This guide is derived from the widely praised and award-winning volume Ken Schultz's Fishing Encyclopedia. Weighing nearly 10 pounds and containing 1,916 pages of information in an 8.5- by 11-inch format, it is hardly a book that can be taken afield or casually perused.
Among the many virtues of the encyclopedia is its detailed information about prey and predator species worldwide, which many people—including numerous lure designers, scientific researchers, and anglers—find very valuable and which is available nowhere else. To make it easier for people interested in the major North American fish species to reference this subject matter, that portion of the encyclopedia was excerpted into two compact and portable guides, Ken Schultz's Field Guide to Freshwater Fish and Ken Schultz's Field Guide to Saltwater Fish.
These books are primarily intended for the angler, placing major emphasis on gamefish species (nearly 260) sought in the fresh- and saltwaters of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and on the prey species that most gamefish use for forage. Although many hundreds of species are included here, such compact books lack room for detailed information about many of the lesser species; however, they are well represented in the information that exists under certain groupings. For example, there are more than 300 species of "minnows" in North America, and much of what is said about them as a group in the freshwater guide pertains to the majority of individuals. Profiles are provided, nonetheless, of some of the more prominent members of this group.
The same is true for some larger, more well-known groups of fish, like sharks. There are at least 370 species of sharks worldwide and dozens in North America. The saltwater guide provides an overview of this group, as well as specific information about the most prominent North American members. And, of course, color illustrations help identify the individual species profiled.
There is a slight but deliberate content overlap in both books, as some species occur in both freshwater and saltwater. This is primarily true for anadromous fish like salmon, shad, and striped bass. However, a few saltwater species, such as snook, mullet, and ladyfish, are known to move into freshwater for part of their lives, even though they are not technically anadromous, and thus are also represented in both volumes. In this sense, certain species were included in both books for practical reasons, as opposed to purely scientific ones.
At the end of the book is a glossary that explains the terms used in the species profiles, and following this introduction are two chapters of information invaluable to anyone who desires to know more about fish in a broad general sense. The Overview and the Fish Anatomy chapters are written in layman's terms and provide concise information about fish that is useful to the angler, the naturalist, and even the aquarium hobbyist—all of whom share a passion and a concern for some of the most remarkable creatures on the planet.
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