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January 27, 2012

Editorial Guidelines and Policies

Guidelines and suggestions for manuscript contributions to Sport Fishing

Sport Fishing is geared to serious saltwater fishing around North America and at times beyond. That means bluewater and reefs; nearshore (inlets and off beaches) and inshore (bays, flats and backcountry). We publish nine regular issues per year (monthly January-June; bimonthly July-December). Our readers: several-hundred thousand (over 120,000 paid circ. nationally) are generally well-educated and quite affluent. Nearly all are mature men who own boats, often both a large offshore boat and skiff as well.

Editorial Content
Material in Sport Fishing should provide useful information about saltwater fishing which is (1) new/fresh/different; (2) specific/in-depth and (3) accurate. Concepts behind all queries should meet these criteria. Please don't submit an idea that has been written about by us and/or similar publications. FIND A FRESH IDEA OR A FRESH ANGLE TO AN OLD IDEA; like most publications, we too are looking for subjects that will have our readers saying, "I never knew that!" Examples of material that could be of interest: a new, effective technique for a species or type of fishing that has wide applicability; an area recently opened up to sport fishing; or a new look at conservation concerns regarding a particular fishery or species/group. As with any magazine, our very specific needs are best understood by studying recent issues.

We strive for a mix of genres including fishing how-to, where-to, science and conservation — but are particularly enthusiastic about solid how-to features. Remember that our readers are not beginners; they're seeking to advance their knowledge, not rehash basic saltwater fishing. We cannot use material related to pier/jetty/surf fishing; a boat must be involved if an idea is to work for Sport Fishing.

Sport Fishing's only non-staff-written department is Game Plan, which is authored each issue by a professional fishing guide, charter skipper, deckhand or other industry pro. We're always interested in hearing great ideas from such pros with expertise in a particular area they'd care to share (and be recognized in an "About the Expert" sidebar for their contributions). Text runs 700 to 800 words; payment is $250.

Queries and Submissions
We'll look at over-the-transom submissions, but your efforts are much more likely to bear fruit if you query us first. Please submit an e-mail to We will pass queries to the appropriate editor. Laundry-list, written queries are a welcome initial step and should be sent in April or May. Normally we will contact prospective authors during the summer, once the following year's editorial is tentatively scheduled.

If a query warrants a speculative submission, then communication between editor and writer becomes the key to making things work. An editor will send a feature proposal to reiterate exactly what we expect in terms of substance, slant, style, length, sidebars, maps/charts and of course deadlines and request a response. Most Sport Fishing editors request some sort of outline from the writer. Generally, this step is an invaluable way to (1) make sure the writer doesn't waste his/her time on something not right for us and (2) in general maintain close communication between writer and editor to make sure what the writer thinks the editor wants is in fact what the editor really wants. Often the outline may need some revision, so when the writer actually begins writing the feature he'll be on the right track. Finally, if questions develop as you work, drop the editor an e-mail or call to discuss it. We welcome the opportunity to work with new/unestablished writers who know their stuff — and how to say it.

Submitting Features/Departments
Longer features run 1,700 to 2,200 words, including sidebars. Shorter features run 350 to 1,200 words. The assigning editor will specify feature length. Please try to keep the length of your features within the range requested — avoid submitting rambling 8,000-word manuscripts. If extensive rewriting is necessary, we like to work with the writer to resubmit the feature to meet our needs. However, again, writer-editor communication before and during the time the feature's written should minimize the chances of major rewrites.

Format for Submissions
Please e-mail your text as Word, ASCII or text files. Of course you need to make sure your header contains your address (email, post); phone and social security numbers. Send maps, illustrations, charts/diagrams as well as photos separately.

Upon assignment acceptance, you will be contracted by our managing editor Stephanie Pancratz ( Payment is initiated once the manuscript has been reviewed for acceptability. Features are submitted on speculation. For longer features (as described under Submitting Features/Departments), we pay $750. For shorter features, we pay $150 per approx. 350 words (an average published page). Please keep in mind that Sport Fishing pays over/above for images (contributors who have great photos for their manuscripts can earn up to $1,500 per longer feature). See our photo guidelines for a complete rate schedule. We normally secure All Rights contracts.