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Trout Bum

Author: John Gierach - Item Code: 0-87108-974-2
In stock
The people, the places and the accoutrements that surround the sport make a fishing trip more than just a set of tactics and techniques. Gierach, a serious fisherman with a wry sense of humor, shows us just how much more is involved when you're a trout bum. 6x9 inches, 226 pgs.

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While most of us fly-fish to escape from daily life, for John Gierach and his friends fly-fishing IS a way of life. They are trout bums. But John Gierach is also an exceptional writer. The essays in Trout Bum are reflective, bitingly humorous and enormously wise in the ways of fishing and men. In vivid, unforgettable detail they recount the emotional, spiritual and tangible adventures and pleasures of stalking trout in and around the Rockies -- day in, day out, from season to season, with friends and alone. John Gierach's essays join the literary tradition of angling classics like The River Why, and A River Runs Through It.

1 Trout
2 Lightening the Load
3 Zen and the Art of Nymph-Fishing
4 The Bass Pond
5 Fishing Commandos
6 Camp Coffee
7 No-See-Ums
8 The Fly Collection
9 Kazan River Grayling
10 Cane Rods
11 The Fisher of Small Streams
12 Sawhill Portrait
13 Headwaters
14 Turning Pro
15 The Fly Rod
16 The Adams Hatch
17 Night-fishing
18 Cutthroat Pilgrimage
19 The Fly Box
20 On the Road

John Gierach was born in the Midwest and grew up in Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio. He graduated from Findlay College with a degree in philosophy, then moved to the West, where he discovered fly-fishing. That discovery led him to settle down on the St. Vrain River near the small town of Lyons, Colorado. John works as a free-lance writer, photographer, and newspaper columnist and has had articles published in most major fishing and outdoor magazines. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed book Flyfishing the High Country.

"Trout Bum captures the passion, confusion and left-handed poetry of modern fishing, having his heart to the rivers he fishes, John Gierach conveys the power of his experience without pretense."
--Thomas McGuane

"Trout Bum is one of those delightful finds, like Norman McLean's A River Runs Through It. John Gierach is simply one of the more wonderful outdoor writers to come down the pike in many a season. I laughed out loud on almost every page, and found much of what he has to say very lyrical and touching. This book is a treasure trove of fishy witticisms, outright belly laughs, and enough technical lore and love of nature to keep the most avid (or even the least avid) outdoors person turning pages relentlessly.

Gierach obviously loves deeply and cares for this world he has chosen to make his stand in. It's a beautiful book, humorous, sly, rich, and touching. Once you read the first page, you'll be hooked...and love every minute of it...I promise!"
--John Nichols, author of The Milagro Beanfield War, The Magic Journey, and American Blood

"A brilliant collection of narrative essays about flies, fly rods, float tubes, and just plain fishing. Trout Bum will be a classic of angling literature, not because it adheres to an ancient model, but because it updates a tradition....The way Gierach tells a story is an act of pure generosity...."
--Rod & Reel

"If you enjoy incisive comment, wry humor, and some inventive insight into trout and trout anglers, then Trout Bum is just the book for you...this is highly intelligent stuff indeed, but it is masterfully tempered by Gierach's polished and congenial style."
--Rocky Mountain Streamside

EXCERPT Chapter 1


Let's say you're nymph-fishing on Colorado's South Platte River. You've hiked up into the canyon where those deliciously deep potholes are -- the big-fish water -- but have found that today the trout are working the shallow, fast runs. It took you two hours to figure that out, but it's a good sign. They're hungry and, as your partner says, they are "looking up." You're fishing a scud pattern, not the scud pattern, but one you worked out yourself. The differences are minute but are enough to make it your fly and you are catching fish on it, which is highly satisfactory.

You're working the near edge of a fast rip about thirty yards above a strong plunge pool, flipping the weighted nymph rig upstream and following its descent with the rod tip. Your concentration is imperfect as you toy with the idea that this is okay, a fascinating and demanding way to fish, actually, but that too many days of it in a row could make you homesick for the easy grace of real fly-casting.

At the little jiggle in the leader that was just a hair too intelligent looking to be nothing but current or a rock, you raise the rod to set the hook, and there's weight. And then there's movement -- it's a fish.

It's a big fish, not wiggling, but boring, shaking its head in puzzlement and aggravation, but not in fear. It's impressive.

Almost lazily, the trout rises from the bottom into the faster current near the surface, rolls into the rip, and is off downstream. What you feel is more weight than fight, and the wings of panic begin to flutter around your throat. This is the once- or twice-a-year "oh-shit" fish. You should have tried to catch a glimpse of him when he turned -- the only glimpse you may get -- but it all happened so fast. No it didn't. It actually happened rather slowly, almost lazily, as you just pointed out.

You are careful (too careful? not careful enough?). The hook is a stout, heavy-wire number 10, but the tippet is only a 5x, about 4-pound test. The rod is an 8 1/2-foot cane with plenty of backbone in the butt, but with a nicely sensitive tip (catalog talk, but true). The drag on the reel is set light, and line is leaving it smoothly. You drop the rod to half-mast to give the fish his head and are, in fact, doing everything right. It's hopeless.

The trout is far downstream now, on the far side of the rip and the plunge, but the local topography makes it impossible for you to follow. The line is bellied, no longer pointing at the fish.

At some point you are struck by the knowledge that the trout -- that enormous trout -- is no longer attached to you and all your expensive tackle, though you missed the exact moment of separation. You reel in to find that he did not throw the hook but broke you off fairly against the weight of the river. You get a mental snapshot of your fly hanging in the hooked jaw of a heavy...what? A rainbow? More likely a brown. You'll never know.

Losing a fish like that is hard. Sure, you were going to release him anyway, but that's not the point. The plan was to be magnanimous in victory. You ask yourself, was it my fault? A typically analytical question. You can avoid it with poetry of the "it's just nice to be out fishing" variety, or you can soften it with the many levels of technical evasion, but there's finally only one answer: of course it was your fault, who else's fault would it be?

Your partner is out of sight and, although you would have hollered and screamed for him and his camera had you landed the fish, it's not even worth going to find him, now. When you finally meet in the course of leapfrogging down the canyon, you'll say that a while ago you executed an L.D.R. (long distance release) on a hawg, which will summarize the event as well as anything else you could say.

A trout, on this continent at least, is a rainbow, golden, brookie, brown, cutthroat, or some subspecies or hybrid of the above, though every fly-fisher is secretly delighted that the brook trout isn't a trout at all, but rather a kind of char, not that it matters.

Much is actually known about trout and much more is suspected. The serious fly-fisherman's knowledge of these fish draws heavily on science, especially the easygoing, slightly bemused, English-style naturalism of the last century, but it periodically leaves the bare facts behind to take long voyages into anthropomorphism and sheer poetry. Trout are said to be angry, curious, shy, belligerent, or whatever; or it's suggested that when one takes your Adams with a different rise form than he's using on the Blue-winged Olives, he "thought" it was a caddis fly. Cold science tells us that a trout's pea-
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