paws22, Boy Fishing, n.d.
“Fishing is necessary to me because of the combination of practicality and mysticism that it holds. When a human being beholds a fish in its anti-human and fascinating element, there is a vibration like no other.
The poet D. H. Lawrence has worded this feeling of the man-fish encounter as well as anyone has ever done. Of the pike, he says:
I made a mistake, I didn’t know him,
This grey, monotonous soul in the water,
This intense individual in shadow,
I didn’t know his god,
I didn’t know his god.
I began fishing with a handline, and I still love the form of the art. This was in an estuary off the south coast of Georgia, and though my family origins were in the mountains of the northern part of the state (and therefore my loyalty should logically be to the fly-rod and the trout), my ideal notion of fishing, of true fishing, of fishing itself involves the nerves of my hand as they sink by means of the line into the alien, creative darkness, and wait there.”
James Dickey, from “A Hand-Line: In Pursuit of the Grey Soul,” Night Hurdling: Poems, Essays, Conversations, Commencements, and Afterwords (Bruccoli Clark, 1983)
"The stream keeps me from getting lost, and anytime I feel like being a fisherman again, the trout are there, sages themselves, the wise roshi that caught me by the way and taught me to love wildness.”
Christopher Camuto, from “Caught by the Way,” In Praise of Wild Trout, ed. Nick Lyons (Lyons Press, 1998)
"I’ve Always Been a Rambler"
I’ve Always Been a Rambler LP
Brisco, British Columbia, 1915
Photo: Ede Family Collection
All the way home thousands of Blues fall from my head,
falling with the gray Atlantic, and a pale veiny light
fills the road with sea-shadows that drift in figure
eights, knot and snarl and draw me forward.
Dave Smith, closing lines to “Night Fishing for Blues,” from Floating on Solitude: Three Volumes of Poetry by Dave Smith (University of Illinois Press, 1996)
Gordon Fairbairn, Rainbow Trout, n.d.
"The little rod wore tenaciously on the rainbow, growing stronger, bending less, drawing easier. After what seemed an interminable period there in this foot-deep water, the battle ended abruptly with the bend off the rod drawing the fish head-on to the wet sand.
Certainly I had never seen anything so beautiful in color, so magnificent in contour. It was mother-of-pearl tinged with exquisite pink. The dots were scarcely discernible, and the fullness of swelling graceful curve seemed to outdo nature itself. How the small thoroughbred salmon-like head contrasted with the huge iron-jawed fierce-eyed head of the male I had caught first! It was strange to see the broader tail of the female, the thicker mass of muscled body, the larger fins. Nature had endowed this progenitor of the species, at least for the spawning season, with greater strength, speed, endurance, spirit and life.”
Zane Grey, from “The Dreadnaught Pool,” The Best of Zane Grey, Outdoorsman: Hunting and Fishing Tales, ed. George Reiger (Stackpole Books, 1992)
"The Deadly Fox"
Walk Along John LP
Painting: Anne Dixon, Brown Trout, n.d.
Gray Hackle Peacock wet fly tied by Don Bastion
"The fish jumped, a foot of gleaming silver, arched for a long moment in the soft, summery air, hit the surface hard in an effort to shake the feathered Judas lodged in its jaw. Quickly it drummed upstream, reaching for the fast water washing below a stone dam, where it jumped again, slim and perfect, a brown trout with an I-say-there English accent.
The brownie stunting in the picture river was not the biggest I have ever hooked, precise specifications of which I refuse to divulge for fear my career trophy might not sound as epic as it ought to, but it was not the smallest either […] Besides, the game was far from up. After all, I was fishing fairly fine, with a number 16 Cockwing Dun knotted to a twelve-foot 5x leader, which can add a shiver of suspense playing even small fish due to my boyish tendency to overreact before things have reached a proper boil.”
Robert Deindorfer, opening lines to “Fishing Walton’s Favorite Rivers,” from The Armchair Angler, ed. Terry Brykczynski and David Reuther (Scribner, 1986)