"The solution to any problem
-- work, love, money, whatever --
is to go fishing,
and the worse the problem,
the longer the trip should be."
This is John Gierach's perspective on fishing and life, and it isn't entirely tongue-in-cheek. But Gierach knows that there is more to fishing than actually catching fish, or as he puts it, "The real lessons of fishing are the ones that come after you've caught some fish. They have to do with things like solitude, quietude, patience, perspective, humor, and the sublime coffee break." In "Standing in a River Waving a Stick," Gierach addresses all these and more with his trademark combination of wit and wisdom.
In this new book, Gierach visits his favorite trout-filled waters, from the Colorado foothills to British Columbia and points between, recounting both memorable fishing spots and memorable fish. He discusses such topics as the differences between fishing in ponds and fishing in streams; what makes a good fly pattern ("The good ones are the ones that work...and the great ones are those that survive beyond their own generation"); the ethics of writing about undiscovered trout waters; and the fly-fisher's progression from Stage One -- "when you fish from dawn to dusk without a break, get quickly drunk on something cheap, [and] spend the night wrapped in a wet blanket" -- to something slightly more civilized.
Gierach takes in his surroundings with the keen and appreciative eye of a naturalist, whether he's observing the hatching patterns of flies, catching subtle clues to the presence of potentially big fish nearby, or taking note of the local denizens in his wry and philosophical way ("Rural people understandthat life is basically a dangerous, unmanageable mess, so when things go wrong, their suspicions are confirmed and it's just a blessing no one was killed"). Above all, however, Gierach is an example of his own assertion that good fishermen have "the uncanny ability to immediately turn any conversation to angling with a fly rod, on the theory that the essence of anything is in how it's either like or unlike fishing."
Rich in fishing lore, humor, and the seasoned know-how that has won him a devoted readership, "Standing in a River Waving a Stick" is sure to delight fly-fishers everywhere.