Whitefish Can't Jump: And Other Tales of Gamefish on the Fly

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9780070642485: Whitefish Can't Jump: And Other Tales of Gamefish on the Fly

In these 19 lyrical stories, Don Thomas takes you to many places: Christmas Island in search of bonefish; an Alaskan river where boating a huge rainbow becomes momentarily more important than avoiding a mid-stream collision with a nine-foot grizzly; a far northern pond and an encounter with the Ultimate Northern Pike; Belize and the quixotic quest to take a permit on a fly, marred only slightly by a failed marriage and a Blue Crab Special stuck firmly in a philosophical guide's ear; Yellowstone's Lewis Lake for a young daughter's first brown trout on a fly; and Siberia, where Dolly Varden, Kundzha, and vodka combine to thaw the cold war. From each story, we learn a little about fishing and a lot about life.

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Review:

Having practiced medicine for more than 20 years in Alaska and Montana, E. Donnall Thomas Jr. packs an impressive résumé for a trout bum. But as he points out in one of the essays in this intelligent, good-humored collection, his years of experience can all be reduced to a means to an end: fly-fishing. These days, writing about the sport serves a similar purpose for Thomas, and he demonstrates a thorough understanding of the genre in Whitefish Can't Jump, shifting seamlessly between memoir, travelogue, philosophic musing, and scientific inquiry. Each of the 19 essays centers on a particular species of gamefish, but taxonomy is merely a springboard for the stories and observations that lurk behind the species' Latin names like brown trout under the cutbanks: a hooked rainbow nearly provokes a mid-river contretemps with a swimming grizzly, an impossible northern pike provides an evening distraction en route to a new job, and cutthroats inspire a remembrance of the journey of Lewis and Clark. Whitefish is a welcome addition to fly-fishing literature.

From the Back Cover:

"Some of the best writing I have seen in not one, but three genres--angling travelogues, fly-fishing memoirs, and popular, piscatorial natural-science writing."--Gray's Sporting Journal. "This is one of the best and most original books on fish, as well as fly-fishing for them, that I've read in years."--Fly Rod & Reel. "May he continue his writing career."--Booklist. "A bright, entertaining, often funny book."--Fly Fishing Salt Waters. "Like Hemingway and Yeats, Thomas presents the technique in real terms."--New York Outdoors. "You don't need to own a fly rod--or even like fish, for that matter--to enjoy this book."--Arizona Adventure. "I couldn't put the book down and reread a few of the stories several times."--On the Water. "His writing rings with the love of the natural world and the beautiful scenery he paints into his story."--Lincoln News (Maine) Purely lyrical, celebrating a love and a reverence for nature and for life itself, these open-hearted tales of fly fishing require no passion for the sport. The slightest interest in words, or in people, or in places is quite enough. So go ahead, dip in. We guarantee you'll be hooked.

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