If John Gierach is living in a fool’s paradise, then it’s a paradise that his regular readers will recognize and new fans will delight in discovering. Laced with the inimitable blend of wit and wisdom that have made him fly-fishing’s foremost scribe, Fool’s Paradise chronicles the fishing life in all its glory (catching your biggest fish ever) and squalor (being stranded in a tent during a soaking rainstorm). In Gierach’s world, both experiences are valuable, and perhaps inevitable.
Fishermen everywhere will understand Gierach’s quest to discover and explore new waters (and then not to divulge the best locations to anyone), the unlikely appeal of winter fly-fishing, or his dismay at encroaching development (“You never get to point at a meadow full of browsing mule deer and say, ‘You know, all this was once condos.’”). Braving trips on small prop planes and down “Oh-My-God” roads, Gierach and his fishing buddies pursue bull trout in British Collumbia, steelhead in the Rocky Mountains, and pike so fierce that a wise fisherman wears Kevlar gloves for the obligatory trophy photo.
Equal parts fishing lore, philosophy, and great fish stories, Fool’s Paradise may not be a perfect substitute for actually being out on the water, but it’s surely the next best thing.