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Breaking News: State of the Trout Message

leah kirk

How things are done and get done here are different than in most other places. For better or worse, we are very open and consider our readers as stakeholders. We have always communicated openly with you, and know quite a few of you quite well.

                Our mission is two-fold; providing readers with valuable content that is unavailable elsewhere while providing advertisers with the best, most affordable platform for reaching our highly specialized readership. We bring a very loyal readership to the table and are very selective in the advertisers permitted access to them.  We currently provide all popular internet platforms that allow the accurate tracking of traffic.

                April marks the 7th anniversary of our flagship title, Southern Trout. However, this month marks its beginning. Currently, STM has just over 40,000 subscribers that were all organically acquired. For a number of reasons, we have never had internet subscriber campaigns. The ultimate goal is 150K and we may achieve that through traditional means in the future, but for now, it has been all organic. Over its course, STM has had over 100 contributors. It has remained true to its credo; All-South, All Trout, All the Time. It has remained free, something that will not change.

                In regards to milestones, believe me, every issue we get out feels like a milestone achievement. Just making a deadline is an event we celebrate. Three or four times over the last seven years we have received deadly wounds that should have decked us, but by the grace of God, we emerged each time a little wiser and stronger. We sincerely believe that the hand of the Almighty guides our efforts. My gruffness, quickness to anger and hold a grudge at time belies my conviction in purpose. It’s difficult to explain it beyond that, so enough said, eh?

                2018 is seen is the year we will “break out” so to speak. For the first time, we have sales and editorial teams in place for all four publications. I cannot tell you how proud I am of their efforts and commitment.  I am as “hands off” as I can stand. Each is the skipper of their own ship, and despite my weakness for vendettas, I stand back. The direction is in their hands. I do try to keep everyone on more or less the same page, but the least meddling on my part, the better. I can tell you that you may see a few unexpected zigs and zags over the coming months, but they are all for the good.

                We had planned on launching a daily blog in December. As with every single projected launch here, we underestimated the time needed to accomplish it. Right now it is pushed up until mid-February. Likewise, we planned to launch Southern Spirit, in March. Our first venture in lifestyle publishing, its focus will be spirits of the South (craft breweries, moonshine making, microdistilleries and wine/vineyards). We are still shooting for March, but in reality, it is going to be more like June.

                Our lone major setback for last years was North American Bear Hunter. Since last summer it has been on life support. Editor Bill Vaznis has patiently waited while we straightened out the fishing titles. He has the patience of Job as his new book, “The Man with Seventeen Lives” reveals. The now is the right time for us to hitch the magazine partnered with a new television show on bear hunting that out of Canada. It is filming this spring/summer/fall for a release in January 2019. The plan is for the magazine to proceed it in early fall of this year.  I know that most of you don’t give a hoot in hell about bear hunting, but the bear is the number two NA big game animal. The time is right for us to move. Besides, as you probably know, my dear old grannie fell victim to a bear in the Smokies, so…

                Lastly, in three weeks we’ll be in Atlanta, Georgia at The Fly Fishing Show at the ST “Legends of the Fly” Hall of Hall induction ceremony. We will honor six outstanding, very deserving individuals will be recognized. Very nice to be able to do this.

                All this is shared one because we are proud of making something out of nothing with the good Lord to guide us. Also too, for better or worse we feel like many of you feel a part of it. To be perfectly honest about it, you have been. We’re completely committed to the task at hand, which is entertaining and informing better than anyone else.

                We’d love to hear what you think about it.