, more on that later. James was the Editor, and did most of the photography and graphic work for this website. He wrote a weekly column, kept an eye on the Bulletin Board to make sure we didn’t have any grafters on it, and hosted a Saturday evening slot on the Chat Room.

Castwell’s death from a major coronary occlusion while on a fishing trip in the Bahamas was a horrible shock to us all. I’ve received cards, letters and some phone calls from folks who are really concerned that their favorite fly fishing escape, FAOL is not going to continue. Castwell passed on May 19th, 2009, and it is only a couple of months later, but please be assured FAOL is indeed continuing, (just in case you haven’t noticed). No, Castwell isn’t here, neither is Al Campbell, but the main information both men had to contribute, Al on teaching fly tying and Castwell on teaching casting, are still all here. Their passion, teaching, tying and casting are archived for you. You can access it at any time.

There will be some changes here. We are trying to make the site easier to navigate - simplify the archives so you can find stuff without searching. We are also encouraging new writers. Look for an article on manners and etiquette from author and Guide Tom Travis as well as other news soon. You may have already noticed a few new names, and your adventures and stories are welcome too. I would much rather have fly fishers who can write than writers who occasionally fish doing things for us. Even if you feel you may not be a ‘writer’ keep in mind we have a very good editor.

What makes this web site so great is the amount of good, honest, real information for our readers. We make a huge point of telling the truth. We will not hype something to get more readers.

You also won’t hear the gloom and doom opinion articles here. We have nothing to sell except fly fishing, and we want you to have the best information we can provide to you so you can be the best fly fisher possible. I know your vision/view of something can vary widely from mine. That doesn’t make yours right or mine wrong, but it may make for interesting reading.

I have also noticed a few "old timers" who have been missing from FAOL for some time are returning. Unfortunately we all have personal opinions, and sometimes they get in the way of what a good web site should be. We encourage personal opinions, and we hope that, when necessary, we can disagree agreeably. I’m sure that I have caused more than one reader to think about tearing their or my hair out, but we all have a right to our opinion. I try not to let mine show all the time.

What’s down the road for FAOL? Since I’ve always tried to be honest with you, I will tell you I don’t really know. My new husband, Neil Travis, and I want to do some traveling, and some fishing. We have two laptops, and willing help from our computer guru Ron Tidd. We will spend our summers in Montana, and winter here on the Pacific Northwest coast. As long as we have writers who write and send stuff to us, sponsors who are willing to pay the bills, readers who want to read what we publish, God allows us health and strength we will continue to publish FAOL.

If someone should come along who really wants to buy FAOL and keep it up and alive, we will consider that as well. We aren’t getting any younger (are you?) and at some point we may not physically be able to do what we do now. When I think of what I’ve gone through in the past couple of years between the face and shoulder surgeries I am amazed that FAOL made it through that stuff. But it did.

If you think you have something to contribute to this web site and haven’t, shame on you. Do it.  This is a collaborative adventure, it doesn’t work without you - it is not a one or two person show.

It’s about fly fishing, not about us.

Where do we go from here? You tell us.

~ The LadyFisher

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