Selling photos to support fishing magazine stories has been a source of income for me since I began my writing career. In the early 1950s only four fishing/hunting magazines were published in the United States: Outdoor Life, Sports Afield, Field & Stream and the smaller Fur-Fish-Game.
Back then, cameras were bulky and therefore hard to lug around. And of course using film limited the number of photos you could take without reloading. Magazine editors wanted the stories to be informational and attractive. The problem was that photos were rarely submitted with the text in those days, and because of that, editors were forced to commission paintings (which were expensive) to illustrate a large portion of the magazine’s content.
During this period, I was writing outdoor columns for several local newspapers and became good friends with local photographers who, I felt, were on the cutting edge of the profession. One friend started using a 35 mm camera, and luckily, he shared his knowledge of photography with me.
Early on, I’d have my fishing buddies take photos of me while holding fish. Unfortunately, more often than not, while going through the rolls of film after they’d been developed, I’d notice that most of the frames were out of focus or crooked or my head would be cut off. Needless to say, most of the photos I sold were the ones that I shot myself.
In 1964, I moved to Miami to manage the Metropolitan Miami Fishing Tournament, which at the time was the largest and most prestigious fishing tournament in the country. Not long after that, I was introduced to Bob Hewes, who ran a nearby boat company located downtown on the Miami River. He and I formed an instant bond and therefore started fishing together.
Some time later Bob mentioned to me that he was going to build a boat designed specifically for flats fishing.