With just a bit more time before the weather warms up and fishing really kicks off again, I wanted to bring your attention to some of my favorite books about fly fishing. If you have time, I encourage you to pick any of these up and give them a quick read to fuel your excitement for a great summer on the water.
I’ll start with my favorite. Parts of this book made it into my wedding, and now that I’ve been married for 15 years, it is time to reread it.
“The River Why,” by David James Duncan. Young Gus strikes out on his own to a secluded cabin on the banks of a remote river. While there he pursues his passion of fishing but also comes to find this passion offers him insights into the world he wasn’t quite ready for. He notices the degradation of the natural world and the barrenness of his desire to find his true self. This realization leads him on a quest for self-discovery and on a quest beyond his wildest dreams. Ultimately, this book tells an unforgettable story weaving the importance of relationships with humans and the natural world.
During my years working in public relations and marketing for fly fishing brands, I got to know Mr. Leeson well. Not only is he one of the world’s nicest people, his writing is extraordinary, as seen in my next favorite book.
“Inventing Montana,” by Ted Leeson. Ted and a group of his fly fishing buddies convened each summer for two decades to an old ranch house overlooking the Madison River. While there, sure, they fished, but they also explored the human and natural landscape of this fishing paradise. His impressive descriptions of place and context allows the reader to be right there with these hilarious anglers while they explore the intrigue of the Madison Valley, the town of Ennis and the nature of our sport.
Over the winter, I sat down again with the next book to read through some of the best short essays in fly fishing.
“The Longest Silence,” by Thomas McGuane. His obsession with all things fish and fishing have taken him all over the world, and each of these short essays depicts his travels and the insanity of what we do to chase our quarry. From catching trout in Montana, to lurking around the hidden streams of Ireland to hunting for bonefish in the tropical waters of Mexico and Florida, we follow along as McGuane shows a command of the English language like no other. Sit down and enjoy these 33 essays at your leisure.
And we can’t leave out the fine works of John Gierach.
“Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders,” by John Gierach. His wit and perception take us through essays that show impressive observation, knowledge and love of fishing like no other. These essays will whisk you directly to the water where you can hear, see, smell, feel and even taste what it means to be an angler.
Cozy up next to a fire with a warm beverage and get to reading. I promise… these titles are timeless and will excite your deepest fishing desires.