I love reading fishing books. Even during the trout season I find a good fishing book can relax and excite me like no other written words. Somehow the process of fishing seems to lend itself very well to the art of the written word. There’s always a beginning, quite often a middle, and always some kind of end. Perhaps the most important thing though is that fishing can always be a journey. And there’s nothing like a good journey to strike imagination and hope into the mind of a reader.
One of the great things about internet fishing diaries and websites is the potential for discovering books, both new upstarts and old time gems. I’ve bought several books following recommendations from my pal Alistair over at the Urban Fly Fisher blog. One of my recent favourites is “Trout Madness” by Robert Traver.
Judging by the front cover of the book my first thought was that it would be a modern book about some gentleman from the lost youth of today. I was surprised to discover that most of the stories came from 1940s east USA, with brook trout and wild rivers and ponds forming the backdrop. Mr Traver was a district attorney in his day, and he frequently betrays the kind of eye-rolling wisdom one might imagine from such a man. His writing style certainly has a unique character quite unlike any other fishing book I’ve read. It’s honest, regularly humorous and full of lovely insights into…well, the madness of trout anglers.
Allow me to quote a couple of fine examples from the book:
“It was one of those warm, soft, luminous summer evenings; the kind that commands fishermen to go forth and then makes them yearn for time to stop in its tracks. The sky was big and high and gloriously aflame, and the fanning shafts of sunlight sifting through the far-off piles of cloud looked like the very organ pipes of Heaven.”
“As I relit my pipe and waited for new worlds to conquer I heard a mighty splash above me and wheeled gaping at the spreading magic ring of a really good trout, carefully marking the spot. Oddly enough he had risen just above where the young buck had just crossed, a little above the feeder creek. Perhaps I thought extravagantly, perhaps he was after the deer…”
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