This “elegiac tribute to the elusive art and ineffable pleasure of fly-fishing” (Kirkus Reviews) shows us why life’s most valuable lessons—and some of its best experiences—are found while fly-fishing.
For John Gierach, “the master of fly-fishing” (Sacramento Bee), fishing is always the answer—even when it’s not clear what the question is. In All Fishermen Are Liars, Gierach travels around North America seeking out quintessential fishing experiences, whether it’s at a busy stream or a secluded lake hidden amid snow-capped mountains. He talks about the art of fly-tying and the quest for the perfect steelhead fly (“The Nuclear Option”), about fishing in the Presidential Pools previously fished by the elder George Bush (“I wondered briefly if I’d done something karmically disastrous and was now fated to spend the rest of my life breathing the exhaust of this elderly Republican”), and the importance of traveling with like-minded companions when caught in a soaking rain (“At this point someone is required to say, ‘You know, there are people who wouldn’t think this is fun’”). And though Gierach loses some fish along the way, he never loses his passion and sense of humor.
Wry, contemplative, and lively—that is to say, pure Gierach—All Fishermen Are Liars is a joy to read—and, as always, the next best thing to fishing itself. “From the early days…to his present cult status, Gierach’s candor and canniness at the water’s edge have been consistent…His grizzled, laconic persona is engaging and the voice of the common angler” (The Wall Street Journal).
A book from Gierach seems to have become a new rite of spring, something that can be scheduled and looked forward to like opening day for the avid fisherman. Probably the best-known and well-liked fly fishing writer around, Gierach won't hurt his standing with this his 17th volume of essays. As usual, this isn't a work for those looking to learn to cast or who want stories that brag about numbers or size of fish caught. Instead, Gierach muses on topics that are tangential to the actual act of fly fishing, like the pleasures of getting lost along a river, the mystery of steelhead flies, what makes a good rod, and the culture and subculture of fishing lodges. Of course, there is lots of fishing involved interwoven with talk about relationships, work, nature, or travel, Gierach fishes in places like Montana, Wyoming, the Northwest Territories, and Newfoundland. Though the stories are similar to those in his previous works, Gierach's mischievous sense of humor and profound sense of good fortune that he gets to fish for a living make this another must-read for anyone anglers and non-anglers thanks to Gierach's playful and poetic prose, which brings to life such contemplative endeavors.