A lot of folks like to settle in on a cold winter's evening and pull out their favorite magazine for a good read. Although there are tons of fishing magazines out there, and many that have come and gone, some are better than others. Some of the best articles I have ever read are from small, obscure publications.
And with the advent of digital online magazines, there is more out there to check out than ever.
Let's review a few for the winter season's readings.
Game & Fish
These guys have been around since the 1980s and are unique in that this magazine — or magazines — publishes multiple issues specific to many different states throughout the country.
There is a Pennsylvania issue, a mid-Atlantic issue, a North Carolina version, and so on, each with specific "where-to" articles about that particular state.
That's the good news about G&F. But one of my gripes with the periodicals is that their annual "hotspots" issues tend to proclaim yesterday's, or yesteryear's, news on the current hot bites in that state or region.
Research current fishing opportunities carefully before you make a long trip to a water that is living off of a reputation.
Still, I'll grab an occasional copy of G&F at the stand for a specific article after a leaf through.
Field & Stream
This is one of the oldest and still popular national publications out there. I
like some of the current format, especially the featured stories on a hunting or fishing adventure to specific areas throughout the land that are often overlooked by the masses, but still provide flair, local charm and great fishing. That's nice.
But some of the annual features, such as "50 greatest places to fish in the U.S." give just a sentence to tempt you.
I'd rather see a "Five best" feature with more meat. On the plus side, funnyman Bill Heavey is a riot on the back page.
If you are looking for a slick that has more how-to and where-to info than any other fishing magazine on today's market, then this is for you. They have been around since the early 1970s on a national scale and, yes, back then the issues were huge and well over 200 pages.
But with everything in the world as it is, they now publish seven issues a year along with separate publications that specifically focus on bass, pike/musky, catfish and walleye. Their staff of expert writers and editors are fishermen first, writers second. And I like that.
They also have a dynamite cable TV show that has survived more than two decades. The only drawbacks are that some material could be a little over our heads and, well, I'd like to see more issues.
This is an online magazine published by Andrew Ragas of the same website. Ragas is an outstanding media productions man and graduated from Loyola University in that major.
His photography is stunning and the multi-species presentations are broad. Ragas has a stable of young writers who are highly skilled anglers and fish for everything.
Where-to and how-to are heavy in these issues and some stories are just pleasant reflections and pictorials of this great sport of fishing. I strongly urge you to check this one out at http://www.fishing-headquarters.com.
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Jim Gronaw is a freelance outdoor writer from Westminster. His column appears in the Advocate on the first and third Wednesday of the month.