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The Author of ‘Cod’ Takes on Fly-Fishing

Fishing Books

We caught up with author and angler Mark Kurlansky on Thursday, July 15, before he disappeared into the Alaskan wilds for a week’s fishing.

Kurlansky will be at House of Books in Kent, Conn., on Thursday, Aug. 12, 6 p.m. to talk about his new book, “The Unreasonable Virtue of Fly-Fishing.”

He said the book is “a bit personal,” addressing the fundamental question: “Why fly-fish?”

“It’s the most difficult method,” he mused. “You’re starting with the odds against you.”

Fooling a fish with a fly designed to imitate an insect represents “an intimate involvement with the natural order.”

“You have to convince a fish that this is really an insect.”

The book covers his own fishing journey and the history of fly-fishing, and the development of tackle. Kurlansky said he grew up in New England and did a lot of surfcasting in salt water.

He began his fly-fishing career in upstate New York, and has since fished around the world — including Scotland, Kamchatka and the Basque country in Spain.

He said he’s perfectly willing to chase salmon and other species, but when push comes to shove, he’s usually after trout.

He confessed he has never caught a brook trout. The interviewer let that one sit for a moment, then casually mentioned he might be able to help.

He also admitted to being a dry fly enthusiast. (A dry fly, as the name suggests, floats on the surface, and the angler sees in addition to feeling the strike.)

“With a dry fly you see the whole process,” he said.

“It’s quite remarkable, having this dialogue with this fish.”

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