The Female Fly Fisher's Rookie Year

December 24, 2004 By: Marshall Cutchin

Sasquatch Books released a title back in 1997 that doesn’t get much play in the press but which deserves more notice. I Don’t Know Why I Swallowed the Fly, by Jessica Maxwell (Avon, 1997), is the author’s lyrical take on becoming a fly fisher. Set on the northwest coast of the U.S., it’s a light-hearted look at what it means to transform oneself to fit a sport. “Waves build and crest and break with a one-two-three waltzing grace. The spaces between them let you breathe, little aquatic mezzanines where your mind can sit back, put its feet up, smoke a cigar. Rivers offer anglers no such luxury. They hit the ground running, and run non-stop, 24 hours a day, year after panting year, and you are expected to keep up with them. This, I think, explains the inherent hyperactivity of fly-fishing, the merciless casting, the endless exchange of one perfectly good fishing hole for another, the chronic wading when sitting on the dock of the bay, so to speak, would do just fine.” Jill Cassidy reviewed the book in the Arizona Republic.