Born to Fish

“I learned a lot from fishing. A good fisherman looks for patterns. When there are changes, good fishing or bad, he seeks the explanatory variable: Is the water low, cold or cloudy? Is the sun bright? Are insects rising from the surface? Are green worms falling from the trees? Does the bait work best when stationary or retrieved? Fast retrieve or slow retrieve? Fishing gave me lessons in the value of observation, experience and practical memory. I was abstract and dreamy in the rest of my life, sometimes dangerously so, but as a fisherman I was an empiricist, grounded in fact.” Lou Ureneck, author of the excellent new Backcast: Fatherhood, Fly-fishing, and a River Journey Through the Heart of Alaska (St. Martin’s, September 2007, 304 pages), recounts a fishing childhood in The New York Times.

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