A Fly Rod of Your Own, the newest installation of fly fishing books by John Gierach, takes the reader from fishing small Rocky Mountain streams in Northern Colorado to discovering untouched salmon runs by float plane in the wild interior of Alaska. Gierach, a brook trout aficionado, describes catching 10-inchers within minutes of his Colorado home to 7 and 8-pound monster brookies in Labrador, Canada. A Fly Rod of Your Own delivers tales of fishing in far off locations that only a few select anglers get to see in their lifetime. Gierach’s glue, that keeps the reader tuned in even though the destinations seem much too far-fetched, is his mid-western humility in describing everything from morning fly shop coffee talk to landing a huge landlocked salmon with frozen fingers and toes. Gierach doesn’t focus on the pretentiousness that is often associated with fly fishing and especially exotic fishing destinations, but rather deftly keeps us connected to his stories by sharing the details that every fisherman has encountered regardless of the grandeur of the trip.
I can’t say that I’ve always been a Gierach fan but I have been a Gierach fan since the first time I picked up one of his books some 16 or 17 years ago. I’ve met Mr. Gierach on a few occasions, mostly at one of his book signings or other industry related events. Once on a stream in Rocky Mountain National Park while guiding a group of three. He was easy to spot; gray beard, felt hat, bamboo rod, and an ease to his cast was the clear mark of a well-practiced trout fisherman. We needed to hi-hole him (leap frog him upstream – a discourteous move that should be in bold text in the unwritten rules of fly fishing etiquette) to continue our upstream path. He had obviously put in upstream of where we had started and we were moving at a quicker pace than he and his partner. I, of course, asked his permission first and he gladly obliged, appreciating the importance of getting every client on a fish during a guided trip. My clients didn’t understand the gravity of seeing John Gierach on the water but I believe they appreciated getting on fish just slightly upstream once we cut wide through the overgrown forest.
On the water or on paper, John Gierach is a gracious man. On paper, his stories are easy to follow, humorous, timely, poignant, and keep you itching to cast an artificial bug even in the dead of winter. Each chapter tells of a different adventure Gierach has undertaken, all which are completely relatable by even the most novice of anglers.
If you’ve never read any of Gierach’s work, there’s no better time to start than now. Even though he has, published numerous books, along with countless magazine articles, each reads independently of the other and therefore a fan can be born at any time, with any of his works. A Fly Rod of Your Own is a must-have for everyone; whether you are a fly angler, a fan of good literature, or both.