Interesting to see this excellent commentary and also interesting to see the name "Freshet Press" absent . . .so far. Many of those re-releases of classics were done by Mike Cohen and Bud Frasca and their little company. Books by Charlie Fox and Bus Grove come to mind along with Greased Line Fishing for Salmon by "Jock Scott" and many others. I had a ball for a few years working with Nick Lyons as well as Mke Cohen and the guys at WInchester Press when we were putting together the Field & Stream Book Club. Knopf had more than a few wonderful titles then, too, thanks to the wonderful work of Angus Cameron -- without a doubt the finest editor with whom I ever had the privilege of working. It was a blessing to work in that brief "golden age" of fly fishing (and upland bird hunting) books.mikevalla wrote:Bob, you would also be aware (along with other guys from our era, such as Esopus Ed) that Nick Lyons made his mark in the publishing world via the string of re-releases of old fly fishing classics. Books that hit the shelves in the 1969-1972 era such as Modern Dry Fly Code, A Book of Trout Flies, Streamside Guide, etc. got many of us pumped up. These were, in essence, instructional yet quite literary. We've moved away from literary fly fishing titles to "photo books," filled with page after page of what are commonly called fish hero shots.
There was a time, as I've said countless times before, when fly fishing was known as the most literary of the sports. There was a time when fly fishing authors were less concerned with the end game goal, netting a big fish. Writers were foraging verbs and gerundives, not photos of gargantuan-size fish.
I'm struck right now by the remarkable sales showing of the re-release of The Fly and the Fish. I find great joy in what is happening with this book.
When I look at my book collection I'm amazed at the number of different publishers represented among the older books. Macmillan and Prentice-Hall are there (Schwiebert and McClane respectively) along with AS Barnes, Ronald Press, St Martins and others, either long gone or well away from the fishing business now.
And yes, it is regrettable that a collection of fishing "stories" would have a hard time finding the light of day in today's market. I was dismayed today to open the mail and find the annual report of the Henry's Fork Foundation illustrated with a classic "grip and grin" picture of the executive director with the rod balanced across his shoulders. It seems the modern motive is to try and turn traditionalists away from the game.
Apologies for the rant.