This Penn Media Trip to Crocodile Bay Lodge in Costa Rica was all about testing the new Penn Spinfisher V reels and giving the company's top brass feedback between sitting in on a few conferences in the center and taking photos. That was the job description.
It's tough to describe what it's like to mix it up with the country's top magazine editors publishers. Actually, no it's not. Being the youngest writer/editor in the group and the only one working for a newspaper/web site is really eye and mind opening, especially when conversations get going about writing and the future and how in the end it's all about content, no matter what the medium.
My roommate was Blair Wickstrom, Publisher of Florida Sportsman. The mag was the first one I ever received a subscription to. He's worked there 90 percent of the time I've been on this planet.
We got to have some really interesting discussions on Web versus print writing, how it's ironic that everyone is so focused on the web (including Wickstrom) even though the real advertising dollars come from print, and how books are such a great product to offer the reader (Florida Sportsman has about 10 books on individual subject, like sailfish, snook and dolphin.)
There's little crossover from East to West, and being the only full-timer from a West Coast publication--did I mention the youngest?--really gave me some time to reflect on everything from my writing and photography to that next book.
I've never really thought of myself as a writer or a photographer. More of a guy who loves to fish, enjoys writing and can get by with a camera. So when PENN's media man, Hunter Cole, said there'd be a photo contest, I though my shots of winning one of the three Internationals to be given away was slim. But then I thought: "I wish they'd do a 30 minute mini-feature contest where we all sit down behind our computers and write the best we can."
At that moment I realized something: I have confidence in not just my fishing, but also my writing.
But on this trip what I really realized was that everyone back East watches what goes on in the West, even if just with a head-cocked squint out of the corner of one eye, and the "kid" with the daily blog and the two books and saltwater post at WON can take a decent photo now and again.
Below is the shot that "won me" second place in the media photo contest amongst the editors et al. from the Croc Bay trip. Hunter Cole of PENN gave me an engraved silver International 16 VS. I would have grabbed the gold one, but my roommate got it for first, giving me a photo lesson to go with all the great conversation along the way:
NOTE THE GO PRO being stuck in the water by Chris Woodward, editor of Sport Fishing magazine. These changing times had more of the editors shooting video than stills. Like way more...