Book Report

Fishing: The Art of Casting, Trolling, Jigging, or Spinning, while Freezing, Sweating, Swatting, or Swearing! (A dictionary for constant anglers, weekend waders, and artful bobbers)

Fishing: The Art of Casting, Trolling, Jigging, or Spinning, while Freezing, Sweating, Swatting, or Swearing! (A dictionary for constant anglers, weekend waders, and artful bobbers). 1983. By Henry Beard and Roy McKie. Workman Publishing, New York. 96 pp. $6.95.

This little book is a jewel! According to the back cover blurb, it is “ a lexicon bringing new meaning to the art of loitering in and around water.” All of the definitions and quotes are tongue-in-cheek funny, and the cartoon illustrations are so catchy, I think I will enlarge some to decorate my section of books for fishermen! Reading, chuckling, and then laughing out loud made for a cheery day for me yesterday.

A to Z, this little book has many definitions that you will want to remember and quote, (but only to people who don’t take themselves too seriously). I would like to share all of the fishing wisdom in this book to you, but of necessity, will stick to my own favorite definitions and favorite cartoons. The book is dedicated to ... “all who have heard the call of the fish,” and under this caption we find a cartoon of a man sitting in his bathtub with his fishing hat on, pulled down, and he is practicing his casting.

SG30789.jpgThe very first dictionary definition under A, is “ Advice: two or more pieces of contradictory angling information contained in a single phrase or sentence.”

The two authors of this dictionary have written other books, including the national best sellers Sailing, and Gardening.  Henry Beard attended Harvard, is a comedy writer, co-founded National Lampoon, and is a prolific author, writing all kinds of books including “ French for Cats, and Poetry for Cats”. He once wrote for Miss Piggy, and his latest book (2015), is titled “ Spinglish, a Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language.” I assumed this book had to do with Spanglish, but of course, I was wrong. Spinglish is language, according to the author, that is used by doctors, lawyers, corporations (of course politicians), and friends who want to confuse and bamboozle you, and thus get the best of you! It is available at Amazon in different formats for $12 -$18.

The fishing dictionary covers deep sea, salt water fishing, and river and lake fishing, including ice fishing. An example of the wisdom of the dictionary is its definition of a map:” Handy schematic representation of all of the various roads in a given area that you are not currently on.”


Check out the cartoon on page 56, and the all too true definition of a party boat: A large salt water fishing craft carrying a large number of fishermen.... which ends with his advice...” under no circumstances should an individual be knocked overboard while the fish are biting,” My husband could have spoken to that. A real novice, his first fishing trip in Baja almost became a disaster when he discovered that true fishermen do not joke about fishing, and are both serious and superstitious. Beto happily joined fishing buddies on the Sea of Cortez, offered a snack of bananas to all around, and as a result, was almost thrown overboard.

The other author, Roy McKie, died this year. He was a noted illustrator, who among other books, illustrated some books for Dr. Seuss under the name of Theo Le Seig. His cartoons in the dictionary are drawn in several different styles. I particularly liked the one with examples of 12 possible headwear for serious fishermen, and also the one entitled Luck. A fisherman’s wife opens her refrigerator, and it is crammed with only fish, fish, and still more frozen fish, all of them tumbling out.

Game fish is defined by Beard as any fish that puts up as much fight as the angler’s spouse did prior to his departure. Most of the dictionary’s definitions are much longer ( and some are funnier too), than the examples I give here.

Under the entry of Rules of Thumb, Beard offers advice for situations you might not have previously considered. For example: Never drink beer in waders, on camping trips, always bring cheap books with large, soft pages, and Don’t take advice from people with missing fingers.

I’ll close with another quote from the back cover. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. 1. Sound made by patient angler waiting for a bite. 2. Sound made by an insect about to deliver one.”

I have two copies of this little book. You can also check on this and other books by these authors on Amazon. Who to give a copy to? A fisherman who has a sense of humor...or perhaps, to his wife!

Check out El Caballo bookstore in Loreto. It’s mine and I’m nearly always there.