“Noob” is not common in my normal day-to-day vocabulary—it felt kind of awkward even to type—but with an 8-year-old son in the house who loves his electronics, I hear the term “noob” thrown around enough to know I am one… for now at least. And while I know a great many of you out there, for the rest of you here is a bit of background on the noob Digital Editor here at Fishing Tackle Retailer.

little tobyFishing has always been a large part of my life and my fondest memories revolve around it. From my early days spent on a 14-foot tin boat hunting all manner of freshwater species with my dad, to eventually following him into the surf in an old, leaky pair of his waders held up around my armpits by a tattered leather belt, I knew that fishing would constitute a big part of my life, I just never imagined to what degree.

I come to FTR as the former Managing Editor of the New England edition of The Fisherman Magazine for nearly 9.5 years, my first full-time job in the fishing industry. My angling area of expertise, so to speak, lies in saltwater fishing, and my passion lies in fishing from shore, at night, dressed in a wetsuit so that I can swim out to nearshore rocks to gain an advantage over my adversary. (If you’re sitting there scratching your head, thinking that I must be crazy, rest assured that you’re not alone and probably not too far off the mark!)

 

But it’s not just a touch of the brine running through my veins that drives me as over the years I have caught a variety of fish, both fresh and salt, including enormous striped bass, smallmouth bass the size of footballs, bruiser blackfish, glassy-eyed walleye, giant bluefin tuna, and carp the size of my son. Through these angling experiences I have come to realize it’s not just the big catches that make the memories and there are always new and exciting species to target waiting right around the next corner or even right out in plain sight. For example, I recently discovered that a diminutive wild brook trout duped on a tiny dry fly wielded on a glass rod in a stream small enough to hop across without a running start has its own special appeal and reward. It’s a scenario that just 12 months ago I could never have imagined if it had not been for the pandemic and the many ways it has changed the world in which we live. It’s this openness to try new things and branch out from my comfort zone that brought me here to FTR, and I look forward to the challenge it provides.

Before my time with The Fisherman, I was a paralegal (well, legal assistant to be precise) for about nine years, and before that I worked at a dairy and food service distribution company holding a variety of titles, including truck driver and shipping supervisor. If we want to keep the Wayback Machine going, I worked on a golf course grounds crew for several summers, waited tables and was even a line cook at a fancy restaurant for a while. To say that I have done a variety of jobs in my 42 years on earth is pretty accurate, but let’s move on from the past and into the future, a future I am excited to know will now include FTR.

While my goals as Digital Editor are many and varied, I want to be sure to address the ever-changing needs of the fishing community. I have a rather good grasp on what the consumer’s wants and needs are; now I can apply this knowledge and experience to help retailers and manufacturers grow and evolve in a time where an unprecedented number of consumers are entering the market.

Admittedly there will be a few hurdles for me to overcome, but as I have always done in both my personal life and professional career, I welcome and embrace these learning experiences to better myself and ultimately better serve the fishing tackle retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers that drive the industry.

Toby Lapinski, Fishing Tackle Retailer