trout bum john gierachI don’t know about you guys, but to me, the fly fishermen were born the day I watched the movie A river runs through it.  The movie was adapted from the famous Norman Maclean’s story. Since then, I’ve spotted them fishing in Quebec or in Montana rivers, their bodies, up in water, they’re dancing with the river.

The fly fishermen, in the movie and later the real ones have always seemed possessed by some kind of magic only them can see. Far away from the lambda fisherman, sitting ob his ass all day long and waiting for the fish to “bite”, the fly fishermen are engaged in a duet with nature.

These men intimate me, they’re quiet. They don’t talk.  I watch them but I never try talking to them, as I fear to break this magical moment they share with nature. They enjoy being by themselves, standing in the river, bending their bodies, throwing their fishing line in the air.

John Gierach writes perceptive essays about this art of fly-fishing. What is great about these “trout bums”, is that Gierach gives us the opportunity to follow one – whether it’s with him in the currents or in his cabin, drinking a beer or fabricating a fly – we’re here with him. Up close and personal. From season to season, alone or with his friends, we’re watching. Gierach is opening the door of this magical world to us.

The making of a fly requires time and patience, and everything I don’t have. And Gierach gives us precised details of this sport or art (you choose). The fly-fishing requires devotion and I’m impressed !

What I enjoy about fly-fishing is this close relationship with nature, the men know the places to go, mostly unknown to us. Treasure lands. As in Robin McArthur’s stories collection, these places are only known by a handful of them. Between these men and nature, a silent contract was signed. And if fly-fishing can sound as a hobby or a way to escape daily life, John Gierach and his friends turn it into a way of life. (Like surfers)

If like me, you don’t know much about fly-fishing, you will soon learn the vocabulary, the names of the flies, the fishing rods, all the stuff. The most passionnate and dedicated ones fabricate their own flies with feathers or hairs.

The first official source about fly-fishing goes back to 1496 in The book of St Alban. Back then, fishing was, with horseriding and sword fighting considered an art, the first time men were to make their own preys, called “flies”. For a long time, fishing was just one way of feeding yourself. Now, the fly-fishing has changed drastically. Most of them practise the no-killing – this is the zen part of this book. Fly-fishing and serenity. 

“Trout are among those creatures who are one hell of a lot prettier than they need to be. They can get you to wondering about the hidden workings of reality.”

When you see a fly fisherman, your first thought is of a painting. The quietness, the serenity that surrounds him. The fisherman makes one with nature. And he takes pleasure in doing simple things, such as camping or enjoying a beer with his pals.

Dreamers or fishermen, that book is for you ! And don’t miss the introduction of the book written by Peter Fromm.  It’s a must !