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THE INSIDE TRACK | THE HOT CORNER

December 31, 1998|PETE THOMAS

What: Fish Taco Chronicles

Where: Selected tackle shops (free) or by subscription ($10 per year) by calling (714) 899-0733

It's difficult to take a magazine seriously when its editor is also listed on the masthead as "Chairman of the Bored." But who knows, this might just be another typographical error. The magazine is full of them. In one issue, the title on the cover read, "Fish Taco Chronicals" and that wasn't done on purpose.

Seriously, though, the Orange County-based quarterly is fun to pick up and flip through, in part because of the laid-back attitude of its staff. You never know what you'll find inside. It's a fishing magazine, yet there have been stories on golf and skiing. Fish Taco, you see, isn't picky. It'll accept just about anything to fill its pages before deadline.

Despite its title, however, there are never stories on food. Check that. The staff once ran a caption under a photo of a pelican that read, simply, "Mexican chicken." The Mexican tourism board took exception and finally accepted an apology from publisher Shawn Arnold, who explained that the Mexican skipper of the boat Arnold was fishing on was the one who made this joke while pointing to the pelican in the photo, so Arnold ran with it.

He recently wrote about another Baja adventure: His first panga-fishing trip to Cabo San Lucas. The skipper kept telling Arnold how many "yaks" there were in the near-shore waters and Arnold wrote about wondering what the heck yaks were until he reeled one in and discovered it was a jack.

You guessed it: Fish Taco Chronicles is not the most politically correct magazine out there. Arnold and Leonard Davenport (Chairman of the Bored) started the magazine about a year ago as both a hobby and a way to get free fishing trips by promising to write about them, which is how free-lance outdoor writers have been operating for years.

But now they're begging to take it a little more seriously. The quality of the content is slowly improving. It's getting more difficult to find errors, and advertisers are beginning to stay aboard.

Someday it might even be like all the other fishing magazines, but what fun would that be?

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