The First In-Fisherman Magazine

This is it, the first In' Fisherman magazine ever published in 1975.

This is it, the first In’ Fisherman magazine ever published in 1975.

One of the most recognized names in the fishing magazine business is In-Fisherman. Despite being a multi-species publication, there’s a good chance you probably either subscribed to or purchased the magazine at one time or another, even if you were a hardcore ‘bassin only’ kind of guy, primarily because Al and Ron Lindner, the founders of the magazine, were at the cutting edge of science, baits, and fishing tactics. They simply published some of the best material to ever be put in print, and they did it well ahead of most every other publication out there.

I recently added the first published copy of the In-Fisherman magazine to my ever growing library, and thought I’d take a moment to share it with those readers who perhaps have not seen it. The magazine got its start in 1975, and this Segment 1, Study Report 1 was 44 pages, all done in black, gray, and shades of orange. Al Lindner graced the cover holding up a pair of big walleye.

Inside the pages, and as you would expect of a first issue, the topics include all the basics that formed their infamous F+L+P=S formula to fish catching. An explanation of what an “IN’ FISHERMAN” is, another story describing how everything came about, and then a series of articles detailing all the specifics of the system including ‘FISH’, ‘LOCATION’, ‘PRESENTATION’, the IN’FISHERMAN Calendar and their ‘Body of Water Classification’ – classic stuff that’s covered in most every book they’ve put out since.

Reading through the pages, a few interesting things caught my eye, such as this statement by Al:

” The IN’ FISHERMAN lays it on the line. Since we have no ties to advertisers or manufacturers, we are free to honestly and objectively “call a spade a spade” in product evaluations. WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY ADVERTISING (their bold).”

Sure enough, a skim through the pages finds not a single ad in the entire magazine. You won’t ever find that anywhere else again, I imagine. Perhaps not surprisingly, that position didn’t stand by the end of the first year, something I’ll follow up on in a later post.

A presumed Al Lindner down in the proposed observation tower taking notes.

A couple other “off the wall” things that caught my eye in this first issue.

  • One of the aggressive concepts that they mention is a plan that was coming together to complete the IN’ FISHERMAN Underwater Observation Tower. This was supposed to be a 30′ by 5′ reinforced fiberglass cyclinder that could be towed to an area on a lake, and once positioned, an observer inside the tube could watch the behavior and movement of gamefish in their natural habitat on ‘wild’ waters through bubble shaped plexiglass windows.
  • Most people are aware of the television, radio, and personal appearances made by staff over the years in support of the magazine and it’s concepts. What you might not realize is they also planned to start a syndicated cartoon series entitled “The Agony and Ecstasy of Angling.” It was supposed to appear in both magazines and newspapers, and while being light hearted as cartoons usually are, it was also going to teach “concrete fishing and safety lessons.”
  • Jeff Hahn

    I think I am only missing 4-6 early issues of In-Fisherman in my entire collection…I got in just late enough that these few issues were no longer in print. Dang, I’d like to have the one’s that I am missing.

    • That’s pretty impressive Jeff. I subscribed to them for years but for some reason I didn’t keep them like I kept my Bassmasters and Western Bass magazines. I had full years of them from 1974 to 1990 and then my mom threw them out. It’s been a pain trying to get them all again.

    • G-Man

      I have complete sets of the first two years; 1975 and 1976. Anyone have an idea of what they may be worth?

      • Brian

        G-Man; Always hard to say what something like that is worth, but what I can tell you is that individual issues from that time period can be found on eBay for $10 each. However, you sometimes find bulk sales at a discount. For example, I bought the first years entire set (9 issues) for $53 plus shipping, or about $6-$7 apiece.


  • Can you believe I loaned out the first 4 years of In-Fish and never saw them again?

    • Rich, that sucks.

  • Mike Parks

    I have a complete collection. The only extra early copy I had, I sent to
    Doug Stange to complete his collection.
    The In-Fisherman crew sure raised the bar for the fishing media.

    • That’s cool Mike. If you ever get to a stage in life you want to get rid of them, please let me know.

  • Mike Parks

    Terry, I’ll keep that in mind. From time to time, I think of what I want done when I
    pass. The wife has no clue to the value there. Just magazines to her. I thought
    about sending them to Al to give back for all that he has done for us. Ron and
    Doug have complete sets. The way life is anymore (Boston Marathon), I better
    get it written down before to long. I just want someone that will appreciate them.

    • Mike, I really appreciate the consideration. You’re right, they’re worth a lot to the community as a whole.

      Thanks again!