“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after”
— Henry David Thoreau
I was five years old when I caught my first fish. It was a rockfish (what we now know as a striper-technically the Atlantic striped bass Morone saxatilis) and I reeled it in, all by skinny self, from the Chesapeake Bay. I can close my eyes and it is as clear to me today as it was then. My older brother Jack, along with my dad, were on his friend John C. Lewis’ 48-ft. boat out of Baltimore. From that moment on, I was hooked, pun intended.
All my life, except for a few years away at college, I have lived within walking distance of the Yellow Breeches Creek or the Susquehanna River. I will be the first to admit that I have not fished every season in the last 65 years. Pursuing a career as a professional graphic designer and helping my wife raise a family have at times kept the rods and reels on the wall for weeks if not months at a time. And all of those in-between times, after family, and fishing, has come a lifelong love of reading. My closest, lifelong friends will attest that it all started with comic books. My first real grown-up novel, James Michener‘s The Source was given to me by my Uncle Jim McIlyar for my 11th birthday. To this day it remains one of my favorites.
I read nonfiction and poetry as well as fiction. Literature about fishing has always been an obvious, but not exclusive favorite. Everything from Hemingway’s ubiquitous The Old Man and the Sea to the hard-to-find The Longest Silence by Thomas McGuane can still be found through your local library.
My non-fiction recommendations, in no particular order would include The Compleat Angler published in 1653 by Izaak Walton, A Modern Dry-Fly Code by local legend Vince Marinaro, and Fly Fishing through the Midlife Crisis by former New York Times editor Howell Raines.
As for fiction, my favorite authors include Keith McCafferty, Norman Maclean, David James Duncan and William Tapply.
So whatever your interest might be, visit often and support your local library. As my best fishing buddy always reminds me, “you can’t catch any fish if your line isn’t in the water.”
Jim Painter, DAPL Board President
“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.