What I know about fishing you could put on the head of a pin -- and still have room for the pin. But my guess is a big fat diamond ring is not the ideal accoutrement when carrying -- as our cover girl does -- a 28-inch male brown trout. I don't know what he weighs, but said ring could probably slice and dice him for dinner.
I do know -- having a fisherman in my extended family -- that it's a passionate, often life-long pursuit. As a regular, some would say obsessed, theater-going New Yorker, I wonder why anyone would wake at dawn and wade waist-deep into freezing waters for bass? The answer, judging from Fly Fisherman, is the sheer joy of it, a Zen connection with the outdoors.
Fly Fisherman functions as part travelogue, part user/gear guide. It supplies reviews of books, such as "Atlantic Salmon: A Fly Fishing Reference," as well as DVDs like "Skagit Master," a two-hour instructional dubbed as "entertaining as it is informative." The "Tips from the Experts" section offered to help find low-pressure trout on high-pressure streams. Since the only pressure in my life is of the head-exploding variety, I found this line insightful: "Don't be afraid to experiment with your tactics." In fishing -- as in life -- it's important to stay nimble.
Clearly, fishing is both an art and a science. Just consider the number of fly patterns used as bait. Or take a closer look at a fisherman (woman) with their catch, and they smile as happily as any parent with a newborn. Then again, the fish won't run to tuition or future therapy bills. Round one to nature!
Anglers are a special breed. Much like film fanatics, they know everything about their subject and revel in minutiae. Unlike them, they actually see the light of day. And they welcome it everywhere: Trout fishermen cast their flies from the Patagonian Andes to Yellowstone National Park. This is a specific sort of frontiersman. He stands astride his boat like Washington crossing the Delaware -- with pricier equipment and better footwear.
So it's no surprise he's a bit of an obsessive, per Fly Fisherman's contributor section. Dave Whitlock resigned his post as a research chemist to work in the fly-fishing business. Mike Mercer began fishing at five, took a job at The Fly Shop in Redding, Calif., at 18 and stayed for more than three decades. Larry Levine once drove 3,000 miles round-trip to fish for a single day in Argentina's famed Rio Grande. This isn't a hobby; this is a serious commitment. Do fishermen live longer? If so, let's alert the National Institutes of Health. My guess: fishing could function as preventative medicine, since our costly, inefficient health-care system is a not-so-silent killer.
If you go that route, Fly Fisherman is enjoyable reading. The letters to the editor, known here as "Tight Lines," were more civilized than those in Newsweek, which attract the cranky and nutty among us. In fact, the fishing allure is summed up in an ad in the Market Place section for Alaska doctors. The recruiter lists the various specialties needed -- internal medicine, urology, psychiatry -- but the print is small and the words blurry against the background. Medicine takes a back seat to the real draw: He's holding a fish the size of a beefy 10-year-old boy. Why not just cut to the chase? The Alaskan Rx: Fishing comes first. Ask any FF reader.
Published by: InterMedia Outdoors
Web site: www.flyfisherman.com