Has anyone read any good fly fishing books lately?
Last year I read Astream (an anthology that I really enjoyed) and Headwaters, by Dylan Tomine (which I wouldn’t recommend). I’m currently reading Chris Dombrowski’s new book The River You Touch, which is more memoir than fishing book.
I’m always on the lookout for something new and good.
I just felt about halfway through that I kept reading slightly different versions of the same story. I swear there are at least three stories where he caught “the biggest steelhead I’ve ever seen”. I realize that most (all?) of the stories had been previously published in various places but it was just too much or the same stuff over and over for me to recommend.
The most recent fishing related book I read was The Nature of Fly Fishing by Paul Gaskell. It was enjoyable. I appreciate his level of nerd-dom and I enjoy the deep dives into the topics he covers. Current book im in the middle of and really enjoying is An Island to Oneself by Tom Neale. Its Toms true story of the 16 years (in 3 segments) he lived as soul inhabitant of a remote island in the Cook islands. He was 50 years old when he began his journey and it took place mostly in the 1950’s. I really enjoy these types of stories in a time where I feel my days are spent plotting and planning small moments of solitude. These characters like Tom and Dick Proennecky from Alaska (book: One Mans Wilderness) are just interesting to me. I respect there ability to just go there own way.
I have my nose in several books at a time. Andrew Marshall’s ‘The History and Evolution of the Trout Fly - Part 1’ is probably the best of the bunch. Lots of really old flies and all of them tied in hand. Amazing.
I’m reading Dave Hughes “Trout from Small Streams” AND “Reading Trout Water” for the second time. His notes about different kinds of water and where trout like to hold in small water always has a few tidbits to consider and learn from. Of course his chapters on casting traditional flies have to be “translated” into Tenkara-ese. Tenkara is always so much simpler.
I just started “The Stranger in the Woods” by Michael Finkel and it is amazing. The true story of the “Last true hermit”. Story about a guy in Maine who walked into the woods in 1986 and had no human contact for 27 years. Really interesting story!!
I got turned on to McGuane 40 some odd years ago, when I read “The Heart of the Game” in Outside magazine back when it was great. I then went on to read a few more of his novels (92 in the Shade etc…) So, the “The Longest Silence” was delivered just today, due totally to another “What are you reading” type thread on the Spey Pages. Looking forward to revisiting McGuane again.
The only book by Gierach I’ve read, is his book on bamboo. It was wasted on me.
I’ve started on Paul Gaskell’s Nature of Fly Fishing, and right away was struck by new to me insights into evolutionary pressure on individual fish. I should re-read “The Red Queen” after finishing up Nature of Fly Fishing.
A book I’m reading for the second time is ‘Trout Hunting The Pursuit of Happiness’ 2004 by Bob Wyatt. This book is more about the nature of the experience of fly fishing. The mind scape he resides in. The triggers of a rudimentary brained predator. He embraces the unpredictable beyond presentation, fly shape and size. A line on the books dust cover; ‘If it was only about catching fish the fly fishing tradition probably wouldn’t exist.’
The first quote oposite the title page is attributed to Jose Ortega y Gasset from ‘Meditations on Hunting’ 1942. ‘ Happiness is a life dedicated to occupations for which that individual feels a singular vocation. Immersed in them, he misses nothing; For that reason we want them never to end……And really, once absorbed in a pleasurable occupation, we catch a starry glimpse of eternity.’