John Gierach is, from what I can figure, just like you and me. Sure, he has the storyteller’s gift and uses it well in the cause of fly fishing, if that can be a cause, but I think he is just a regular guy. There are those who envy his prominence in the fishing story genre (he owns it) and others who figure he gets all those trips into the wild on the cuff (maybe) but that is no reason not to read this guy.
His latest is as good as all the rest. My declining recall prevents me from comparing one to the other, offering 5 stars for this one and 4 for another – I have read most of his books. When I read him, I feel like I am reading a letter from a friend about a trip with some updates on family and friends thrown in, some reflection and some grousing as well. He is real, which is why his books are so appealing to me.
From the title chapter, a confession: “I’m not one of those natural born fisherman – it didn’t come easily, and I’ve always had to work at it – but I do have my moments. I’ve been fly-fishing for over 40 years now, and even if I’m not the best wader, caster, fish spotter or flytier, I’ve learned to work well within my limitations, like a three legged dog that can still go for a nice, long walk.”
As you read, you kind of get to know him. We are about the same age so some of his observations really hit home. When he refers to middle age I can’t help but do the math and wonder, for a moment, what being 140 will be like. I recommend the book: A Fly Rod of Your Own, by John Gierach, 2017, (Simon & Schuster).
Fish On, Fish Off was featured in a previous post but it is worth repeating here, especially because Stephen Sautner is another regular guy sharing himself with us. The subtitle is The Misadventures and Odd Encounters of the Self-Taught Angler. His book, like Gierach’s, is a very good read, personal and informative. Life stories with fish involved. His gift, aside from being a journalist who loves the outdoors, is his subtle sense of humor. Buy it, you will not be sorry. Fish On, Fish Off by Stephen Sautner, 2016, (Lyons Press).
Rob is an entertainer. I have all of his books and often think of him as Sal, the lead character in his series of novels that bring me to the north woods of Maine, accompanied by a rich array of people, situations and, of course, fish. If you are looking for some entertainment with more to it than “me and Joe went fishing” give his books a try. The latest is Brook Trout Blues, but don’t miss the others. Brook Trout Blues, a new novel in the Rangeley series by Robert J. Romano Jr., 2015, (Birch Brook Press).
Fishing stories are the topic and I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you of my series, Letters to Mack: 3 books that take you fishing with me in cold mountain streams across the country, and saltwater meccas from Montauk to the Florida Keys: Steelhead and Salmon, Tarpon and Blues, Striped Bass and Trout. You will meet my friends and family, fish my home waters, and get a taste of my life. Click here for more information.
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