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Tales of Fishes

Author:  Zane Grey

Publisher:  Hodder & Stoughton - UK edition (Harper & Brothers in USA)

Date 1919

Rating:  ****


Zane Gray is undoubtedly one of the great writers on fishing. Although the purist might find his american writing different from the queens english, what matters is the story and how he coveys it.  He earned his money writing westerns, but his first love was fishing, particularly big game fishing.


This is a selection of tales brought together and they are thoroughly entertaining ranging from epic battles with swordfish that last for hours, or his early days trying to learn the art of bonefishing with little success. They all draw you in as if you are with him. However, I did find his chapter about the biology of the fish a bit long and distracting from the theme of the book.


As you read through the chapters you can feel him becoming environmentally aware as he returns small sailfish and marlin. He notes the effect of overfishing for albacore and the kelp being cut having a detrimental effect on the numbers and size of fish, and on the species that feed on them. He applauds the use of light tackle as a way forward to make angling sporting rather than the killing of fish, but also explains his dislike of  ultra light tackle (and I wholeheartedly concur) where the fish are merely chased by the boat and could die of exhaustion before it is brought to the boat.


I am a fan of his work and if you want an insight into this genre, then buy and read this book as a sample. I think it will draw you into this world and lead you on to his other more focused works which are even more absorbing.