Trout Bum

John Gierach, 1986

ierach is so laid back he almost vanishes from sight and maybe this is the secret of his writing. These are stories, pure and simple, most of them come from nowhere and go to nowhere and they are about the sort of things we all do, so they seep into your soul and never quite leave you, the way all good writing should. Unlike many writers, Gierach's style and storylines transfer effortlessly from one continent to another and the book has sold well all over the world.

I first read this on a hike in the coastal mountains of British Columbia and I can still feel the book pressing into my spine when I woke up one morning. I nearly threw it out of the tent for waking me at five a.m., but then I started reading it and ended up late for breakfast. For some reason I still cannot understand I gave it to a fishing guide and had to buy another copy the moment I got home.

Almost anything by Gierach is worth reading and I would give Sex, Death and Fly Fishing a go if you like this one, but Trout Bum is his first and best book and I think it has enough staying power to sell in fifty years time, which is saying something. It has gone to paperback, which speaks volumes for its popularity.

If they let me take three books with me to this desert island (and I'm not going unless it has decent bonefish flats), this would be there in the company of The Old Man and the Sea and Going Fishing.


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