Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders collects forty of John Gierach's finest essays on fishing from six of his books. Like all his writing, these essays are seasoned by a keen sense of observation and a deep knowledge and love of fishing lore, leavened by a wonderfully wry sense of humor. Gierach often begins with an observation that soon leads to something below the surface, which he finds and successfully lands. As Gierach says, writing is a lot like fishing.
This is the first anthology of John Gierach's work, a collection that is sure to delight both diehard fans and new readers alike. To enter Gierach's world is to experience the daily wonder, challenge, and occasional absurdity of the fishing life -- from such rituals as the preparation of camp coffee (for best results, serve in a tin cup) to the random, revelatory surprises, such as the flashing beauty of a grayling leaping out of the water. Gierach offers nuggets of practical wisdom on choosing fly patterns and travel companions ("Do not go fishing with someone who is so set on being back at a certain time that he will refuse to invent a case of car trouble to keep you on the water an extra day"), vocabulary ("Expertizing means acting like an expert. Not necessarily being an expert, mind you, but acting like one"), and how to fish metaphorically ("Fly-fishing for trout is poetic; for bass it's somewhat existential; for panfish it's corny, but fun"). In rivers from Colorado to Scotland, whether alone or accompanied by his fishing buddy A.K. ("I enjoy fishing too much to risk my life at it. Death can really cut into your fishing time"), Gierach vividly captures both the subtle rhythms of the angling life and the natural world on which it depends.
In "The Purist," John Gierach says of fly-fishing that it "led you inexorably to one paradox after another. The idea was to catch fish, but the best writers made it evident that it was perfectly okay not to as long as you failed to catch them with the proper grace and style."
Whether he's catching fish or musing on the ones that got away, Gierach is always entertaining and enlightening, writing with his own inimitable blend of grace and style, passion and wit....Continua