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Fishing Magazines

Blog by: Lloyd Tackitt , Texas 12/31/2013

I used to subscribe to several magazines, Sports Afield, Outdoor Life, Field and Stream...but I haven't in years.  I loved Pat MacManus and Ed Zern - okay I'm dating myself, but those two guys alone were worth the price of admission to the magazines they wrote for. 

When I was younger and read these magazines I read them cover to cover.  There was something fantastical about them, reading about great hunting and fishing adventures that took place nearby and sometimes in far off exotic locations.  I learned quite a lot about techniques and even about attitude.  Many of the articles back then were based on the philosophy of fair chase and out doors ethics.  Conservation was also written about often.

But the magazines seemed to change over time and became something less than what they had been.  I think a lot of that was due to the older writers retiring.  The writing seemed to move towards the kind of stories that promoted spending tons of money on exotic guided hunts, or fishing for trout in New Zealand.  They also seemed to be at least half advertising for one exclusive lodge or another.   They focus a lot on specific techniques for specific quarry, but often the quarry was Peacock Bass in South America or Chukar in Afghanistan, or something just as out of the world that I am not likely to do.  Or so it seems to me. 

I stopped subscribing and began picking up individual magazines on occasion at the grocery store.  Eventually I stopped doing even that.  Recently I subscribed to Garden&Gun.  A couple of articles sent to me by a friend had gotten me interested.  But when I began getting the actual magazines I was sorely disappointed by the overtly elitist nature of the articles. I have a low tolerance for bull shit of that kind.  I haven't subsribed to a magazine since.  I haven't purchased an individual copy of a magazine in years now.

Maybe they didn't change, maybe I did.  Either way I find myself with no interest in them where before I couldn't wait for the next issue to arrive.  Possibly it's because there is so much content on the internet, content that I can search for based on something that has piqued my interest.  Now I read articles that have a specific interest for me, a specific fishing technique for instance, or a specific place.  That's probably a large part of it too - I can read articles that I searched for with key words.  Of course there's a lot of dreck out there in internet land too, a lot of it.  But it doesn't take long to skim an article and determine if it is going to answer my question or not, and if not quickly move on to the next one.

Do any of you take magazine subscriptions?  If so, which ones - and more importantly what is it about them that makes them attractive to you?

Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
Blog Comments
Coyute, CO   12/31/2013 9:48:25 AM
Bassmaster has become a joke and has been for awhile. If being a member of BASS wasn't a requirement for my fishing club, I wouldn't bother. Field and Stream should be renamed to Whitetail magazine. Bill Heavy on the back-page of F&S used to be good but I don't get as much out of it as I used to. I still get Pointing Dog Journal. The guy on the back page (Spaulding Hoffhacker) is hilarious and some of their other writers are very good. One magazine that I truly enjoy for the literary content is Sporting Classics but it has an elitist vibe to it. Some of the writers are very good however. Anymore, just like most hunting and fishing shows on TV, the magazines are just a long crappy commercial plugging the same junk. I also look to the internet for information. You have to weed through a lot of crap to find a gem but there are some good writers out there who are more interested in conversation, sharing ideas and conservation than they are being sponsor pimps. I always enjoy this column.
Bassackwards, CO   12/31/2013 10:03:00 AM
Good read Lloyd. I have to agree. I still get Bassmaster, and In-Fisherman, and I feel that In-Fisherman is still the most insightful magazine out there. I too look at a lot of internet stuff. great thing about that is, if I feel I'm wasting my time I just "click" somewhere else. Maybe it's because you paid for the magazine that you feel obligated to read it. I don't know. I was watching WFN on tv when I had it, and admittedly there are a few good shows, but a lot of them are infomercials to far off lands. Not my cup of tea. I do enjoy fishful thinker television (not a plug for Chad, but he does deserve an honorable mention), and he is a Great guy. He gives you the where , the what , and the how. I think he gives us all the chance to believe we can catch fish in Colorado. That's the info we all look for. The best way to learn is to experince...even if you fail miserably, you still learnt something.
Fishneveryweek, CO   12/31/2013 11:46:05 AM
I agree 100%. I am not aware of any fishing magazine with quality information related to CO. We used to have Fishing and Hunting News until they went belly up. Field and Stream and Outdoor Life are all hunting and adds - going for mister deep pockets macho hunter. I am not familiar with In-fisherman. I'll have to check it out on the Web, since I have never seen one on the magazine racks. If you are in northern CA, there are a couple good weekly and biweekly newspapers: The Fish Sniffer and Western Outdoor News. They are packed with good local stuff.
ADub TT, CO   12/31/2013 2:04:17 PM
Being a CO native, Colorado Outdoors is my only paid subscription, couple decades now. Sometimes gets a bad rap on forums, not really sure why?? Annual photography issue is a must have. IMO fantastic job by CPW and all involved with publishing! A-Dub
Flyrodn, CO   1/1/2014 8:24:38 AM
Over the years I've subscribed to several magazines, and continue to do so. I've always preferred issues that provided information on tactics, biology, insights, etc. Never been too fond of "Ma, look what I did" articles. It's great they caught a nice fish, but I want knowledge so I can catch fish also. Today, I get Bassmasters, In-Fishermen, Trout(TU), and American Angler. I don't buy fly tying magazines regularly, as they are mostly a rehash, there is little new. Anyway, I do feel it's worth checking out the newsstand on a regular basis, every once in a while there's a good article. And I'm always checking out the new and old book collections for gems. I take my knowledge where ever I can find it.
NoNick, CO   1/1/2014 12:56:36 PM
Great article, and I totally agree. I have 30 year old F&S mags that I inherited that I won't throw out, yet I have newer stuff that gets one read and recycled. Too many ads, and too much stuff geared toward the not every-man. As an automotive enthusiast, the same thing has happened to some car mags as well. Nothing but ads for high dollar stuff or some miracle pill to know. FWIW, check out your local library. They just may have programs where you can download current mags to your tablet, PC, or phone. Kind of a nice way to get what you want article wise without having to pay for the rest.
pikeNcolorado, CO   1/1/2014 1:41:15 PM
I have a F and S cover that I wrap around my playboy mags so my wife doesn't get mad. HA HA HA. jk In all seriousness, the internet is changing the world. It is so easy to just click instantly instead of waiting for the next article the next month. Fising websites such as FXR make it to where you can get what ever you want when you want. I'm young at 33, (tomorrow actually) and that's the new way of life. The people my age and younger don't really take the time to sort through a magazine. Again, what you want and when you want it. I honestly think magazines will be a thing of the past over the next decade. It will all be digital.
TigerHunter, CO   1/1/2014 8:19:41 PM
I'm the same way Lloyd... I used to love reading magazines overtime and getting a sense of who the writer was, what he stood for, his sense of humor, etc... Now it's articles covering the best fisheries in the world, with the best equipment available. It's cool from time to time, but not cool enough to want to have every issue. The last article I read in a magazine that really moved me was in the back pages of F&S years ago. It was about a man and his hunting dog that he had to put down... Brought me to tears. If our kids growing up believe fishing is about fast boats and new lures they're missing the point. Sometimes I think most everyone in the fishing industry is missing the point. Note I said most not all.
oley, CO   1/1/2014 11:35:51 PM
Ed Zern and Pat McManus - great, great reads, both of them. And I have all of Pat's books and read them quite often too (both me and the Mrs). Laugh out loud funny. As for the magazines today, way too many of the articles are geared toward comparisons of the latest greatest equipment which many of us cannot afford let alone want to read about. Much of my hunting and fishing gear is old yet serviceable through loving care over the years. I do not care to read about the new equipment much less compare one against the other. Other articles, as you have stated, are concerning other countries and fish/animals that we old timers have read and heard about for years. Maybe for the 1%ers and for the younguns, reading these articles is interesting. I'm afraid that Lloyd, you and I, are getting to that age where we are more comfortable staying close to home and looking for interesting reads about the local waters and fields. We are wanting quality over quantity which is perfectly understandable and I think, perfectly normal. And I am pretty sure that we, once we stop thinking about these things, are going to be looking at the roots of trees rather than the leaves blowing in the wind...
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   1/2/2014 7:53:20 AM
Spot on Oley! Spot on!
jibber, CO   1/3/2014 8:45:10 AM
I still take a few magazines. Most notably, Southwest Fly Fishing. Covering the Southwest from Texas to California, they have written about many undiscovered fishing destinations located in areas I would never think to look. Southern Utah for example. I also have a couple of writers I follow in magazines John Gierach and Dave Hughes. I always look forward to their articles.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   1/3/2014 9:51:53 AM
I subscribed to Southwest Fly Fishing this morning. Now I have something to look forward to in the mail - be a nice change from bills. I'm a big fan of John Gierarch's books, didn't know he writes magazine articles though I should have guessed it. Which magazines does he write for?
jibber, CO   1/4/2014 8:51:47 AM
Lloyd --- John Gierach writes a column entitled "Sporting Life" for Fly Rod & Reel magazine. His column is on the last page of every issue.