By Robert Traver
I'm always in search of new authors to read, especially when it comes to books about fishing and the outdoors. So when I ran across a list of suggested books in one of my favorite author's book, John Gierach, I knew that I'd have to give all of them a try. The first of these is the book in question, Trout Magic by Robert Traver. The book is really a collection of short stories, which I definitely prefer. It's not that I don't like novels, I just find it a lot easier to read a short story here and there rather than commit large chunks of time to reading a book.
The first story is entitled "Sins My Father Taught Me" and is about the author's early days in fishing. The "Sins" are simply tactics of bait fishing and other non-fly angling. I found it ironic that in his conversion story he refers to these other fishing methods as sins, yet later in the book he relates how fly fishermen are the world's biggest snobs. I find this on level with complaining about crowds and not realizing that you yourself help to make the crowds larger.
The chapter "D. McGinnis: Guide" is a humorous tale about some backwoods folks that advertise, and operate (for at least one trip) their small cabin as a fishing lodge on the big dead river. The chumming, bait fishing, hard drinking bunch don't seem like they'd be much of a guide/lodge service and the first bunch of clients seem to think likewise. Until, that is, they start catching some quality fish. This, of course, makes all right with the world and the group of sports makes sure to book next year's trip.
My favorite chapter has to be "The Dancing Fly". It relates a trio of fishermen who come upon frenchmen's pond and immediately struggle with the wild, difficult fish that take residence there. It seems that the only fly these fish will even consider eating is one that dances on top of the water. That Winter, the main character, Al, takes it upon himself to figure out the solution by writing to a biologist who lives a safe distance away. Armed with new flies, and a new technique, on opening day Al makes a standing bet with his buddies that quickly makes him some money until they turn it back on him. For me, this had to be the highlight of the book.
Although some of the chapters seem quite dated ("Women Fishermen: Are They for Real?") most of the book is a pretty good read. I wouldn't choose this book above others that I've done reviews on, but it's still a pretty good one. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature or at very least read about it.
"Goody, we're gonna plant a troupe of topless mermaids in the place," Pinky broke in, clapping his hands. "Then all we gotta do is lay around all day wth binoculars and a six pack, watchin' 'em cavortin' an' dozin' in the sun." He rolled his eyes. "No shenanigans, of course, 'cause my mother done told me the best thing to do with a sleeping bag is leave her lay." pg. 172