The Book Mailer


“The nice part about fishing all the time is that an angler can spare moments for just sitting and watching the water. These spells don’t even have to have a purpose, but it is hard not to discover some secrets during such interludes. The fisherman without a schedule doesn’t need to rush about, casting furiously in a hunt for every possible trout. For this reason, he usually catches more of them.”
                                                                                                        –Gary LaFontaine, Trout Flies: Proven Pattern

Gary had vision and sass and apparently enough folks taken with his work and methods to carry on long after his first mark in fly fishing history. I met Gary 20 years ago as a new employee of Greycliff Publishing and the Book Mailer Newsletter.

An avid reader, my dream job was to work with books. This new job and these particular books were primarily written and published by Gary LaFontaine. A “fly-fishing guru”. What is a fly-fishing “guru” exactly I wondered? I had a lot to learn.

Before Gary left us he assured the future of his books by passing his titles to Lyons Press. This left the crazy newsprint catalog, the Book Mailer Newsletter, published three times a year. Thirty two pages of Gary at what I think may have been some of his best writing. As illness impeded his life, the Newsletter became an especially important communication tool with his community of fly fishermen. Those that were on his mailing list for the Newletter. You know who you are.

What a journey these years have been. The reason we’re still here is because we have a connection with Gary.

His creation the Book Mailer Newsletter – First published as a postcard in 1988, until the final 32 page catalog in 2012 – was to become my journey. A newsletter/catalog created before cell phones, websites, from the inception of computers and internet, in a catalog mailing world of gloss and shine, Gary choose to use newsprint paper and font with no color or pictures. Perhaps because he was color blind? or perhaps because it was cheap? perhaps he had it figured out? He engaged his customers by his writing. the Book Mailer Newletter was a catalog that you actually read, from cover to cover. I knew this was an unique thing.

Hopefully for you, this will be place to converse the philosophy that Gary started and to continue his mark. Explore your love of fly fishing and all it brings to your life, for both the times we are on and off the water. I think Gary would like that.

Watch for the latest releases of “books” and film to catch your interest. The development of LaFontaine fly pattens tied his way, and continuation of his unique materials and friendships to this wonderful passion.