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CrepuscularJanuary 30th, 2013, 10:48 pm
Boiling Springs, PA

Posts: 919
Ok, since it was terrible weather here today, it got me thinking about angling literature. So if y'all get a chance, how about posting your favorite fly fishing books. And I was thinking more along the lines of literature and not how-to books. I realize that there are some that cross back and forth over that line, but you know what I mean.

Eric
OldredbarnJanuary 30th, 2013, 11:47 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
1) Nick Lyons edited a great collection of short stories called, "Fisherman's Bounty". I think it came out in 1970. Ernie's, "Memories of Michigan" is in there. Yes I know I'm a Michigan man...:) Inside this collection, besides Ernie, Izaak Walton, Charles Cotton,Art Flick, Washington Irving, Vinny Marinaro's, "The Hidden Hatch", Ernest Hemingway, G.E.M. Skues, Anton Chekhov, Sparse Grey Hackle, John Taintor Foote, Herman Melville, Ed Zern, Robert Traver's best ever story, "The Intruder", etc, etc...Great collection!

All about fishing.

2 & 3) "Trout Madness" & "Trout Magic"...Again Michigan, but probably some of the funniest writings about our obsession ever.

4) "Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled Flies" by Syl Nemes.

5) Ernies' "The Complete Schwiebert"...My all time fave, "A Portrait of the Pere Marquette"...I cannot tell you how many times I've read this story...At least once a year, Eric, usually just before opening day.

This collection has Gonzo's favorite Ernie, "Homage to Henryville"...

How about "Legend of the Letort"? and Spence's..."Undestanding the Pseudocloeons"..."Understanding the Iswaeon"...Just don't cut it! :)

6) I would write down Datus Proper's, "What the Trout Said", but it is full of so many subtle secrets that I just don't want anyone else to know. :)

7) Not really an angling book, but, Hazen Miller's, "The Old Au Sable"...Unfortunately out of print, but the Angler's of the Au Sable have purchased the rights to it and are planning to add chapters to bring it up to date...Or so I'm told.

How's that?

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanJanuary 31st, 2013, 3:51 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hmmm... Kinda tough! Well, I'm going to exclude foreign books and those where fly fishing is used as a backdrop or literary device as I've never read many of them, including the famous one about shadow casting made into a movie. For some strange reason they've never interested me much. The one about a question mark bored me so bad after the first few pages that I put it back in the rack. I am years past an interest in teen angst and if I'm going to read about philosophy, I prefer a writer that knows a little something about the subject. It was made into a horrible movie that some say doesn't do it justice. I feel it got what it deserved. I did find the beautiful blonde in her birthday suit diving off a rock to chase a steelhead interesting - purely from a technique standpoint of course... But I digress.:)

1(tied). Robert Traver, Trout Madness - captures the heart & soul of our pursuit with wit and charm.

1(tied). Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman - a play on the title of his best-selling novel, is more of the same but with great photos from a legendary Life photographer to match his words.

1(tied). Ernest Schwiebert, Remembrances of Rivers Past - nobody puts you there like Ernie and this collection of short stories brings the reader back to a golden era, yet remains surprisingly fresh. They are full of nostalgia yet lack that sense of melancholy that haunts his later writings. The Au Sable's in this one, Spence.

4. Ernest Schwiebert, Trout - from hooks carved out of bone to the dawn of the graphite revolution and covering every great tackle maker and angling personality in between, this grand opus two volume set has it all. Ok, its got more "how to's" in it than the public library as well, but there are also so many anecdotes and great stories that I couldn't leave it off the list. His Nymphs (both orig. and revised) I'd sneak into this slot as well. I just skip the how to's and the arcane realm of his undecipherable bug descriptions. Scientific jargon is tough enough, but when you start blending in architectural terms like buttresses and cornices and artist's color definitions like a subtle shade of Peruvian ocher...:)

5. Roderick Haig-Brown, A River Never Sleeps - magnificent. If any angling writer produces true literature, this is the guy. If he weren't writing about quasi-foreign Western Canada, he'd be at the top of the list.

6. Roderick Haig-Brown, Fisherman's Spring - ditto above comments. This is really a series of four books covering the seasons that are all very much worth the read.

7. Charles Fox, This Wonderful World of Trout - Marinaro may have been the alchemist, but this guy was the story teller.

8. Sparse Gray Hackle, Fishless Days, Angling Nights - an old'n, but a good'n. Hilarious in spots, but always witty.

9. Trey Combs, Steelhead Fly Fishing - though it contains how to's about flies, tackle & technique, it's really more of a series of short stories based on the famous steelhead anglers and the rivers that made them famous. Written in a style akin to Schwiebert (though some would say less pretentious), it is a joy to read and on the "must list" for serious steelheaders.

10. Gary LaFontaine, Fishing the Mountain lakes - this book really surprised me. When I first picked it up, I figured it would be another entomology based "how to" book. It very much isn't. It's actually a collection of stories that happened to involve the high country. While having its share of fishing advice and opinion, it is also full of charm and humor. He was an iconoclast and a humorist and it really comes through the page. His name is French, but I think he was an Irish Gypsy.:) Surprising? Here's a sample of the chapter titles: Rufus the Pack Goat, Chester - the Worlds Smartest Fishing Dog, The Slough Pig. There are poignant and sobering moments as well. Gary was really a great story teller. His premature death robbed us of a lot.

There are many others that could have been included. I left out the classics and I'm fond of quite a few English writers. Spence is certainly right about Datus Proper and his other recommendations. Joseph Bates, Jr., Streamer Fishing and Flytying is definitly in the "How To" group, but the first chapters really transport you to a Maine woods sporting camp during their heyday. I can almost smell the hemlocks and woodsmoke and hear the lonesome loon just thinking about it... The evening feels like there may be a "salmon chop" in the morning. Think I'll go tie an Edson Tiger.:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnJanuary 31st, 2013, 7:32 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Great list there Kurt! How did I pass over Charlie Fox?! I only own his "Rising Trout".

In Maclean's novella he was way more funny than they were able to convey in the movie. The bare naked sunburn scene, in the book, was an absolute hoot!

We forgot our poor old hippie soul of Richard Brautigan and his , "Trout Fishing in America". How unhappy must a man be to commit suicide in Montana?!

Proper's, "Running Waters" is worth a look.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanFebruary 1st, 2013, 4:49 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
So is yours, Spence.

Another collection title like your first that's pretty good is Fishing Moments of Truth written by ... well, everybody!:) It was compiled by Peper & Rikhoff. As the title implies, each Author was asked to pen their angling "Moment of truth." Lyons, Raymond, Zern, Wulff, Haig-Brown, Underwood, Ritz, Gingrich, Bryant, Koch, Flick, Hidy, Fox, Waterman, Schwiebert, Lamb...

Andy Puyans introduced me to What the Trout Said. When asked what was good about it he replied, "It'll make you think." He nailed it with the most succinct book review possible. It is largely a "How To" book though, which is why I left it off my list. But it's not right to categorize it there, either. It's kind of half way between the two like Lafontaine's first book, Way of the Trout, only better.

For pure outdoorsman's humor and yarn telling, the best I've ever read is one I picked up in the airport on one of many excursions to Maine. It is titled Tales From Jackpine Bob by Bob Cary. If you pick this one up, you're in for a real treat.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnFebruary 1st, 2013, 11:03 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Tales From Jackpine Bob by Bob Cary


Jackpine Bob! Love it...We have our annual show here next month and there is always a used angling book seller there...I'll look for it...We folk here in Michigan, that have spent any time in the upper half of the lower, know Jackpines well...and probably guys not unlike Jackpine Bob.

Spence

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanFebruary 3rd, 2013, 4:42 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
You've got bugs on the brain, Mack!:)LOL Can't you think of any fishing books you like?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
EntomanFebruary 3rd, 2013, 5:18 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Tactics on trout by Ray Ovington


I have that book, Mack and you're right it is very good. Some say he was really writing for Edward Sens, a creative magician with flies and fish, but not a writer. Kind of the Bob Quigley of his day.

There's still a lot of bug content in your selection there, Pal. You're incorrigible!:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
GutcutterFebruary 3rd, 2013, 12:35 pm
Pennsylvania

Posts: 470
The one about a question mark bored me...

It was made into a horrible movie that some say doesn't do it justice...

I did find the beautiful blonde in her birthday suit diving off a rock to chase a steelhead interesting - purely from a technique standpoint of course...

The steelheader doth protest too much, methinks.

And I was thinking more along the lines of literature and not how-to books.


I'll add:

Nick Adams Stories - Hemmingway

Even Brook Trout Get the Blues
Fool's Paradise
Sex, Death and Flyfishing
- Gierach

Ninety-two in the Shade
The Longest Silence
- McGuane

Steelhead Dreams - Supinski

Knee Deep in Montana's Trout Streams - Holt

Bimini Twists - Rodgers
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness
EntomanFebruary 4th, 2013, 8:44 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
The steelheader doth protest too much, methinks.

Ha! I was just being provocative to stimulate conversation...:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman

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