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Fly-Fishing for Sharks: An Angler's Journey Across America Paperback – July 17, 2001

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"When you're fly-fishing for sharks," observes Richard Louv from an 18-foot aluminum boat 12 miles off the coast of San Diego doing just that, "the line between lunacy and sanity is pretty thin." The truth is, most anglers, whatever they're fishing for, live fairly close to that line, and it's that proximity that leads Louv on a provocative quest. "The waters we fish, and how we fish, reflect larger political, ethical, even spiritual issues," he writes. "How shall we reconnect to nature? How should we treat fellow creatures of other species? How do we hold fast to what is old, timeless, and slow?"

As he travels from the Pacific to the Atlantic and the Gulf Coast to the frozen lakes of Northern Michigan, Louv ponders the ways and whys of pretty much the whole teeming democracy of rods and reelers--fly-fishers, ice-fishers, big-game fishers, guides, tournament bassers, even poachers--and their impact on American culture and the environment. He heads out into streams, lakes, and oceans with them, attends expos with them, buys bait with them, and sits down in coffee shops with them to better understand who they are, what lures them, what they take from the waters, and what they give back. He meets a marvelous group of players, among them the sons of Ernest Hemingway and R.F.K.; fly-fishing's incomparable first lady, Joan Wulff; and the less well-pedigreed, too, like a Texas woman who poignantly describes how bass fishing saved her life after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and her church shunned her because she was a lesbian. He explores how fishing has traditionally tied together generations--including those of his own family--and even how finding a long-forgotten strain of trout in Southern California could halt future development in its tracks. Louv might easily have gotten skunked on such an ambitious fishing trip; instead, his journey reveals much about America and its love of angling. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A contributing editor at Parents, Louv (Childhood's Future) records his travels- fishing and mingling with like-minded enthusiasts-in this brisk, if somewhat sprawling, survey of fishing across America. As he hops from proletarian New Mexico waters to hazardous ice fishing in northern Michigan, then down South to the Florida Keys, Louv delves into diverse fishing subcultures. There are luxury fishing lodges, slick live-action TV fishing shows and regional and national tournaments where big money is the lure. Other subcultures include an underworld of poachers and the growing fraternity of catch-and-release anglers. Women have formed their own league, too, challenging a male-dominated stronghold; as part of his journey Louv went to Texas to interview Sugar Ferris, founder of Bass'n Gal, the national women's tournament and bass-fishing association, which had 33,000 members before its demise in 1998. (Several corporate sponsors withdrew support after some of the organization's members acknowledged that they were lesbians.) Louv hangs out with urban anglers on New York City's East River, meets Hemingway's fly-fishing son in Montana and plumbs "deep fishing," or transcendental immersion in nature, in Vermont. This hymn to fishing--the sport and mystique--is decked out with photographs of the people he met, and their catches. While doubting readers--like the author's wife, a vegetarian who sides with the fish, or his teenage son, who reluctantly joins him on some outings--may find that Louv's attempt to fathom the sport's spiritual dimensions smells fishy and that his justification of the sport's morality (fish don't feel pain) is a cop-out, his eye-opening odyssey will be pure bliss to anglers. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (July 17, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074320025X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743200257
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

VISIT www.RichardLouv.com
TAKE ACTION AT www.childrenandnature.org


Richard Louv is a journalist and author of eight books about the connections between family, nature and community. His newest book is The Nature Principle: Human Restoration and the End of Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin), which offers a new vision of the future, in which our lives are as immersed in nature as they are in technology. This future, available to all of us right now, offers better psychological, physical and spiritual health for people of every age.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin), translated into 10 languages and published in 15 countries, has stimulated an international conversation about the relationship between children and nature. Louv is also the founding chairman of the Children & Nature Network at www.childrenandnature.org, an organization helping build the movement to connect today's children and future generations to the natural world. Louv coined the term Nature-Deficit Disorder™ which has become the defining phrase of this important issue.

In 2008, he was awarded the Audubon Medal, presented by the National Audubon Society. Prior recipients have included Rachel Carson, E. O. Wilson and President Jimmy Carter. Louv is also the recipient of the Cox Award for 2007, Clemson University's highest honor, for "sustained achievement in public service" and has been a Clemson visiting professor. Among other awards, Louv is the recipient of the 2008 San Diego Zoological Society Conservation Medal, the 2008 George B. Rabb Conservation Medal from the Chicago Zoological Society, and the 2009 International Making Cities Livable Jane Jacobs Award. He also serves as Honorary Co-chairman, with artist Robert Bateman, of Canada's national Children and Nature Alliance.

Louv has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Times of London, and other major publications. He has appeared on many national TV shows, including NBC's Today Show and Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC's Good Morning America, and NPR's Morning Edition, Fresh Air, and Talk of the Nation. Between 1984 and 2007 he was a columnist for The San Diego Union-Tribune and has been a columnist and member of the editorial advisory board for Parents magazine. Louv was an advisor to the Ford Foundation's Leadership for a Changing World award program. He serves on the board of directors of ecoAmerica and is a member of the Citistates Group. He has appeared before the Domestic Policy Council in the White House as well as at major governmental and professional conferences, nationally and internationally, most recently as keynote speaker at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference.

He is married to Kathy Frederick Louv and the father of two young men, Jason, 29 and Matthew, 23. He would rather fish than write.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As an avid fisherman and reader, I can tell you that one spends a lot of time pusuing the rare catch: The trophy fish or the unforgetable book. Suffice it to say - this book is a keeper! Louv's insights into the world of fishing, emotions, and the human psyche are poignant, insightful, and dead-on, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. I've shared this book with many non-fishing friends (for example a 60-something Nanny) - who loved it! Through extensive interviews and lots of fishing with the characters in his book, Richard Louv explores the deeper meaning that fishing and nature hold for these folks - and indeed for mankind. (Previous reviews likening his journey to Steinbeck or William Least Heat Moon are accurate) There are some wake-up calls here too: disappearing landscapes and children growing up detatched from their Mother Earth. I laughed, I cried, I bought a bunch and gave them as gifts. Here's my gift to you, gentle reader: Buy it for yourself and enjoy!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mike Cooper on June 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Hi I am Mike Cooper and I'm 13 years old I loved reading Fly Fishing For Sharks. When I first got the book I thought that it was going to be very hard for me to read and take a while, but I finished the book in around a month. It was very interesting becuase I am from San Diego and I have fished at some of the lakes that the author fished at. I also learned a little bit about fishing. I think the most interesting thing about the book was all the interesting people that he would meet on his journey. This is a really good book and it is one of those that you can't put it down you just have to keep reading it. So if you like fishing or just like reading about interesting people this is well worth it and I recomend and buying it today.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Tanner on May 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
With out a doubt, one of the best books I've read--ever. Louv captures the true passion of his subject fly-fishermen (and women), then steps back and releases the stories of their spirited lives with the interpretation of a painter to canvas. As a daughter of one of the fly-fishermen Louv interviewed, I can say without hesitation, he revealed my father's knowledge and love of fishing in a way no one but a family member could.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alva McRobert on April 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This 76 year old lady -- me -- from a midwest farming area -- Waupum, Wisconsin -- lover of all nature -- a constant reader of books all my life of all varieties and subjects -- just now reading your book about fishing and the vivid picture of the outdoors and the people connected with it -- wanting to thank you for writing this super book which I've read every word enjoying your description of your travels, life, outdoors, fishing and the people met along the journey of your life. I don't fish. Never have. But you are a great author and writer...so thank you again for the enjoyment you have placed in my hands with your book and in my mind with your words...Books and reading have been my life -- carry one with me every day, where ever I go. So many have seen your book and asked about it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
"Fly-Fishing for Sharks" reminded me of "Blue Highways," in some ways, but for the most part it's in a class by itself. I guess you could call it "fishing literature," but it's mainly a book of stories about people who don't usually get written about. As you meet the fishing guides, fly-fishermen, bass people and so on, from all parts of the country, you find out what it is like to stand in their shoes. A number of women are included here, and that's a little unusual for books related to fishing. Writer Studs Terkel shows people this way, but Louv weaves it all into a story that kept me turning pages. I am better informed now about ecology, early television, Pacific Northwest fishing heroes, New Mexico politics, Florida sport-fishing captains, Montana high-roller fishing lodges and a hatful of other things. On another level, this is a road trip. Lots of facts and figures on the state of contemporary America. But it's the stories about the people met along the way that stick in my mind. This is a wonderful book. Important and entertaining.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Shore on July 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Fly Fishing for Sharks
I hate fishing. It's like spitting at birds, or something. Fish are morons who can't tell food from death. Who cares?
This book is about fishing like the Grand Canyon is about holes in the ground. First and foremost and forever, this book is about people: brave, interesting, eminently resourceful, good-hearted, intense people-who, for reasons as varied as ...well, types of fish ... are SERIOUSLY connected to what I was surprised to find was the pretty damn interesting world of fishing.
The thing is, Louv has the touch: he's delicate (without being precious), admiring (without being fawning), intelligent (without being pompous), reflective (without being ponderous), insightful (without being self-congratulatory), and, WAY most importantly, of course, is that he's nothing less than a superb writer (without being...um...a non-superb writer).
Buying books is tough; you never know what you're getting. But buy this one. It's not possible for you to regret it. You'll read it; you'll treasure it; you'll pass it along to a friend and never see it again--and your inner life, and the inner life of the person you passed it to, will actually, tangibly improve. That's what books are for--and only really, REALLY great books, of course, can do it. This is one of them. Don't let this one ... um ... get away. Seriously. Don't.
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