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John Gierach invites fly fishermen and great writing aficionados to partake in this collection of witty, perceptive observations on fishing and life.
At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman is a journey through the year with America's finest fishing writer, John Gierach. The journey begins with an early spring expedition to Wyoming, where the dirt roads are still covered with a thin sheen of ice that quickly turns to mud underfoot. The conditions are so uninviting that everyone involved agrees they must be crazy to be fishing so early in the season. But, as Gierach observes, "nothing makes a fisherman happier than to have just proved that he must be crazy. " Gierach's fishing year ends with a winter fly-fishing trip in the Colorado Rockies, a time of year when, Gierach says, "it's still possible to have what seems like a whole river all to yourself. " Of course, the chances of catching any fish are small, a situation about which Gierach comments, "Anyone would go fishing thinking he'll catch something. It's when you go figuring you probably won't that you know you've crossed some kind of line. "In between, Gierach entertains us as always, mixing the one-liners about the fishing life with deeper insights into friendship, how we spend our time, and why nature still matters to us. At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman contains Gierach's trademark blend of humor and acuity. Comparing trout and carp, he says, "If you wanted a fish that could sip white wine and discuss Italian poetry, you'd look for a trout. If you needed a ditch dug, you'd hire a carp. " Commenting on the value of a good map, he observes, "It seems like I've spent half my life trying to locate myself on maps, either just out of curiosity or to answer specific questions like Where the hell am I?' and 'How do I get out of here?' Gierach offers his opinions on the etiquette of sharing secret fishing spots, the ethics of lying to protect these spots, the secretive subculture of bamboo rods, and many other topics important to fishermen everywhere. Above all, however, Gierach understands that the real pleasure in fishing is greater than the sum of its accessories. He describes fish, mountain streams, birch thickets, and the joy of a beautiful day outdoors with a naturalist's eye and appreciation. And he understands fishing like the sage observer that he is: Fishing is one of the few ways I know of to let go of the past, forget about the future, and live in the moment. "Keenly observed and wryly recorded as always, John Gierach's latest book of fishing adventures and misadventures is sure to be enjoyed by anyone who fishes -- and everyone who wishes he fished more.
With the wry humor and wit that have become his trademark, John Gierach writes about his travels in search of good fishing and even better fish stories. In this new collection of essays on fishing -- and hunting -- Gierach discusses fishing for trout in Alaska, for salmon in Scotland and for almost anything in Texas. He offers his perceptive observations on the subject of ice-fishing, getting lost, fishing at night, tournaments and the fine art of tying flies. Gierach also shares his hunting technique, which involves reading a good book and looking up occasionally to see if any deer have wandered by. Always entertaining, often irreverent and illuminating, Gierach invites readers into his enviable way of life, and effortlessly sweeps them along.
Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders collects forty of John Gierach's finest essays on fishing from six of his books. Like all his writing, these essays are seasoned by a keen sense of observation and a deep knowledge and love of fishing lore, leavened by a wonderfully wry sense of humor. This is the first anthology of Gierach's work, a collection that is sure to delight both die-hard fans and new readers alike.
From his reminiscences about learning to fish to a lyrical piece about fishing during a late spring snow to a wry, though compassionate, look at the hard life of a brook trout, Gierach provides entertainment for fly-fishers and literature lovers alike.
If John Gierach is living in a fool's paradise, then it's a paradise that his regular readers will recognize and new fans will delight in discovering. Laced with the inimitable blend of wit and wisdom that have made him fly-fishing's foremost scribe, Fool's Paradise chronicles the fishing life in all its glory (catching your biggest fish ever) and squalor (being stranded in a tent during a soaking rainstorm). In Gierach's world, both experiences are valuable, and both evoke humor and insight. Fishermen everywhere will understand Gierach's quest to discover and explore new waters (and then not to divulge the best locations to anyone), the unlikely appeal of winter fly-fishing ("the ice fishing shanty served the dual purpose of group therapy and the neighborhood tavern"), how impossible it is to predict the best fishing ("Everything that happens is entirely familiar, but I don't always see it coming"), or even the absurdity of the entire exercise ("day after day, you're casting a fly that doesn't look like anything to fish that aren't hungry and may not even be there"). Braving trips on small prop planes and down "Oh-My-God" roads alike, Gierach and his fishing buddies pursue bull trout in British Columbia, steelhead in the Rocky Mountains, and pike so fierce that a wise fisherman wears Kevlar gloves for the obligatory trophy photo. But as with any activity that depends on unspoiled wilderness, change is constant. Gierach sees this happening both in the landscape ("You never get to point at a meadow full of browsing mule deer and say, 'You know, all this was once condos.'") and at lodges that now require guests to sign liability waivers ("[I] had a brief vision of herds of lawyers coursing over the tundra in search of litigation"). Just the same, he is always awed by the experience of nature, or as he puts it: "You're on a lovely, remote wilderness river in the Alaskan backcountry. There are people who would make this trip and not even bring a fishing rod." Musing on the enduring appeal of fishing, Gierach theorizes, "We're so used to the fake and the packaged that encountering something real can amount to a borderline religious experience." Equal parts fishing lore, philosophy, and great fish stories, Fool's Paradise may not be a perfect substitute for actually being out on the water, but it's surely the next best thing.
IN his new book about the delightful torture known as fly fishing, John Gierach again demonstrates the wit, eloquence, and insight that have become his trademarks. Consider this observation about fishing: "From my own experience I can say that a bad back makes you hike slower, stove-up knees keep you from wading confidently, tendinitis of the elbow buggers your casting, and a dose of giardia can send you dashing into the bushes fifteen times in an afternoon, but although none of this is fun, it's discernibly better than not fishing." Or this explanation for every fisherman's fascination with small streams: "The idea is to fish obscure headwater creeks in hopes of eventually sniffing out an underappreciated little trout creek down an un-marked dirt road. Why is another question. I suppose it's partly for the fishing itself and partly to satisfy your curiosity, but mostly to sustain the belief that such things are still out there to find for those willing to look." And perhaps the ultimate explanation for the fishing obsession: "I briefly wondered how much trouble a guy should go to in order to catch a few little trout, but then any fish becomes worth catching to the extent that you can't catch it, so the answer was obvious: Once you decide to try, you go to as much trouble as it takes." In No Shortage of Good Days Gierach takes usfrom the Smokies in Tennessee to his home waters in Colorado, from the Canadian Maritimes to Mexico--saltwater or fresh, it's all fishing and all irresistible. As always he writes perceptively about a wide range of subjects: the charm of familiar waters, the etiquette 27.99 of working with new fishing guides, night fishing when the trout and the mosquitoes are both biting, fishing while there is still slush on the river, fishing snobbery, and the delights of fresh fish cooked and eaten within sight of where it was caught. No Shortage of Good Days may be the next best thing to a day of fishing.
From the irrepressible author of Trout Bum and The View from Rat Lake comes an engaging, humorous, often profound examination of life's greatest mysteries: sex, death, and fly-fishing. John Gierach's quest takes us from his quiet home water (an ordinary, run-of-the-mill trout stream where fly-fishing can be a casual affair) to Utah's famous Green River, and to unknown creeks throughout the Western states and Canada. We're introduced to a lively group of fishing buddies, some local "experts" and even an ex-girlfriend, along the way Contemplative, evocative, and wry, he shares insights on mayflies and men, fishing and sport, life and love, and the meaning (or meaninglessness) of it all.
"The solution to any problem -- work, love, money, whatever -- is to go fishing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be." In Standing in a River Waving a Stick, John Gierach visits his favorite trout-filled waters, from the Colorado foothills to British Columbia and points between, recounting both memorable fishing spots and memorable fish. With his trademark combination of wit and wisdom, he discusses such topics as the differences between fishing in ponds and fishing in streams; what makes a good fly pattern; the ethics of writing about undiscovered trout waters; and the fly-fisher's progression from Stage One -- "when you fish from dawn to dusk without a break, get quickly drunk on something cheap, [and] spend the night wrapped in a wet blanket" -- to something slightly more civilized. Gierach takes in his surroundings with the keen and appreciative eye of a naturalist, whether he's observing the hatching patterns of flies, catching subtle clues to the presence of potentially big fish nearby, or taking note of the local denizens in his wry and philosophical way ("Rural people understand that life is basically a dangerous, unmanageable mess, so when things go wrong, their suspicions are confirmed and it's just a blessing no one was killed"). Rich in fishing lore, humor, and the seasoned know-how that has won Gierach a devoted readership, Standing in a River Waving a Stick is sure to delight readers everywhere -- fly-fishers or not.
In Still Life with Brook Trout, John Gierach demonstrates once again that fishing, when done right, is as much a philosophical pursuit as a sport. Gierach travels to Wyoming and Maine and points in between, searching out new fly-fishing adventures and savoring familiar waters with old friends. Along the way he meditates on the importance of good guides ("Really, the only thing a psychiatrist can do that a good guide can't is write prescriptions"), the challenge of salmon fishing ("Salmon prowl. If they're not here now, they could be here in half an hour. Or tomorrow. Or next month"), and the zen of fishing alone ("I also enjoy where my mind goes when I'm fishing alone, which is usually nowhere in particular and by a predictable route"). On a more serious note, he ponders the damaging effects of disasters both natural and man-made: drought, wildfires, and the politics of dam-building, among others. Reflecting on a trip to a small creek near his home, Gierach writes, "In my brightest moments, I think slowing down...has opened huge new vistas on my old home water. It's like a friendship that not only lasts, but gets better against the odds." Similarly, Still Life with Brook Trout proves that Gierach, like fly-fishing itself, becomes deeper and richer with time.
In the world of fishing there are magic phrases that are guaranteed to summon the demon. Among them are: 'remote trout lake,' 'fish up to 13 pounds,' 'the place the guides fish on their days off,'" writes John Gierach in this wonderful collection of thirteen essays inspired by a fishing trip to Rat Lake, a remote body of water in Montana. Once again John Gierach does what he does best -- explain the peculiarities of the fishing life in a way that will amuse novices and seasoned fly fishers alike. The View from Rat Lake deftly examines man in nature and nature in man, the pleasures of fishing the high country, and the high and low comedy that occasionally overcomes even the best-planned fishing trip. Some typically sage observations from The View from Rat Lake: "One of the things we truly fish for [is] an occasion for self-congratulation." "In every catch-and-release fisherman's past there is an old black frying pan." "We...believe that a 12-inch trout caught on a dry fly is four inches longer than a 12-inch trout caught on a nymph or streamer.
Fly-fishing's finest scribe, John Gierach, takes us from a nameless stream on a nameless ranch in Montana to a secret pool off a secret creek where he caught a catfish as a five-year-old, to a brook full of rattlesnakes and a private pond where the trout are all as long as your leg. As Gierach says, "The secret places are the soul of fishing." Hearing about a new one never fails to entice us. And so Where the Trout Are All as Long as Your Leg transports the reader to the best of these places, where the fish are always bigger and the hatches last forever. After all, it's these magical places that Gierach so vividly evokes that remind us how precious -- and precarious -- are the unspoiled havens of the natural world.
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