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May 19, 2010

Long time SWS regional editor Chuck Garrison passes away at 66

He leaves behind some great fishing memories and a legacy of writing excellence

Chuck Garrison, magazine publisher, fishing writer, book author and long time Regional Editor for Salt Water Sportsman, passed away recently at the age of 66. 

He passed May 4 at his mountain home in Lake Arrowhead, California, following a massive heart attack the day after being released from the hospital.   According to his wife Midge, he wanted to be at home, where he spent his last night in his own bed with his trusted dog by his side. 

Garrison had been fixture in the Southern California saltwater fishing scene for decades, founding and editing South Coast Sportfishing magazine and penning more than 3,000 articles for publications such as Salt Water Sportsman, Sport Fishing, Western Outdoor News, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and many others.  He also authored several important fishing books, including Offshore Fishing Southern California and Baja, The Complete Guide to Long Range Fishing, and most recently Fish or Cut Bait, a 2007 biography of the late sportfishing legend Capt. Bill Poole.

Garrison's 40-plus-year career in fishing journalism included many years as Southern California Region Editor for Salt Water Sportsman, where he covered topics ranging from giant long-range tuna  to local bonito fishing aboard ½-day boats.  Even though he had multiple bypass surgery 25 years ago, he never let it slow him down from three things he loved: saltwater fishing, writing and taking photographs. 

I can say without exaggeration that I'm the journalist  I am today because of Chuck.  I certainly would not be a Salt Water Sportsman regional editor myself today without the lessons he taught over the years.

As my editor at SCS, he was never afraid to offer constructive criticism - or give a pat on the back for some well-done copy.   Either way, I always took what he said seriously.  I knew if I just listened and soaked it in, it would make me a better writer.   And Chuck never treated me any differently because I wasn't a "full-time" writer (my main source of income was and is in marketing).  He expected my best effort every time.   This not only improved my craft, it helped me understand and build good working relationships with other editors in my life.

I'll miss Chuck, so I'll honor him the best way I know how:  at the rail.

Chuck (left) and Midge with Bill and Ingrid Poole in 2007