Our Moment of Youth column, which you'll find on page 10 in the June issue, makes me smile. This month's author is Monique Coombs, who holds various roles in the fishing industry, is married to a Maine lobsterman and lives on Orrs Island, Maine. Today she can't imagine not being a part of an industry she clearly loves. But when she was growing up, it didn't even occur to her that she'd become so fully immersed in the fishing life.
"I think I got lucky. That's how I ended up living near the water and married to a fisherman," she writes. "Seriously. Just plain luck." I can relate.
Back in November of 1994, I answered a help-wanted ad I saw in the Maine Sunday Telegram; a magazine called National Fisherman was looking for a copy editor. As luck would have it, Jim Fullilove, the magazine's editor and publisher brought me in for an interview.
I got my hands on some copies of the magazine, and instantly liked what I was reading. Mind you, I knew precious little about the fishing industry. But I was captivated by the stories, and felt like I could and wanted to learn about the industry.
Thankfully, the magazine hired me. And so began my journey with NF, starting in our Rockland, Maine, office, which sat at the end of Tillson Avenue, right on the water. If National Fisherman was a trade magazine, it wasn't like one I'd ever seen. It had a great mix of news and feature stories about life at sea and a lively boats and gear section, all of which appealed to fishermen and general interest readers alike. You could find it on magazine racks in bookstores and in the supermarket! You couldn't say the same for your garden-variety trade magazine.
That great mix of stories is still found in NF today. And that's because publisher Jerry Fraser, editor-in-chief Jes Hathaway, Boats & Gear editor Mike Crowley and art director Laura Dobson are passionate about the industry and are really committed to bringing commercial fishing to life in the pages of each issue. So are longtime contributors like Kirk Moore, Hoyt Childers, Charlie Ess, Larry Chowning and Susan Chambers.
And because they are so committed to delivering a great magazine to you every month, I feel like this is a good time for me to step away from the magazine. I have new adventures, both personal and professional, that I want to tackle, and now is the time to do it.
But I will tell anyone who asks in no uncertain terms that this is the best job I've ever had. I have been extremely fortunate to write and edit (and blog) for National Fisherman, and equally fortunate to get to learn about this historic industry and meet you, the amazing men and women who take to the water each day to bring back a delicious and nutritious protein source for the rest of us to enjoy. Fishing is a tough way to make a living, and you choose to do it anyway because you love the fishing life.
Monique Coombs says she is lucky to have discovered that life.
So am I.