Saturday, 20 October 2007

Waterlog - a quick history

Despite popular myth, Waterlog has been around in many guises since the splendid (and highly collectable) first issue, published on January 8th, 1855 (as Waterlogge). This makes it without doubt the longest running angling magazine of all time. Founded by a pair of itinerant drifters and shad anglers (only one was ever fully identified), the magazine grew from humble beginnings to dominate the angling scene of the late nineteenth century.

It stayed in the same format for over ninety years, when, with government blessing, it was re-launched during the Second World War in 1943, in a new paper-saving style. It certainly kept the home fires burning!

By 1964 Britain was booming and it was on November 7th that Waterlog resurfaced in new clothes yet again. This time though, the name was changed (in an obvious and pathetic attempt at gaining more market share) to Waterlog Gazette & Sea Angler.
It was a disaster, and the magazine limped on until January 1969, when it was rescued from ignominy by an unknown financial backer and published for the first time in colour. For the next twenty-seven years it followed the downward spiral of ‘how-to’ magazines flooding the market and eventually lost its way. The editor left rather hurriedly in 1994 to an ‘unknown African destination’, taking with him any remaining profits and the company secretary.
So, in 1996, just when the magazine had all but disappeared (along with the burbot), two more itinerant drifters picked it up out of a ditch. Then, with a dedicated, skilled, and dare I say, penniless band of helpers and contributors, they once more set Waterlog on the very long, very damp road to angling immortality. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything . . .

Autumn 2007 issue (no. 61), with contributions from John Andrews and Dexter Petley, is out now.

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