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Fly-Fishin' Fool: The Adventures, Misadventures, and Outright Idiocies of a Compulsive Angler Hardcover – April 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592285937
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592285938
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #482,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The theme in Babb's third book is "having fun while attempting to catch fish," preferably in congenial company. The 31 essays in the book explore saltwater and freshwater fly-fishing. Babb, editor of Gray's Sporting Journal, and his friends bring an Algonquin Round Table-like camaraderie to their fishing trips, and his essays capture the free-flowing conversation, whether about politics and the environmental impacts of fishing or about fly tying and fly design. Along the way, he also takes time to share some delectable recipes (including his grandmother's fried chicken). An Appalachian native, he also spices the text with evocative vignettes of Appalachian life. Fish-lit fans will especially enjoy comparing Babb's descriptions of angling trips with John Gierach to Gierach's versions of the same events in his Still Life with Brook Trout [BKL Mr 1 05]. Snappy, good-humored prose. John Rowen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Fishermen often take themselves too seriously and the failing is even more common--not to mention annoying--among writers, but Jim Babb has somehow escaped all that. He has learned that if you tell the absolute truth about fishing, you'll become known as a humorist."--John Gierach

"Once could be an accident; twice might be coincidence; but three times is conclusive beyond a doubt. In his third book, Jim Babb proves yet again that he’s one of the funniest, most literate, most relentlessly ironic writers ever to poke a pen at the soft underbelly of fly-fishing. And here, he takes on his most formidable target to date—himself. Fly-Fishin’ Fool is Babb at the top of his game."--Ted Leeson

"Fool? Maybe, but the kind of holy fool and Zen savant who is far wiser than the solemn exponents of fly fishing's seriousness. He is also angling's funniest writer."--Steve Bodio

"The easiest thing to admire is Babb's wit, craft, and erudition. He's a language wizard with the range of a diva; as comfortable offering the broken knuckled perspectives of a lobsterman as with quoting Donne, Dickens, and Trollope."--Seth Norman

"I had as much fun reading these stories as Jim Babb had experiencing them, although I have never flung a fly-line in my life. Babb’s understated sense of adventure and his singular good humor serve him well: true to his Southern roots, he is a magnificent storyteller, a man never without a spell-binding yarn. His stories are lively, philosophical, impeccably crafted. This book has everything--wit, instruction, devotion, a good dose of serendipity, and just enough humbleness mixed with a modicum of chest-thumping. Plus a recipe thrown in for good measure! Fly-Fishin’ Fool is outrageous, intrepid, intelligent: what more could one want in a book?--Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home, and Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land

"Sometimes acerbic, sometimes wondrous, always fresh, the canon of fishing writing is far richer for Babb's indulgence in it, and more so with each new book."--Charles Rangeley-Wilson

"Fly-Fishin' Fool has a self-deprecating, confessional tone and the comic timing of Woody Allen."--Charles Rangeley-Wilson

"James Babb has a wildly off-beat sense of humour and an unrivalled ability to get it down on paper. And like the best story-tellers he whisks the reader along seductively."--Charles Rangeley-Wilson.

Praise for Crosscurrents:

"The best fly-fishing book of the year."--Library Journal

"Humor is so hard to write--the good stuff so rare--that who better to twist wit than the most literate wordsmith?"--Fly Rod & Reel

"A witty, insightful examination of a fly fisher's progress from rash youth to contemplative childhood."--Sports Afield

Praise for River Music:

"His ability to evoke the woodlands of Maine in May--the movements of the animals, the quality of the air, the clear song of the white-throated sparrow--ranks him with some of the best nature writers in print."--Kirkus

"This reviewer once compared Babb's Crosscurrents to fellow fly-fishing author John Gierach's Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders. Babb's latest book is better than anything Gierach has written in five years . . . the result is a joy to read and essential for any library."--Library Journal

"Babb hgas successfully carved out a niche, alongside Norman Maclean, as a superior fly-fishing writer, and moreover as a keen observer of human comedy. This sequel to his successful Crosscurrents expands (and organizes by season) essays from Gray's Sporting Journal and positions Babb as fly fishing's tastefully restrained counterpart to Dave Barry."--Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Gene Larson on September 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoy Jim Babb. His writing touches the part of me that is also a "Fly-Fishin' Fool." I suppose if you are a regular reader of his column in Grey's Sporting News, you'd rebel against re-reading some of his material in book format. For me, that is not a problem and especially since the magazine only appears ever other month, its easy to realize that there is a lot of new material here.

So, what is this book about? It shares a point of view any fly-fisher person has had on a somewhat regular basis. And, since we can't all fish as often as Jim, we get to live through his experiences, learn from his mistakes, and hopefully, avoid some of the idiocies he stumbles into first. Read it, you won't be sorry.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In defense of this book, I read it in the middle of re-reading and reading every John Gierach book I have (all but one) and that's probably not fair to the book or the author.

It's a nice read, it's a different writing style and I did warm up to it in a few chapters. I certainly can relate to his passion, as I canoe, camp, andd spend time in nature all around the stated purpose of fishing.

It wasn't a page-turner (for me) but it was a nice read and it stays on my "short shelf" of handy books to grab.
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By Dale L. Crawford on September 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I discovered Jim Babb relatively recently. I have been working my way through his books as I can locate them. He has moved into my small group of very favorite authors: Gierach, Traver, Leeson, Middleton, and Babb.

Good fishing stories and interesting commentaries on his view of the world and life overall.
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I must say that in reading about the different "adventures" to which this author addresses, I can say that it did remind me of some which I encountered in my wanderings while fishing. I difinitely can relate to how the author indicates he felt in those different predicaments and it brought back some of those same memories, stresses, anxious moments and laughs endured. Looking back on these "adventures/mis-adventures" many years ago brought a smile and sometimes laughter to me while reading the book.
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