Fish On
Field & Stream|Volume 125, Issue 2 - 2020
The author shares some parting words and fishing wisdom after a decade of living the dream
Joe Cermele

JOHN MERWIN was a martini drinker, and by the time I sidled up next to him at the lobby bar in the Las Vegas Hilton, he’d had a couple. This was in 2010, at ICAST, the annual fishing-industry trade show. Merwin had recently stepped down as FIELD & STREAM’s fishing editor. His legendary shoes were big ones to fill, and I was the guy chosen to do so. At the time, I’d only written three fishing columns in this new role. I agonized over every one of them, and knowing that Merwin—a man 40-plus years my senior—was not one to mince words, I assumed he had arranged this meetup to drop not-so-subtle hints as to why my columns weren’t to his liking. I was warned, in fact, not to expect praise from Merwin; not because he didn’t give it, but because he rarely gave it to you directly.

We made small talk as I nervously nursed a beer. We chatted about what interesting things we’d seen at the show. He knew I was sweating, and I finally couldn’t take it anymore. “John, have you read any of my columns?” I asked. He sipped his drink and nodded. “Were they any good?” I asked, already wincing.

His face lit up with a wide, sly grin. “They were good, Joey,” he said. “You’re going to do just fine.”

That was one of the best things I have ever heard.

DREAM BIG

When you’re the fishing editor of F&S, everyone asks: What’s your favorite fish to catch? My answer is lame but honest: “Whatever I’m fishing for next.”

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