Taut Lines:

Extraordinary True Fishing Stories

It’s entirely true that the idea behind this book is hardly original; it contains great fishing stories. Some of the names will be familiar—Zane Gray, Rudyard Kipling, Izaak Walton, James Prosek—but most will be totally unfamiliar. And although the stories all contain fish and fishing, Pierce has tried to extend the field, to push the reader beyond the usual, and predictable, anthologies of man against fish (with man generally winning). These stories are broader in their reach and sweep; they present a wide emotional range. Many were written by women; the topography ranges from the Sierras to Afghanistan, and there is as much meditative tranquility and resonance in these tales as the requisite stories of landing (or losing) “the big one.” To be sure, there are the great stories of big fish by angling legends, but there are also stories of human connections, of challenge and pathos, of the peace, even the spirituality, that comes with being a part of nature, and the companionship, or solitude, that comes with fishing. Cameron manages to include examples of every type of angling experience, each a classic in its own right, writing that is by turns strange, whimsical, instructional and sometimes heartbreaking. Most species are represented, and not always in the usual places: trout fishing in Africa, salmon fishing in Iceland, carp in California, spring walleyes in Minnesota, and even killer sharks on the screen. (Remember Jaws?) If you or anyone you know is looking for a superb anthology that contains something for any Complete Angler, look no further. This is the book.

To write about fishing, like nature and travel, seems to tease the best out of the best writers. That they are typically passionate about the subject helps, but the trio of genres also deal with solitude, challenging conditions, patience, inclement weather, introspection, and nature’s occasional brutality. Fishing, in fact, is incidental to a few of the better stories in Taut Lines, but anglers will feel closer to their sport than ever.

— Matt Sutherland, Foreword Reviews

Cameron Pierce is the author of thirteen books, ranging from award-winning fiction to aquatic horror and fables of the outdoors. His work has appeared in over fifty publications, including Gray’s Sporting Journal, The Barcelona Review, Hobart, The Big Click, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn. He is also the author of the former column Fishing and Beer, where he interviewed acclaimed angler Bill Dance and John Lurie of Fishing with John. He lives near the Columbia River with his wife and daughter in Astoria, Oregon.