cover image A Fly-Fishing Life

A Fly-Fishing Life

William G. Tapply. Lyons Press, $25 (290pp) ISBN 978-1-55821-544-3

Best known to the general public as the author of 14 Brady Coyne mystery novels, Tapply (Sportsman's Legacy) is familiar to anglers through his articles for Field & Stream and Fly Fisherman. Here he has collected 25 such essays about his fishing career, in which trout and bass loom largest. He has fished all over North America, from Nova Scotia to Montana, and off the shore of Belize, although principally in his native New England, and has sought almost every variety of fish. His stated aim is to write about the sediment, ""the weighty, important stuff that's left when you take away the fishing,"" but the content is more heavily weighted toward tying and selecting lures, casting and catching his usually elusive quarry than in making Thoreauvian or Waltonian observations. He's enthusiastic about Montana's Bighorn, his favorite trout stream, and Vermont's, in his view the most beautiful fishing site. And he also airs his dislikes: dams, motorized bass boats and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who object even to his customary practicing of releasing the fish he catches, on the grounds that our finny friends suffer permanent psychological damage. The book is intended mainly for others who fish. (Sept.)