NOT ALL fishing books are about the mechanics of it all. Sure we all need to have insights into the seemingly infinite permutations of rod, line, hooks, bait, wind and wave which make the gentle art of angling so absorbing.  Unquestionably I would have been less of an angler without the wisdom gleaned from Sawyer and and Skues and repeated calls to reference works by Goddard and Headley.

But while a Silverstone grand prix would be nothing without a wheel change specialist, motorsport is something more than the sum of its parts.  And so it is with fishing.  And those who can capture even a fraction of its mysteries, its place in life’s big jigsaw, with a few well chosen words, deserve all my praise.

So in the spirit of Not Exactly Fishing, here are my Top 10 reads. Without going into a review, McGuane, who has a list of worthy fishing books the length of your rod behind him, wins it with The Longest Silence. For the simple reason that it seems to touch the very soul of fishing.

If there is demand, I’ll set up a little poll to see where reader’s own thoughts lie. Meantime, it might provide some ideas for Christmas.

  1. The Longest Silence, Thomas McGuane
  2. 'Touches the soul of angling'
    'Touches the soul of angling'
  3. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
  4. Hooked, Fen Montaigne
  5. The Loch Fisher’s Bible, Stan Headley
  6. Nymphs and the Trout, Frank Sawyer
  7. Fools Paradise, John Gierach
  8. In Visible Waters, John Bailey
  9. A Jerk on One End, Robert Hughes
  10. Trout Flies of Stillwater, John Goddard
  11. The Trout and I, Jon Beer

And Five that didn’t make it . . .

  1. Trout Madness, Robert Traver
  2. Fishing in Utopia, Andrew Brown
  3. Dark Waters, Russell Chatham
  4. The Habit of Rivers, Ted Leeson
  5. My Secret Fishing Life Nick Lyons