Dem Dry Bones
As the story goes, a young Albert McLane walked in to the Field & Stream offices in 1947, applied for the job of fishing editor, and was hired. On the morning of his first day, he left the building to get a cup of coffee and was fired by then publisher Eltinge Warner . But cooler heads prevailed and the young staffer was re-hired in the afternoon. The rest, they say, is history, and A.J. McClane became a legend at the magazine.
He fished throughout the world, bringing his wide-ranging curiosity to all things fishing. He was always a step ahead, too, and recognized trends long before the crowd. For instance, in 1955 he introduced the readers of Field & Stream to a new-fangled lure called the plastic worm. Those who had the privilege of watching him fish witnessed a master at work. Distance , yes, always, but with pinpoint accuracy. And those who had the privilege of working with him saw a complete professional. His copy rarely needed an editor’s pencil, except for the occasional comma—the proper use of which somehow eluded him.
He spent years working on an authoritative encyclopedia of fishing, and in 1965 the classic “McClane’s Standard Fishing Encyclopedia” was published. It remains the standard by which all other fishing encyclopedias are judged.
The earnings from the book allowed him to move to Florida to pursue his passion—bonefish. Late in life he began to experiment with bonefish flies and concluded that these famous bottom feeders would take a dry fly. The result is “Dem Dry Bones,” one of his classics. Indeed, the opening sentence in this February 1986 feature, in which he compares the bonefish to a 12-cylinder Ferrari Testarossa, is all A.J. Enjoy. Click here to read the story.