Monday, February 12, 2007

Where fishing web sites go to die

Waaaay back in 2005, one of my good buddies and I decided we were going to get rich spinning fish tales. I was an aspiring outdoors writer, just breaking into some of the regional fishing magazines on the east coast. My partner Tanklin, well, he was a man of many trades, see below:

A few words about Tank: He wasn’t a Web designer, nor a writer by trade. He wasn’t even an angler, really. But he liked to eat fish and that was good enough. Tank went out and built a beautiful online fishing magazine out of Blogger tools, Photoshop and my hubris.

See, I had a vision. Think: New Yorker meets In-Fisherman. I wanted an online, literary fishing magazine full of great photos. Simple design. No crappy moving ads, no five different fonts on the page, no extraneous bullshit. Just good writing, fish and great photos. If we built it, they would come.

I didn’t see anybody coming close to this “ideal” online publication -- and I set off to fill that void. Now mind you, I’d only written a handful of fishing articles, I’d hired my goofball fishing buddies as associate editors (see below), and my man Tank was volunteering until the bucks started pouring in.

Nonetheless, I fancied myself a publisher. I landed some HUGE interviews, just calling famous people up and matter-of-factly asking for an interview for the Online Fishing Magazine, You haven’t heard of it?

I’m not sure where it all fell apart. I guess the beginning of the end was when I realized that I couldn’t make people who weren’t outdoors writers into great outdoors writers. My buddy Matt Z and my little brother turned in a good article or two over the first few months, but it got harder and harder to make them do it. They didn’t really want to write, they wanted to fish.

The nail in the coffin was when I went on Craigslist looking for writers. I put up ads in fishy towns throughout the U.S., asking for fishing-minded young journalists to please email me about a great new online fishing magazine. And then almost every one of them told me to eat shit when I mentioned that I couldn’t pay them.

So where does that leave today? Tank and I tried to get the band back together about a year ago, but the magic was gone. I was jaded. We cleaned it up as best we could, took out most of the references to specific dates, and left it to rot in the Web ghetto. But I recently paid another year on my URL and hosting, just in case…

The great interviews I mentioned, I’m not letting those go. I’m going to repost a couple of them here over the next couple days.

Also, I’m looking for advice on what to do with the bandwidth and the URL. If any of you can think of a good use for the URL, I’ll keep supporting the hosting and help out with it. I was kind of thinking about starting a fishing Wiki. Dumb term. I know.


Teh Wind Knot said...

A fishing wiki is a very interesting idea. If nothing else, the various touchstones of fisherfolk should lead to interesting content. OTOH, the inherent laziness we possess, except when fishing, might hurt.

Pete said...

So THAT'S what happened to that site. I linked to it on my old blogger site [now my retro archives]. So, how many articles did you get submitted about how fishing touches your soul? About the connection someone had with his father through the bond of fishing? About the zen like state one can achieve through fly fishing? That's the issue I've encountered with many attempts at literary fly fishing: too many articles fall into the same five or six topics, writing in wistful, reverential tones. Where's the fly-fishing Bukowski?

Pete said...

Oh yeah, I think the fishing wiki is a cool idea...