Field & Stream magazine, founded in 1895, has always aimed to be something of an outdoor generalist publication, with stories about bass fishing sprinkled intermittently throughout a buffet of features and tips dealing with other topics including hunting, conservation, survivalism and other gun-related issues.
The magazine has undergone several ownership and formatting changes over its 120 years of history, with the most recent sale occurring in 2007, when it was one of 18 magazines sold to the Bonnier Group, a Swedish entity.
While the space in F&S dedicated to bass fishing is necessarily limited by the scope of its mission, over the years the publication has featured the work of several bass-savvy writers and editors. Longtime fishing editor Ken Schultz wrote several general books, including a “Fishing Encyclopedia,” but in 2006 he also published “Bass Madness: Bigmouths, Big Money and Big Dreams at the Bassmaster Classic.” More recently, editor Joe Cermele has proven himself to be a fan of the bass game, and has enlisted the help of former Elite Series pro Dave Wolak to help him with “The Lateral Line,” a blog devoted to “tips, videos and other vibrations from the fishing world.”
While F&S has not advertised itself as anything but a generalist outdoors publication, over the years they have produced more targeted one-off publications aimed at specific segments of their readership. For example, the 1982 Bass Fishing special, pictured above, was a 100 page special featuring 18 bass-specific features. While there was one piece about stripers and two about live bait tactics, overall it was produced at a fairly high level. In many respects, it mirrors the Bassmaster magazine of that era, albeit with fewer short notes and more features. The writers included Mark Hicks and Steve Price, both of whom are still active in our world 33 years later, along with features by legendary pros Roland Martin, Bill Dance and Bobby Murray.
All of this came for the newsstand-ready price of $2,25. A subscription card inside promised 12 issues of F&S for $6.94 or 24 for $13.88. An insert from B.A.S.S. offered a one-year subscription to Bassmaster (eight issues), along with ahandbook, a pack of worms, a spinnerbait and a spool of original blue Stren, for 12 bucks. Of course there was also the $10 offer from Johnny Morris that Brian wrote about last week.
Overall, it was a pretty solid publication. Do any readers know if F&S had similar specials in other years? If so, we’d love to see them and hear your recollections about these annual specials.