cover image FLY-FISHING THE 41ST: Around the World on the 41st Parallel

FLY-FISHING THE 41ST: Around the World on the 41st Parallel

James Prosek, . . HarperCollins, $27.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-06-019379-9

Prosek (Trout: An Illustrated History) takes his passion for trout across the world in a travel narrative that is like a river, sometimes meandering and often refreshing. Realizing that he has happily fished his entire life around his home of Easton, Conn., Prosek decides to fish that parallel because that's where trout thrive. He first travels to Spain where he fishes the freshwater streams within the Moorish Alhambra, then goes on to Paris. There, he meets an eccentric group of artists and fishermen whose ringleader is a man named Pierre, and together they fish the Seine for a catfishlike monster, the silure. Prosek vibrantly contrasts the grandness of Paris with the remote calm of the early morning Seine. He next meets a fanatic (sometimes annoyingly so) Austrian baker, and fisherman, named Johannes, who takes Prosek to such far-flung regions as Corsica, Turkey, Armenia and Mongolia. It is during Prosek's travels with Johannes (who snorkels rather than casts for fish) that the reader realizes that the fishing is secondary to the adventure. Some of Prosek's best moments happen on a solo journey to Japan. There, he describes the food and countryside—on crisp autumn walks to streams—as evocatively as he describes the varied colors of the fish. Prosek's passion and earnest investigation more than make up for any absence of tall fish tales. 18 color plates by Prosek not seen by PW. (Mar.)