Balancing the Books
W e’ve been publishing books for almost twenty of our thirty-three-year history. Starting in 1998, the Texas Fish & Game library has grown to include 15 published titles, balanced between fishing and hunting. All but one of them are still in print and available.
It all began inauspicously with a freak accident in which Larry Bozka, our editor at the time, broke his hip. For a couple of years, we had been throwing around the idea of Larry writing a saltwater how-to. But with him trekking all over Texas shooting photos and living the life of a true gonzo outdoors journalist, he just couldn’t find the time to sit down and compose the thing. But once his hip snapped, thanks to a slippery service station “welcome” mat, he was laid up on his couch for three months and suddenly had the time.
The result was “Saltwater Strategies: How, When and Where to Fish the Western Gulf Coast.” Getting the book written, laid out, and off the press while also publishing monthly magazine issues was certainly a challenge. But that was just the start. Then, we had to figure out how to sell the thing.
Fortunately, we were based in Texas where another homegrown outdoor industry icon, Academy Sports + Outdoors, was setting the retail business on fire. Once Academy recognized the value in our focus on Texas-oriented topics and began stocking our first title, the TF&G Library was born.
Our next project was Reavis Wortham’s “Doreen’s 24-Hour Eat Gas Now” based on characters from his monthly Fish & Game columns. We followed that with our second entry in the Saltwater Strategies series, Chester Moore’s “Flounder Fever.” Other titles in that series followed, including Chester’s “Texas Trout Tactics,” his “Texas Reds,” Pat Murray’s “No Nonsense Guide to Coastal Fishing,” and Bink Grimes’s “Wadefish Texas.”
Regular contributor Greg Berlocher penned two titles for our library, his wonderfully illustrated “Saltwater Classics: Fly Patterns for the Texas Coast,” and “Kayak Texas.” On the freshwater side, contributing editor Doug Pike applied his considerable talents to the writing of “Freshwater Strategies.”
For hunters, our firearms editor Steve LaMascus and the late Greg Rodriguez teamed up on “The Texas Deer Book,” and Chester switched gears from rod to gun to write “Texas Waterfowl” and “Hog Wild.” Several years ago, we added “The Texas Gun Owners Guide” to our shooting library.
Last year, we published a second kayak book, “101 Kayak Launching Sites,” by Paul Batchelder and we have another book from Paul coming off the press this summer. For southeast Texas anglers, it is titled “Where Can I Fish.”
Also later this year, hunting editor Lou Marullo will debut with “Nuts and Bolts Bowhunting: From the Practical to the Practically Impossible.”
All but the first book are still in print and are available in more than sixty Academy stores (and counting) and in all three of Houston’s Fishing Tackle Unlimited stores. They are also available in many local tackle retailers and book stores, and online at FishandGameGear.com. Give ‘em a read.