The Joys Of Angling | Our Top 5 Fishing Books To Read This Summer

For many of us, we'd all rather be fishing than doing anything else. Whilst England and Wales resumed angling and water sports from the 13th May, Scotland are also allowing fishing to resume from 28th May in the first phase of easing lockdown restrictions.

This is great news for those eager to get out and enjoy the fishing season. The Angling Trust have many resources and guides to fishing with the new social distancing requirements. Their support hub has all you need to get back into it: https://joinanglingtrust.net/angling-support-hub-phase-one/

If you aren't able to get out at the moment and fish, reading about it is the next best thing. We have collated our Top 5 books that we recommend this summer for anyone passionate about fishing. So here they are... 

 

1. Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing: Life, Death and the Thrill of the Catch 

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Two comedy greats talk life, friendship and the joys of fishing...

Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse have been friends for 30 years, but when life intervened, what was once a joyous and spontaneous friendship dwindled to the odd phone call or occasional catch up.

Then, Glory Be! They were both diagnosed with heart disease and realised that time is short. They'd better spend it fishing... So they dusted off their kits, chucked on their waders and ventured into the achingly beautiful British countryside to fish, rediscover the joys of their friendship and ruminate on some of life's most profound questions, such as: How did we get so old? Where are all the fish? What are your favourite pocket meats? What should we do if we find a corpse?

Following the success of the BBC's Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishingseries, this wonderful book by two lifelong friends is a love letter to the joys of angling, the thrill of the catch and the virtue of having a right daft laff with your mates. On the fish, the equipment, the food, and the locations, Gone Fishing is the perfect book for fans of Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse and for anyone who wants to read a brilliantly written and endlessly funny joint memoir on life, friendship and joys of fishing.

2. Blood Knots: Of Fathers, Friendship and Fishing

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As a child in the 1960s, Luke Jennings was fascinated by the rivers and lakes around his Sussex home. Beneath their surfaces, it seemed to him, waited alien and mysterious worlds. With library books as his guide, he applied himself to the task of learning to fish. His progress was slow, and for years he caught nothing. But then a series of teachers presented themselves, including an inspirational young intelligence officer, from whom he learnt stealth, deception and the art of the dry fly. So began an enlightening but often dark-shadowed journey of discovery. It would lead to bright streams and wild country, but would end with his mentor's capture, torture and execution by the IRA. Blood Knots is about angling, about great fish caught and lost, but it is also about friendship, honour and coming of age. As an adult Jennings has sought out lost and secretive waterways, probing waters 'as deep as England' at dead of night in search of giant pike. The quest, as always, is for more than the living quarry. For only by searching far beneath the surface, Jennings suggests in this most moving and thought-provoking of memoirs, can you connect with your own deep history.

 


3. The Fly Fisher: The Essence and Essentials of Fly Fishing

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The perfect balance for those searching for a bit of peace and quiet and an outdoor activity: fly fishing combines connecting with nature, the defining of personal aesthetics, and physical activity.

The Flyfisher shows the most beautiful fishing spots, self-tied flies, and the right equipment for this increasingly popular lark of leisure. Equal parts outdoor meditation and escapism, fly fishing appeals to a diverse audience. The dedicated focus on the task at hand makes daily life fade away and the fly fisher is free to connect with the soothing sounds of the water while awaiting a catch. From rod to reel to weighted line, the art of fly fishing is rife in details. Filled with photos of anglers and their habitats, the craftsmanship of tying flies, and expert discussions on the right gear to wear to wade into a favorite river, The Flyfisher is the first comprehensive discussion of this multifaceted sport. It is as much about the triumphant catch as the craft of building bait paired with the art of appreciating the overall experience as well as the method.

 

 

4. Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die: Fly-fishing Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations

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Ideal As A Coffee Table Book

For both armchair travellers and avid outdoorsmen and women, Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die maps out the top fly-fishing destinations around the world. Through in-depth interviews with fifty fly-fishing gurus, including Dan Callaghan (noted fly-fishing photographer), John Randolph (editor-in-chief of Fly Fisherman magazine), Mike Fitzgerald (president of Frontiers, the world's leading fly-fishing travel company), and Joan Wulff (a women's fly-fishing pioneer), author Chris Santella goes beyond standard fishing guides to convey the very essence of each location. Readers can vicariously cast mouse pattners to fifty-pound taimen in the wilds of Mongolia, wrangle with wily permit off the Florida Keys, and match the hatch on Montana's Armstrong's Spring Creek. From Cuba to Kamchatka, each essay includes a cultural and natural history of the featured spot, colourful anecdotes based on the author's and authorities' experiences, and, finally, some "if you go" travel and tackle information so that the more adventurous can start planning their next fishing excursion. With 40 breathtakingly beautiful photographs of the spots, many by celebrated fly-fishing photographer R. Valentine Atkinson, this book is a lovely gift for any fisherman.

 

 

5. Taut Lines: Extraordinary True Fishing Stories

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Since the earliest writings of civilization, people have been writing about fish and the pursuit of them. Taut Lines is a book of the present with regular forays into the past, reflecting not on where we're going, but where we've come from.

As all anglers know, the fish themselves are only half of fishing. Finding peace, spirituality, or a sense of belonging in nature; the meditative tranquility that settles into the mind and body as you cast into the waters for hours on end; the companionship or, alternately, the solitude: these are some of the things that hook anglers as much as the fish. They are all explored in this book.

In the name of variety, coverage has been extended to some fishes typically overlooked in fishing anthologies, up to the great white shark from Jaws, the most famous (and feared) fish in all of film and literature. 
There are as many types of fishing literature as there are fishermen. One of these is humorous stories about the follies that inevitably plague anglers. Several stories of this type are to be found in Taut Lines, including Rudyard Kipling's 'On Dry-Cow Fishing as a Fine Art' and Eric Witchey's 'Bats, Bushes, and Barbless Hooks.'

Fishing is more than folly, however, and so many of the stories tackle more personal and profound subjects. Kevin Maloney's 'Soldiers By the Side of the Road', Gretchen Legler's 'Border Water', and Gabino Iglesias's 'Fourteen Pounds Against the World' are just three of many heartbreaking essays which prove that while fishing is an effective medicine for grief and loss, it can also lead to contemplations of death and mortality, both the fish's and our own.

A passion for angling is most often passed down through families, and so many of the pieces in Taut Lines examine familial dynamics in relation to fishing, like 'Fish' by Judith Barrington and 'Unsound' by Nick Mamatas. There are great stories of big fish by angling legends such as Jeremy Wade, Bill Heavey, and Zane Grey, along with stories of daring rescues ('The Man in the Fish Tote' by Tele Aadsen) and war ('I Used to Be a Fisherman' by Weston Ochse), alongside a new modernized version of the first text written about sportfishing, 'Treatise of Fishing with an Angle' by Dame Juliana Berners and 'Fishing for a Cat' by Francis W. Mather, perhaps the earliest known essay devoted to catfish angling. There are also some long-lost classics, like former Atlantic editor Bliss Perry's 'Fishing with a Worm'.

 

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