Brilliant, witty, perceptive essays about fly-fishing, the natural world, and life in general by the acknowledged master of fishing writers.
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 perhaps inevitable.
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, or his dismay at encroaching development (“You never get to point at a meadow full of browsing mule deer and say, ‘You know, all this was once condos.’”). Braving trips on small prop planes and down “Oh-My-God” roads, Gierach and his fishing buddies pursue bull trout in British Collumbia, steelhead in the Rocky Mountains, and pike so fierce that a wise fisherman wears Kevlar gloves for the obligatory trophy photo.
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.
This addition to Gierach's long list of fishing books is perhaps not of trophy quality, but it's definitely a keeper. Gierach gets back to the basics of fishing in a collection of personal essays in which he contends that fishing is as much about being outdoors with a few friends who share the same passion as it is about catching fish. Of course, he still thrills at the fish's strike and he lands his fair share of them, but he spends as much time describing other aspects of the sport: getting there, what to do in foul weather, camping etiquette and predicting hatches. He even spends some time ruminating on hunting and the business of rod making. With the simple grace and native wisdom he is known for, Gierach always gets back around to fishing and pays special tribute to the fish themselves, sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of North American fish, their feeding habits and their exquisite colorings. Occasionally, he comments on environmental issues such as the effects of logging and housing developments on local streams, but he seems resigned to such encroachments, claiming that he can live with change as long as the fish are biting; such, he confesses, is his "fool's paradise."