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The Catfish As Metaphor

A Fisherman’s American Journey

Based on a three-month, cross-country angling idyll, The Catfish As Metaphor reveals there is much to be learned from what is arguably the most popular gamefish within the most popular outdoor sport in the country. For those eager with rod and reel, M.H. Salmon fishes with some of the best catfishers in America, and passes along a variety of knowledge, lore, and techniques. But this book reads more like a novel than a guide. Reaching back into a lifetime of fishing, the author recounts pike and bass from the wilds of Canada, huge gator gar from the deep South, trout on a fly from the New Mexico mountains, and carp in Montana. Meanwhile, he critiques organic farming and agri-business, visits Wendell Berry and John Graves, blasts animal rights and political correctness, and talks about women. There were “days when the Red Gods smiled, and all those others when they spit in your eye; and, as age gathers in its middle years, the incoming fear that one is perhaps leaving too much slack in the line.” And through it all he weaves the story of a father, the troubled tale of a uniquely American life, the man who would ultimately reveal to a son why fishing is so important in our time “as possibly our last link with the eternal verities of nature and pursuit.” By the last cast, it’s apparent that those who do not fish can catch as much from this book as any angler.

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