Can ya feel it, fellow anglers? I know you can. Spring is just around the corner. By the time this edition reaches you just about all of us will be going half-nuts with cases of wintertime cabin fever that may get a bit worse for a while, but we hope will break sooner rather than later. As we count down the days to fishing sockless and in T-shirts, let’s all give a collective WOOHOO! in the knowledge of what’s to come. And in the meantime, this month in the Notes column I wanted to address something we’ve yet to talk about on the pages of FishTalk: the many shops, restaurants, stores, and businesses where you can pick up your free copy of this magazine. I’ve never expressed thanks to the hundreds of business owners—in more ordinary times, FishTalk can be found at 700 different distribution points—who allow us to place a magazine rack in their lobbies and doorways, or put a stack of magazines on their counters. Right now we may have to read FishTalk online, but as soon as we're free to move about the world once again, please stop in to your favorite distribution spot to make a purchase and pick up the latest issue. We're all in this together.

bob delivers magazines and catches fish
Thanks, Bob, for all you do! (And yeah, that includes going fishing).

And in the meantime, thank you, folks, for helping us get FishTalk into the hands of our readers. And thank you Lucy (our distribution manager), for juggling all the balls to ensure that an average of over 30,000 copies a month make it out to all the places that help make FishTalk available. Like they say on TV: But wait, there’s more! A thanks is also owed to our team of drivers, who physically carry bundle after bundle to each and every rack, pop off the binders, and neaten up the stacks. And I have to give a special call-out to Bob, naturally, since we fish together and I know darn well that if he wasn’t out delivering on any given day, he’d likely be on his 21’ Parker pulling a trolling spread down the Bay in search of stripers, blues, and Spanish mackerel.

We have only 12 Notes From the Cockpit columns a month, so this page and the words we put on it are dear to me. And I realize that at first, it might seem a bit strange for me to dedicate so much space to the magazine’s distribution, rather than using it for what we all like most—figuring out how to catch more, bigger fish. But truth be told, distribution is one of the biggest battles a publisher can face. Even after 30 years on the editorial side of the fence I had no idea just how daunting and difficult distribution could be until we started up FishTalk, and making sure it reached each and every one of you became a personal concern.

Just how big an endeavor distribution is, well, it’s something of a shocker. Routes have to be mapped out, and the number of magazines left at each different stop has to be constantly adjusted to maximize distribution but minimize waste. People sometimes place other publications in our racks either by accident or on purpose, and while we wish that people who noticed this would remove the foreign matter, the fact is that with the cover obscured most folks never even realize that there’s a new edition of FishTalk hidden back there waiting for them. Stores are sometimes closed when drivers make their delivery attempt, drivers get sick and need fill-ins who don’t know the ins and outs of a particular route, weather can be an issue—the list goes on and on.

Okay, so distributing magazines is a tough nut. We get it, but blah blah blah Rudow, we’re still wondering why you’d go on for so long about this… right? Here’s the simple fact: without all the people involved in this endeavor, we wouldn’t be able to bring you FishTalk in the first place. If we don’t get distribution right, you’d never even see the magazine. So we sincerely hope that once life returns to normal, the next you’re at your local tackle shop, grocery store, or wherever you may grab your copy, if the opportunity arises you’ll let the folks running the place know how happy you are to find it there. We hope you’ll neaten the stack if you see one that’s been knocked askew as you grab your latest edition. For the immediate moment, we hope you'll click on the cover image and read the latest issue online. And most of all, we hope that we can continue bringing you FishTalk for years to come, so we can all catch more, bigger fish.