Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders : A John Gierach Fly-Fishing Treasury

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9780684868592: Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders : A John Gierach Fly-Fishing Treasury

Brilliant, witty, perceptive essays about fly-fishing, the natural world, and life in general by the acknowledged master of fishing writers.

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 die-hard 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. 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.

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Review:

There are two things no dedicated fly-fisher can really have enough of: a decent selection of flies on the stream and a decent selection of John Gierach off of it. Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders should go a good way toward satisfying the latter. In this "greatest hits" of essays culled from Gierach's previous collections, the genial wit and astute observer behind Another Lousy Day in Paradise, Dances with Trout, and Trout Bum reels in 40 of his favorite keepers. Considering the quality of Gierach's writing, calling Headwaters a "treasury" is no fish tale at all.

Reading Leaky Waders is like recalling some memorably productive afternoons on the stream with an old fishing buddy. Writing about his sport and his adventures, Gierach is naturally writing about much more: "I've always tried to figure out what a story is about," he'll admit readily. "It's something other than the fishing but that wouldn't have come up without the fishing." As in "The Purist," an essay from The View from Rat Lake: it's vintage Gierach, an excuse to use fishing to open a window onto human nature. "What is it about fly-fishing," he asks,

that attracts ... those people who must engineer a corner of their lives--sometimes a pretty large corner--where things have to be done properly? I'm not sure I know, but whatever it is, it's why the sport can be used to define the very existence of the practitioner.
From there, he connects, with deft precision, the seemingly diverse strands of his own experience as a plumber's helper, a fire on the Cuyahoga River, Zen, a little fishing history, a brief meditation on the dry fly, B.B. King, such noted anglers as G.E.M. Skues and Gierach's own great fishing accomplice A.K. Best, Idaho's Three Rivers Ranch on the Henry's Fork, and a graceful dismissal of snootiness and pretension. It's a skillful performance. Before you're finished with Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders, you'll find 39 more that are just as good. --Jeff Silverman

About the Author:

John Gierach is the author of numerous books on fly-fishing, including A Fly Rod of Your Own. His work has appeared in Field & Stream, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and Fly Rod & Reel, where he is a regular columnist. He also writes a column for the monthly Redstone Review. He lives in Lyons, Colorado. Visit JohnGierachBooks.com.

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