Full Creel

Nick Lyons, Author, Mari Lyons, Illustrator, Thomas McGuane, Foreword by Atlantic Monthly Press $25 (508p) ISBN 978-0-87113-813-2
Fly-fishing aficionados know Lyons as one of the more eminent writers and publishers of angling literature. This omnibus gleans the best of his seven fishing books, from 1970's The Seasonable Angler to last year's My Secret Fishing Life. Whether fireside in New York tending his gear or streamside fishing a trout, Lyons is a personable and generous companion. These 80-some essays range widely, from boyhood trespasses on Brooklyn lawns in search of fat earthworms to his uneasy reign as a globe-trotting ""bogus expert."" While plenty of brooding, introspective pieces by other writers pay tribute to anglers' yearning for solitude and beauty, Lyons avoids the earnest, hermetic solipsism that so often mars the genre. His strongest essays are simple narratives that focus on family and fishing buddies--many of them true angling legends. Constant throughout this formidable compendium is Lyons's deeply abiding love (addiction, he rightly calls it) for the chase. He bumbles frequently--falling out of boats, spraying fly dope in his eyes, miring his rental car in sand, fishing without a hook--but also passes along ample wisdom about fishing and life. The former, he writes, ""is merely a lovely, useless activity that, somehow, has become an axial line in my life, an anchor... a magnet for most of what I had to say on any subject."" Lyons has plenty to say and he says it with such humility, good humor and perspective that even non-anglers have good reason to fish here. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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