“I don’t know why I fish, or why others fish, except that it makes us think and feel.”—Roderick Haig-Brown, 1946
Since the first copy of the Yale Anglers’ Journal appeared in 1996, readers with an interest in fish and fishing have opened the pages of each issue with anticipation and delight. YAJ’s founders suspected that others would share their passion for literature and art related to angling; what they had not fully anticipated was the intensity of enthusiasm from readers and writers everywhere. Perhaps they shouldn’t have been surprised. Statistics tell us that 35 million Americans regularly fish, and among their numbers are presidents and students, old and young, the famous and the unknown, the busy and the idle.
This anthology presents a selection of 50 stories, recollections, essays, and poems featured in the Yale Anglers’ Journal during its first remarkable decade. Accompanied by original artwork from James Prosek, these writings all celebrate fish and the experience of fishing, yet they could hardly be more diverse. Some evoke a nostalgic earlier time, others vibrate with excitement, and still others offer a humorous view of life’s surprises. The contributions come from well-known current writers, little-known newcomers, and even authors of antiquity, such as Homer, who had a thing to say about fishing. Anyone who has felt a line pull tight, or is curious to know why the experience has inspired anglers throughout human history, will want to open the pages of this inviting book.
“So here is where I came out as I entered my fiftieth year….I believe in a balanced life. I do not want to fish all the time….But I have learned that I am also a person who has to be able to go fishing whenever I can and for as long as I want to go.”—from “Amare O Pescare,” by Howell Raines