Fly fishing books: Fool’s Paradise by John Gierach

We’ve got a few copies of John Gierach’s latest book, Fool’s Paradise down at the shop. Stop by and pick one up if you’re a Gierach fan. We asked him a few questions while he was in Eugene back in May on his book tour.

Fool's Paradise

Gierach on fishing writers burning spots: Ed Engle has a saying, he won’t name a river he can roll cast across, and he can roll cast a hell of a long way. I tend to err on the side of caution.

Gierach on bamboo fly rods: The whole bamboo subculture has changed over 20 years. I was buying them for $25, but some of my rods got so expensive I stopped fishing them and it weirded me out.

At the reading, Gierach joked about Signs of Life, a “thin book of poetry” he wrote in 1976 that has been out of print for years. He’s seen copies of the book selling online for more than he made on the entire edition. He also joked about how he and Engle did a little “Running Down the Man” in Baja. Engle said “I’ve known you 35 years and this is the first time I’ve seen you run.”

This latest book has a lot of great essays, and some of my favorite lines are excerpted below:

I don’t have any illusions about permanence, nor do I necessarily fear change except that it’s so seldom for the better. It’s just that I can live with any number of things going straight to hell as long as these streams continue to hold up.

Fishing is nothing more than the often successful search for something genuine in a world where we’re increasingly comfortable with things like coffee “creamer” that’s guaranteed to have no actual dairy products. We’re so used to the fake and the packaged that encountering something real can amount to a borderline religious experience.

Your average trout is like your typical barn cat: tightly wound, perpetually hungry and operating on the predatory rule that if it runs, you should chase it, kill it and then see if it’s good to eat. In other words, you swing wet flies for the same reason that you should never run from a bear or mountain lion.

I’ve only been to a handful of meetings in my life. More than half of them quickly degenerated into droning nonsense, and the few that didn’t would have gone on just fine without me.

-MS

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