Published Feb 17. 2019 - 1 month ago
Updated or edited Feb 17. 2019

25 years online!

You won’t find many web sites, which have been running for 25 years, and I seriously doubt that any current fly fishing sites have a quarter century long history

Celebrating
Celebrating
Martin Joergensen

Excuse me for becoming a bit sentimental in the coming few sentences, but I honestly think I have a right to be slightly proud of the achievement... this web site, the Global FlyFisher, has been online in one form or the other for 25 years!
Yup... twenty five years.
A quarter of a century!

A quarter of a century!

The date

probably fell sometime in January, but tracking the precise time of events back then isn't easy. My email archive "only" reaches back to early 1995, and content that ended up on this site was produced before that. The Internet Archive has traces of the site back to late 1999 - a year or so after it launched as globalflyfisher.com. The predecessors Fishing Denmark and The Midwest Flytyer can be tracked further back on archive.org to 1997 and 1998 respectively. Both sites had been running for several years before that.
Material found on GFF was produced and published online as far back as 1994. That essentially means that GFF is close to being as old as the web itself, which is somewhat a feat if you ask me.
OK, the web as a concept was invented sometime in the late 80's and the first web browser saw the day of light in 1990, but Mosaic, the first real browser is from 1993 and Microsoft's Internet Explorer is from 1995.
The first article on GFF is from January 1994... really... you can still find it here.

The first few articles

were image galleries. That made good sense, because images could easily be shown on the web, while it was somewhat difficult to mail them – and it required that the recipient had a program, which could show the images. It might seem strange, but remember that email programs only handled text.

The 1995 version of the gallery.
The 1995 version of the gallery
The Internet Archive

So galleries was a good place to start. The site only really gained momentum as a "real" web sites during 1995 where the single gallery pages were added to a structure that would slowly grow into a full web site.
Before that there was lots of content, but not in the form of web pages. I had an "accumulative" mail, which I kept on expanding and sent out to people who wrote to me and inquired about fishing here in Denmark. This long mail contained facts about weather considerations, gear choice, fishing conditions, fly patterns and more – as well as links to the above galleries. The subject for the mail was "Fishing Denmark", which also became the name of the first incarnation of what would later become the Global FlyFisher as a web site.
I don't have any of these mails saved. They were sent from a mail account which is long gone, and even though I do have mails from as far back as 1995, I don't have any original "Fishing Denmark" mails.
But what I do have, and what you have, is parts of this mail, spread out in the most ancient parts of this site.
And you have most of Steve Schweitzer's "Midwest Flytyer" page and all of Bob Skehan's "Raske's New England Streamer Page". Those were both merged into the Global FlyFIsher and most of it is still here.
And then you have the rest of the Global FlyFisher in all its might and glory.

All that was published

during the years is still here, and I have made sure to keep essentially every single page available through the site's existence. What was online back in the mid-90's is – for a very large part – still online.
I will not draw you through the full history of the site, which has been told already in several articles and blog posts.

But let me dwell

a bit on the current state of the site.
The Global FlyFisher is a now a huge site with a lot of content, and it was certainly not built by me alone. The original partners, Steve Schweitzer, Bob Skehan and Bob Petti, were there too, delivering lots of content and helping build the foundation. They don't participate that much anymore, even though we do have contact. All their stuff is still here too of course.
During the 25 years a lot of other people have contributed masses of content too. Right now I can count exactly 200 contributors who authored or coauthored articles published on the site. A warm and heartfelt thanks goes out to all of them them. Without them the site would be way smaller and way less impressing than it is.

Steve and the banner
Midwest Flytyer article
Steve Schweitzer
The Internet Archive - Martin Joergensen
GFF on instagram
GFF on instagram
Martin Joergensen

The site has been

chugging along in all those years. There have been ups and downs in publishing pace, ups and downs in traffic and visitor numbers and certainly ups and downs in running the site, offering various technical challenges, not to say problems and even catastrophes. Most have been overcome, and in the last many years things have been running fairly stable.
We have fewer visitors than when the site traffic peaked, but these days we compete with social media in particular, but also a forest of smaller sites, personal blogs, club and organization sites and much more. They all take their part of the fly fishing and fly tying traffic. Since the number of people online is growing slower than the amount of content, fewer people visit the single sites. The fly fishing and fly tying community as a whole has also shrunk in size. After the peak years with "A River Runs Through It" and all the yuppies who took up fishing during the 90's, things have settled down, and even though young people do start fly fishing, it's not easy for an outdoors activity to compete with smartphones, social media, computer games and endless online streaming of music and video. Youngsters simply don't get out as much as we old-timers did. Parents used to take their kids camping and fishing. These days it's probably more common that they play online games with them.
We're not fighting a loosing game. We still see kids and young people enjoy outdoors activities. It's just that kids don't take to hiking, camping hunting and fishing like they used to.

Lately the Global FlyFisher

has been picking up a little pace again, and the publishing rate has increased slightly. More outside contributors chip in, and I also found more time to write new material myself. More people offer to write and contribute and more good content comes in than it has been the case for years.
The whole video scene has been ever growing, and GFF has a video section with close to 10,000 curated and "hand selected" videos. The site also has representation on the social media scene, and Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram all contribute with some marketing and incoming traffic.
The revival of Steve Schweitzer's LeaderCalc as an online tool has brought in a lot of people, and it's one of the single most popular sections on the site now.
Videos also continuously attract people, and I'm currently working with renowned fly tying instructor Wayne Luallen from the US and publisher and author Runar Warhuus from Norway to produce a new video section, which will consist of short and focused videos showing fly tying techniques. Wayne is a brilliant instructor who has materials and methods down to an art and knows the science and the mechanics behind most aspects of fly tying, and he shows and demonstrates various techniques in a series of 1-5 minute videos.

So… I'm not promising

you another 25 years, even though I will do what I can. I was in my mid 30's when this started, and if I keep going another 25 years, your webmaster will be 85! Let's see how it goes and take a few years at a time.
We can make a midway evaluation in 2024 when the site turns 30.

...your webmaster will be 85!

Comments

25 Years...

Congratulations. I find it difficult to imagine ALL the work that has gone into this site. Well done to all involved. I find it my No.1 ‘go to’ resource.

Martin Joergensen's picture

Thanks David...

The amount of work isn't that bad seen on a daily basis, and I find it both fun, entertaining and even exciting to create content for the site. I also learn a lot in the process of researching, writing, editing, shooting pictures and making drawings.
But of course, if I were to count the hours I have spent on the site during 25 years, I might find it slightly overwhelming...

Martin

Břetislav Kašpar's picture

Congratulations!...

Happy Birthday, Global Fly Fishers. :)

|| May you live all the days of life. ||

Martin Joergensen's picture

Thanks Břetislav...

You helped make part of it, and that's highly appreciated.

Martin

Congratulations Martin and crew!...

Well done my friend. You've provided the online community a steady place to celebrate the FF experience and beyond. What an amazing legacy.

Cheers (I'm lifting a beer in your honor!)
Ken

Martin Joergensen's picture

Thanks Ken!...

Your comment is much appreciated.

I hope we get to fish together again sometime, even though I do need more help than I used to.

Martin

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Since you got this far …

The GFF money box
The GFF money box
Martin Joergensen

… I have a small favor to ask.

Long story short

Support the Global FlyFisher through several different channels, including PayPal.

Long story longer

The Global FlyFisher has been online since the mid-90's and has been free to access for everybody since day one – and will stay free for as long as I run it.
But that doesn't mean that it's free to run.
It costs money to drive a large site like this.

See more details about what you can do to help in this blog post.