A quick look in my local newsagents reveals around a dozen. I reckon that with the internet and regional magazines there are probably over thirty. That is around four hundred articles each month, something like FIVE MILLION words each year! Add to that catch reports, match reports, venue guides, editorial, and all the other bits and bobs and you could be forgiven for wondering how come we don't run out of material.

Fortunately, there are so many different aspects and opinions to this sport of ours that new ideas are continually coming to the fore. I am not suggesting for a moment that every article is full of new ideas, but with new anglers joining our ranks every day it is important to continue to provide a wealth of knowledge at all levels.

Many of us have had the urge to contribute to this huge wealth of angling literature at one time or another. Maybe you have had a run of big fish, a win in a big match, or you have a new invention that could benefit others? Whatever your motives there is no reason why you should not see your work in print. The only thing stopping you is you. So for all those budding writers out there here is a quick run down of how to give yourself the best chance of getting into print.

Most magazines rely on material that is contributed each month to fill their pages. Each magazine has a different editorial policy though, so the first piece of advice I would give any prospective writer is to look at the contents of the different magazines. If they have the same writers every issue then it is likely that most work is commissioned and they will be less interested in publishing work from new writers. Once you have a shortlist of magazines give the editor a ring and ask if he/she would be interested in what you have to say. Some will give you short shrift, but don't let this put you off. Deadlines make even the nicest people a bit touchy at times!

Whilst talking to the editor ask about the length of the article, do they require sub-headings, picture headings, a short biography of you to set the scene? Generally, the easier you make it for the editor, the better the chance of getting published.

Once you have found an editor who has expressed an interest in what you have to say it is time to sit down and write the thing. OK, so realistically you will probably have some idea of what you are going to say by this point and may even have written the article. Always bear in mind the format of the magazine and try to get into the habit if following this. Apart from that, I don't want to offer any advice on how you write, as it should be your style that comes through, not mine. Don't worry too much about your English, that is the editor's job. Try to type your material on a computer, as most word processing packages will pick up basic spelling and grammar mistakes. Save the material on disk and send this along with a paper copy of the article, as this will save a lot of time when it comes to publishing the article.

There are not many fishing magazines that do not use pictures to illustrate articles. In fact, of all the magazines that I have written for, this is the only one that doesn't! ( Only because you never send me any!! :) Ed. Ah, if only I could get my hands on a digital camera.

I normally look for around a dozen pictures to illustrate every piece of writing. A third of these will be standard catch shots, with different fish - there is nothing more embarrassing than having two different pictures of the same fish published in the same article! A third will be scene-setters, such as sun-sets, shots of people fishing and playing fish, anything with a bit of action. The final few will be a mixture of tackle close ups, baits and perhaps some under water fish shots. Not all these pictures will be used, but with colour printing and desk-top publishing being so easy now, every editor will appreciate a choice of pictures to cover an article.

Each slide is numbered and sent along with a caption describing what is going on. Again, type these caption up and save them to disk to make the editors job as easy as possible. Also ensure that you send a mixture of portrait and landscape slides to increase the options when it comes to laying out the magazine. I store my slides on a contact sheet and then sandwich them between cardboard to ensure that they survive the postal service. Incidentally, I always send material by recorded delivery to ensure that it gets to its destination safely.

Generally I use Fuji Sensia slide film for my photography, but do resort to print film when I am skint. Remember though, you are unlikely to get published without decent photographs, so, however good your article, you will need decent pictures to illustrate it. I personally find this difficult, as it does sometimes mean that I have to stop fishing and spend time taking specific photographs to illustrate articles. If you can though, getting into spending a few minutes to get those scene setting shots is worth the effort every time.

Something else that you might require are illustrations, particularly of rigs, but perhaps also maps, and fishery plans. Not all magazines will accept diagrams, so it is worth checking with them before spending hours devising new rigs. I use diagrams a lot though, as it is so much easier to just draw a rig than have to describe it in words. Now, I am amongst the worst artists that you could imagine, my old art teacher even confiscated my crayons for the good of humanity, but even I can scratch a simple annotated diagram that a proper artist can understand and work from.

The final piece of advice I can give you is not to give up. Obviously some magazines have a policy of commissioning their work, whilst others rely on what is sent to them. Most fall somewhere in-between. If you are going to send material then at times you will suffer rejection. My first articles were rejected before I was fortunate enough to get my first break. Stick at it, talk to the editor and eventually you will get published, happy typing!