UK Magazine Websites

I am always amazed at the UK game angling paper magazines around the fact they have not embraced the internet.

There are only three main game angling magazines in the UK:

  1. Trout and Salmon
  2. Trout Fisherman
  3. Fly Fishing and Fly Tying

Who has a Site?

 “Trout & Salmon” pretty much concentrates on Salmon with a sprinkling of trout and its river system updates are now pretty pointless in this day and age of instant information via the net. Do you really want to know how your favourite river was fishing a month ago and what someones prediction will be for a month’s time (it is always great by the way- according to the magazine). They do not have a website!

“Trout Fisherman” deals mainly with rainbow trout in stocked ponds – I would be unkind to say the same old info is regurgitated year after year as they seem to spend some time on going after coarse fish now and again. Trout Fisherman magazine does not have a dedicated site however seem to be linked in some way to Go Fishing which states is powered by a few other magazines. A cop out – most of the info is geared towards coarse fishing!

Fly fishing &  Fly Tying” is pretty much the only mag I will pick up if needing something to flick through on a long journey or if sitting having a coffee waiting on my wife while at the shops. Of course it has been dealt a bit of a blow due to the leaving of Bob Wyatt  however it still gives you the goods regarding flies and nice stories. Sure it is littered with spelling mistakes (I am one to talk however I do not get paid) however it is the only magazine that seems to consistently come up with new material and every now and then there is always a fly that I quite fancy and want to tie. Unfortunately they make the biggest error when it comes to keeping and online presence – their website is bloody awful. I mean, it has everything a magazine website could want – a list of articles and a wee forum to get people to visit – however the articles have not changed in around a year and the forum is seldom visited – the whole site looks awful (it is set in frames) meaning that it is just not pleasing to the eye. The site is also littered with “page not found” error messages. I think the  magazine  could be onto a winner with a bit of effort – the site could even generate more ideas for articles for the magazine by directly asking people what they want, readers could submit articles, old articles from years gone by could be put on the site – yikes they could even ask you to take out a small subscription to access old articles.

Are USA Sites any Better?

Are you kidding? – just take a look at the Fly Fisherman magazine site – absolutely packed full of great info. They also have a vibrant community via their forums.

And of course the Fish and Fly site is as slick as you expect the magazine to be.

 End Result

I reckon the UK magazines need to up their game if they want to survive – how about a subscription service allowing the access to old articles. I don’t know why I give my idea away for free sometimes 😉


  1. mike · January 18, 2009

    Here here Alistair, a great post, and echoing my own thoughts (and I suspect those of quite a few others) exactly. I suppose there is an argument that goes something like ‘fishing represents a timeless activity, and the written word is a timeless way to communicate its wonders’. The point here being that they might say that many of their readers don’t care for new fangled things like the internet, and prefer to be, eh, ‘traditional’, and read a monthly magazine. The danger here of course, is what happens in 10 or 15 years when all the old codgers have kicked the bucket? 😉

  2. Alistair · January 18, 2009

    I hear ya Mike – I mean I know there is a market for paper based material – I cannot take my computer to the loo with me (to read) however I just think that they should maybe be looking to the future a bit more – whats worse is that they have kinda in a half hearted way.

    Maybe the UK mags dont see it is worth it due to the small readership over here – what they do not realise though is that they will then attract a lot more people over the Pond !

  3. Campbell S · January 18, 2009

    I agree with your comments also. It’s a shame that pretty much everything “new” in a UK fishing magazine has been plagerised from somewhere else. I remember after coming back here after an extended period overseas and finding an article about the “stimulator”, yawn. Or even worse that we (as a fishing community) are now waking up to small flies and the fact that they have to be called “micro”. Are they not just size 24 GRHE, chironomids, paraadams etc.

    What more would you expect from a country who has two choices of draft Guiness? (I’ll save that rant for another day)

    Saying that US mags, in general are just crammed with glossy pics for adverts and product with a few limited articles. Trout by trout unlimited is not a bad read from what I recall.

    Anyway, yes British mags are generally poor except FF&FT, which does have its moments of mediocrity, and the associated websites are a shambles.

  4. Simon · January 18, 2009

    Sentiments exactly,
    I never bothered with buying any of the the above mentioned titles and have sourced all my information from the net, especially over the last 7 years. fly-fishing Forums are the way forward and one can access all manner of information about places to fish,different techniques,tackle,fly-tying tutorials…..blah blah blah! And if you arn’t part of the these fishing forums in any way or form, you can, and will miss out on past and present developments in the sport. Also being able to interact with other like minded people gives you a feeling that you’re contrebuting to the sport in some small way as well. as you mentioned, magazines are always a month behind where as
    Blogs like this will always go from strength to strength because they are updated constantly.
    Top article Alistair

  5. Fishing Magazines · January 18, 2009

    There are over 8 fishing magazines in the UK and your right there are not really any established UK fishing magazine websites that release info like old articles and news. Cheers Malcolm

  6. suburban bushwacker · January 18, 2009

    No one under 55 has ever expressed an interest in fly fishing
    If I use the same well worn phrases to describe each new rod, reel, line or fly no one will notice
    As long as i can keep Orvis’s media buying agency sweet everything will be OK

    These comfortable assumptions have kept fly fishing magazines in their homeostasis, but the good news is their are some very charming barbarians at the gate with their masthead ‘not your fathers sport’ is doing something really different. try issues 4-5 with the story about fishing from new york city – better writing and better photography than anything the UK’s mags have done in, well ever.

    Drake magazine still publish a paper edition AND have an awesome online community where some very witty chaps post.

    An example from Drakes forum also neatly explains my feelings about fishing magazines- a dude writes in to ask just what the difference is between a $30 and $1000 rod. In the UK the answer would have been so boring as to be un-remember-able. On Drake’s forum
    ‘I’ll take pretty much any woman out to the car park, very few are worth taking home afterwards.’
    Nuf Sed


  7. Stuart B · January 18, 2009

    See what you think of this Quick glance at it shows some nice pics …

    ..someone on …which incidentally is getting a new server on Wednesday….sent me the link when I asked if anyone had seen which is on sale for $6.95 for the 2007 and 2008 issues ..Trouble is shipping is $30 ..eek!!!

  8. Alistair · January 18, 2009

    Yep Stuart – two more examples of the publishers beinh waaaaaay ahead of us. Interestingly the UK is in the top three readers of Catch Magazine!

  9. Roddy · January 18, 2009

    Hi Alastair,
    Akin to many magazines (and newspapers) much of their content is advertising, and at the end of the day, so to speak, its the financies that matter more than the actual editorial content. Trout and Salmon is a perfect and ongoing example of this, and as they are owned by the American EMAP company, which is profit driven, I doubt if there is likely to be any serious changes to its structure or content. Have you ever noticed that Trout and Salmon is aimed at the better off angler…the ones who have a small glass of Chardonney with their lunch and theres never a can of Tennents lager or a bag of chips anywhere near those most phogogenic of photos? Aw well thats cos this mag is not for us normal anglers e.g. the ones that have got to ask the price rather than just paying it.
    Regards other magazines…and it all depends on what your looking to get out of the mags that you buy but I generally want a good read and I’m a little fed-up, to say the least, with all these brand new pure dead brilliant patterns that generally (and this is my opinion) look nothing like any insect that I have ever seen. Naw, if you purely wish to read than I reckon the Waterlog is the best mag for the more cognitive angler as it covers a wide scope of angling; angling stories; some techniques and other matters. Incidentally I think its best that techniques etc are learned by the individual angler and not downloaded or copied from other folk…developing your own techniques is much more fun and rewarding.
    End of rant.

  10. Alistair · January 18, 2009

    I totally agree with everything you say Roddy although I do quite like seeing new flies – if it has not been for FFFT I would not be tying DHE or my too scruffy olive.

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