Fool’s Paradise

John Gierach, Author, Glen Wolff, Illustrator , illus. by Glen Wolff. Simon & Schuster $24 (211p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9173-6

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.” (May)

Reviewed on: 03/10/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
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