Our History

ONS 10de VERJAARDAG OUR 10th BIRTHDAY


0'n Oorsig deur Hoofredakteur Eugene Kruger/ A review by Editor in Chief Eugene Kruger

If ever there was an "adventure in publishing', then the first decade of The Bank Angler/Die Oewerhengelaar is just that. From the dream of one man has emerged a powerful voice representing the freshwater bank anglers of South Africa, providing both recreational and competitive anglers with technical expertise and angling entertainment of the highest order – and most importantly in the process giving freshwater bank angling the status and respect it deserves.

APRIL 2003, ISSUE #1
First IssueFirst IssueFor passionate freshwater bank angler Kevin Downey it was too much to bear that his beloved sport enjoyed no media support or promotion save for the few articles in existing publications. The thousands of people who participated in organised, sport angling had no, or very little, standing among the general angling public. With only limited journalistic experience – he had written a regular boat safety column for the Hengel/Angling magazine until its demise in the early nineties – but blessed with loads of confidence, faith and an amazing capacity for hard work, together with wife Annetjie he launched his baby – The Bank Angler – with its motto "the magazine for tips, advice and for us".
The "for us" part was a creative master stroke as it immediately established ownership of the magazine, not only by the country's sport anglers, but also by everyone in the country who regarded freshwater bank angling as their preferred outdoor recreation.
The highlight of that first issue can arguably be the fact that it actually saw the light despite a serious lack of magazine publishing experience. What it lacked in expertise however was overshadowed by the enthusiasm and passion of the few people on its masthead - Kevin as Editor, wife Annetjie as Business Manager, elder daughter Sonja as Designer and younger daughter Anel responsible for Marketing. Illustrating Kevin's originality and modesty the Photographer was named as "You, the Reader", and in his first editorial he referred to himself as "Editor – Undergoing his apprenticeship".
The contents centred mostly on organised sport angling tournaments such as the the SA Championships, and news from the various provincial associations. To his everlasting credit Kevin also had the vision to predict the growth in specimen carp fishing and published the first in a series written by John Dearden providing the technical knowledge that this facet requires. It was then called "Specialist Carp Angling". He also foresaw the necessity of providing expertise to enable anglers to become proficient in what at the time was a new facet on the local scene, namely Match Angling – using the pole and the Waggler Float, written by Werner Lubbe. Another stroke of strategic genius was obtaining the appointment of the magazine as the official publication of the South African Freshwater Bank Angling Federation (SAFBAF).The front cover featured a scene from his designated target audience, namely competitive bank angling -lady angler Heleen Smit with one of the carp she caught at Hartbeespoort Dam during the SA Ladies Tour in 2002.
At 36 pages, a print order of only 2000, a cover price of only R14,50 and with no paid advertising to provide financial support it was a true leap of faith, but it was enthusiastically received, and laid the foundation for the next issue six months later.

FIRST BIRTHDAY, Autumn 2004, Issue #5.
First BirthdayFirst BirthdayWith the magazine's first birthday there was certainly something to celebrate – four issues had been distributed and the print order was climbing as the demand grew and more outlets were developed. The cover price was now R16. Editor Kevin Downey now had a list of Field Editors to assist him – Andries Maree, Werner Lubbe, Willem Moll, Michael Graskie, Tony Fredriksson, Trevor Spencer, Craig Neill and Eugene Kruger – and their inputs were reflected in the increase of the number of pages published to 52. Editorial content had broadened its scope, and now included, along with the tournament reports and association news, topics that were of interest to the many readers who were non-competitive anglers. Advertisers had also come on board, keen to reach the largest group of recreational anglers in the country. These included Ganis, Ultimate Fishing CD, Super Cast, Fundi Fish & Tackle, Stok & Hoed, Trucella, The Original, Pretoria West Trading, HookIt, Campeazy, Herpotology, Champion Dips, Visblik, Sarels, Varswater Paradys, Carp Trophy, JP's Hengel, African Gold, AFM Auto Body, Anglers Bait & Tackle and Fear None – an enormous improvement over the first issue! The front cover colour however was still being changed from issue to issue as the magazine tried to find an image that it could call its own.

 

 

Second BirthdaySecond BirthdaySECOND BIRTHDAY, March/April 2005, Issue #9.
The most important development with this issue was the new, more modern graphic design of its cover and the fish logo that was created by the renowned outdoor artist Tony Fredriksson. The colour of the cover's masthead was also fixed as green and the branding of the magazine was now firmly established. I was now on the masthead as "Consulting Editor" after first being on board as a "Field Editor", and together with Kevin we broadened the editorial scope even further. Kevin had brought in contributors with proven competitive angling track records, such as Johan Marx, Johann van Heerden and Teus Bezuidenhout, and the magazine had started to attract more advertising. At this time the magazine was still being distributed by the Downey family and a few friends, and the circulation was increasing. The cover price was now R16.

Third BirthdayThird BirthdayDERDE VERJAARDAG, April/Mei 2006, Uitgawe #16.
Met die tydskrif se derde verjaardag het die aantal bladsye tot 60 gegroei om die advertensies te dra, maar tot die uitgewers se krediet het hulle die belange van lesers voorop gehou en die redaksioneel tot advertensie verhouding hoog gehou – die tydskrif het dus altyd waarde vir geld gebied. 'n Paar maande tevore moes die bestuurspan herorganiseer om die groei van die tydskrif effektief te hanteer. Kevin Downey het die stoel van "Uitgewer & Redakteur" geneem terwyl vrou Annetjie "Besturende Redakteur" geword het, en ek was steeds as "Raadgewende Redakteur" aan boord. Kevin het nou sy eie rubriek, "What's Happening?" geskryf en ek die hoofartikel. 'n Redaksionele hoogtepunt was die aankonging via die tydskrif dat Suid-Afrika gekies is om die 2008 Wêreld Karphengelkampioenskap aan te bied, en dat dit by Bloemhofdam sou plaasvind.
Die tydskrif het nou elke tweede maand verskyn en het steeds R16 gekos, maar die druk was besig om op te laai vanaf lesers wat vir 'n maandelikse publikasie gevra het.
Ons verjaardag vieringe was egter vergete toe Kevin op die aand van 20 April 2006, terwyl hy in sy huis in Kempton Park met 'n hengelvergadering besig was, deur onbekende inbrekers geskiet en noodlottig gewond, en is tydens 'n tweede nood operasie oorlede.
Almal was hoogs geskok, maar van oral het die ondersteuning van lesers gekom dat die tydskrif moes voortgaan, en ten spyte van die erge trauma het Annetjie en haar dogters Sonja en Anel besluit om wel met die tydskrif voort te gaan. Sy het die taak van Uitgewer oorgeneem en ek die redakteurstoel. Verder vorentoe was dit sake soos gewoonlik.
Om sy oprigtingswerk vir die Matchhengel faset die erkenning wat dit verdien te bied het die tydskrif die leiding geneem om die "Kevin Downey Memorial Match" by Bloemhofdam aan te bied. Net die top twintig match hengelaars in die land het gekwalifiseer om deel te neem. Die "KDM" soos dit nou bekend staan word elke jaar net na die nasionale kampioenskappe aangebied en word as 'n hoogtepunt van die hengeljaar beskou.

Fourth BirthdayFourth BirthdayVIERDE VERJAARDAG, APRIL/MEI 2007, Uitgawe #22.
Met hierdie, vierde verjaardag, was daar darem iets om na die trauma van 'n jaar terug werklik te vier, naamlik dat in die jaar kon ons vorder van die uitgee van ses uitgawes 'n jaar tot agt uitgawes. Die ekstra uitgawes het onmiddelik byval gevind en die verskepte spertye en produksie skedules het ons ook gehelp om logistieke stelsels te begin bou om die publikasie siklus na elke maand op te gradeer. Ook is ons bestuur en redaksie versterk met die aanstelling van Proteahengelaar Werner Lubbe as Algemene Bestuurder, wat ook die Match Angling rubriek behartig het.

Fith BirthdayFith BirthdayFIFTH BIRTHDAY, April 2008, Issue #31
When our fifth birthday arrived it was to celebrate the publishing schedule of eleven magazines a year, with only the December/January one serving two months. This conveyor belt-like production schedule certainly made its demands on the editorial and advertising staff, while its distribution was also becoming problematical. As soon as the magazine arrived from the printers, Werner, Annetjie, Sonja and Anel and whoever else was available took to the roads to deliver magazines all over the country. Although the circulation had grown to a most respectable 10000-plus copies a month, it was becoming increasingly – and painfully – apparent that having so many staffers out of office and on the road for a week at a time was not conducive to realising the full potential of the magazine's popularity and influence. Later in the year the firm of Junk Mail Distributors (JMD) took over this important job and the magazine's print order and circulation saw a massive increase. Also in this year the magazine provided full coverage of the World Carp Angling Championship at Bloemhof Dam which the South African team won handsomely.

 

 

Sixth BirthdaySixth BirthdaySIXTH BIRTHDAY, APRIL 2009, Issue #42
Now running at 68 pages with a print order of some 13000 with a cover price of R23,50, the magazine enjoyed considerable support from the corporate angling equipment and services supply side, and continued with its editorial recipe of highlighting and promoting the organised, sport angling community, providing technical expertise suitable for all facets of bank angling as well as adventure features and lighter feature writing. Conventional bank angling remained an important priority while the increasing numbers of submissions for the "Readers's Catches" pages reflected the growing number of readers. Reader competitions were also providing readers with an opportunity to win handsome prizes donated by sponsors.

Seventh BirthdaySeventh BirthdaySEWENDE VERJAARDAG, APRIL 2010, Uitgawe # 54
Desember 2009 bring nie net die 50ste uitgawe teen 116 bladsye nie, maar ook die eerste jaar wat daar volwaardige, individuele Desember en Januarie uitgawes op die rak beland het.
As 'n volwasse, nou volwaardige maandblad, met sy noue verwantskap met die doen en late van die SAVOF kon die tydskrif in hierdie uitgawe nie net sy sewende verjaardag vier nie, maar ook 'n belangrike aankondiging maak, naamlik dat die Feederhengelfaset nou ook deur die wêreld beheerliggaam aanvaar is, en dat 'n wêreldkampioenskap daarvoor aangebied sou word. Diè faset is deur Suid-Afrika gepromoveer en gemotiveer, en is sterk deur die tydskrif ondersteun wat dus nog 'n geleentheid vir hengelaars geskep het om die Proteaspan te haal en aan 'n wêreldkampioenskap deel te neem. Van meer onmiddelike belang egter was die redaksionele dekking in die jaar van die Dames Wêreldkampioenskappe te Bamboesspruit, Bloemhofdam waartydens personeel van die tydskrif nou by die organisering betrokke was.
Die prys van R28,50 het die stygende publikasiekoste weerspieël maar steeds het die redaksioneel tot advertensie verhouding verseker dat lesers goeie waarde vir geld ontvang het.

Eighth BirthdayEighth BirthdayAGSTE VERJAARDAG, APRIL 2011, Uitgawe #66
Hierdie jaar het weer sy kwota hoogtepunte opgelewer, soos byvoorbeeld 'n rekord 116 bladsye in die Januarie uitgawe wat byna 20 000 tydskrifte verkoop het – en dit bo en behalwe al die intekenare. Ook was die webtuiste geskep en die aantal vriende op die Facebook bladsy het die 5000 merk verbygeskiet. Lesers het ook entoesiasties aan die "Lesers Gaan Hengel" gelukkige trekkings deelgeneem en diè afdeling is na vyf bladsye vergroot om soveel lesers se fotos as moontlik per uitgawe te publiseer. Later diè jaar het die tydskrif ook indiepte aandag verleen aan die Protea Karphengelspan wat die karphengelwêreld verstom het met hul vierde agtereenvolgende oorwinning in die wêreld kampioenskap.

Ninth BirthdayNinth BirthdayNINTH BIRTHDAY, April 2012, Issue #78
Following yet another huge issue in January – it was 106 pages – our ninth birthday issue published 98 pages and offered readers a notable "first", namely a fold-out cover to do justice to a 21,47kg grass carp caught by ace carp angler Loukie van der Merwe at Wemmer Pan. The "Readers Go Fishing" feature now also had a page dedicated to the photos of our kiddies, and also a page dedicated to barbel fishing and the magazine's "Exclusive Barbel Club" to encourage more people to target what is the largest of our indigenous species.

 

Tenth BirthdayTenth BirthdayTENTH BIRTHDAY, APRIL 2013, Issue 90
And here it is in your hands – our 90th issue and our Tenth Anniversary..! A print order of 30000 and totalling 116 pages, it follows our tried and tested editorial recipe in providing readers with technical bank angling expertise of the highest order as well as enough fishing entertainment for young and old alike. In the words of that legendary physical educationist, world champion Greco Roman wrestler and tuna angler of note, Tromp van Diggelen, it has truly been "A Worthwhile Journey" from those small beginnings a decade ago.
On behalf of all our staff and correspondents a sincere "thank you" to all our readers and advertisers for making it possible!

Enjoy!
Eugene Kruger
Editor in Chief.

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