Sunday, March 17, 2002

Review: "The Barefoot Fisherman" by Paul Amdahl

I still remember fondly the days of laying my fishing pole over the handlebars of my bike and pedalling down the road and into the woods for a few hours. I had my choice of a tiny pond or a drainage canal and either one held just about all the sunfish I could catch. Of course, none of them were big enough to keep, but it was still great fun.

When I opened Paul Amdahl's "The Barefoot Fisherman: A Fishing Book for Kids" (Clearwater Publishing), I was transported back to those days with the first lines, which introduce us to a young boy trudging out to a pond, full of hope that this time he'll bring home the prize catch. Much like the boy in the book, even though I knew there was no chance of that, I still left home hopeful on every trip.

In the early part of this book, Amdahl rekindles that spirit of youth before launching into a serious explanation of fishing tools and tactics.

"The Barefoot Fisherman" takes kids through a thorough explanation of everything they'll need to get started fishing - from rods and reels to bobbers and lures. Amdahl then discusses some different species of game fish and the best strategies for catching them.

The topics of the book brought back a lot of childhood memories. Even though it's been a long time, I still fondly remember my Zebco 202. And what fisherman doesn't remember raking around in the dirt in search of some plump, juicy nightcrawlers?

If you're an adult, don't expect anything earth-shattering, though. For those of us who have been fishing for 20 years or so, it's pretty basic information. But thinking back to when I was 9 or 10 years old, I realize I would have loved to have known all of this.

For example, Amdahl talks about walking lightly around the edges of a pond and being careful not to cast a shadow on the water, because fish might think it's a predator. I thought of all the times I not only tromped loudly around my fishing area, but even waded out into the pond to reach another location. And I've never given consideration to my shadow. Hmm ... maybe there were some big fish in that pond, but I was too clumsy to catch them.

There's a good bit of information on trout in the book that won't be very helpful to young fishermen in this area. But who knows? They may have a chance to use it one day.

The book could have been made a little more entertaining through the use of more anecdotes, but information is its primary purpose - and "The Barefoot Fisherman" serves that purpose well. It's a book that will enhance the tackle box of any beginning fisherman.


Anonymous said...

nice review.

Anonymous said...

Nice review.