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Fly fishing, historian Mark Kurlansky has found, is a battle of wits, fly fisher vs. fish–and the fly fisher does not always (or often) win. The targets–salmon, trout, and char; and for some, bass, tarpon, tuna, bonefish, and even marlin–are highly intelligent, wily, strong, and athletic animals. The allure, Kurlansky learns, is that fly fishing makes catching a fish as difficult as possible. There is an art, too, in the crafting of flies. Beautiful and intricate, some are made with more than two dozen pieces of feather and fur from a wide range of animals. The cast as well is a matter of grace and rhythm, with different casts and rods yielding varying results.
Kurlansky joins us via livestream to share this and other insights he has learned from a lifetime of loving fly fishing, collected in his book The Unreasonable Virtue of Fly Fishing. Known for his micro-histories, deep dives into specific subjects, he marries that reputation with a subject that has captivated him for decades. Combining history, craft, and personal memoir, he invites us all, devotees of the sport or not, to explore the necessity of experiencing nature’s balm first-hand.
Mark Kurlansky is the New York Times bestselling author of Cod, Salt, Paper, The Basque History of the World, 1968, The Big Oyster, International Night, The Eastern Stars, A Continent of Islands, and The White Man in the Tree and Other Stories. He spent ten years as Caribbean correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.