Proving that fishing is not just a part-time pursuit, At the Grave of the Unknown Fisherman takes us through a year with America’s favorite fishing scribe, John Gierach, who dedicates himself to his passion despite his belief that “In the long run, fishing usually amounts to a lifetime of pratfalls punctuated by rare moments of perfection.” Beginning with an early spring expedition to barely thawed Wyoming waters and ending with a New Year’s Eve trip to the Frying Pan River in Colorado, Gierach’s travels find him fishing for trout, carp, and grayling; considering the pros and cons of learning fishing from videos (“video fishing seems a little like movie sex: fun to watch, but a long way from the real thing”); pondering the ethics of sharing secret spots; and debunking the myth of the unflappable outdoorsman (“masters of stillness on the outside, festering s***holes of uncertainty just under the surface”). With an appreciation of the highs, the lows, and all points between, Gierach writes about the fishing life with wisdom, grace, and the well-timed wisecrack. As he says, “The season never does officially end here, but it ends effectively, which means you can fish if you want to and if you can stand it, but you don’t have to.” As any Gierach fan knows, want to and have to are never very far apart.
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