Fiction and Non-Fiction Books About Fishing
October 13, 2014 8:39 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to add to my husband's very small library of books that have to do with fishing. Not limited specifically to just fishing, but more or less general maritime activities, such as crabbing, or boat-building, or mysteries of the deep....that sort of thing.

I saw this question recently, and bought that book for him. He just loves it. I have bought him a book or two on tying knots, and various fish to be found in our area. I have also given him The Old Man and The Sea, and Moby Dick. So...fiction, and non-fiction alike are welcome in this nautical bookshelf collection. He likes them all. He enjoys reading, but does not usually seek out these sorts of books on his own. Thanks so much.
posted by the webmistress to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flannagan.

Polar Star by Martin Cruz Smith (mystery set on a soviet fishing vessel, part of a series)

A River Runs Through It by Norman MaClean.

Fishing With John by Edith Iglauer

Also the TV Series Fishing With John.
posted by brookeb at 8:51 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

These are not directly about the actual act of fishing, but I really enjoyed "Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food" and "American Catch: The Fight for our Local Seafood" by Paul Greenberg.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:52 AM on October 13, 2014

The Perfect Storm.
posted by mareli at 8:56 AM on October 13, 2014

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday (also a movie)
posted by Ziggy500 at 9:00 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Voyage of the Narwhal (rescue mission seeking Franklin near the Northwest Passage).
posted by Jesse the K at 9:10 AM on October 13, 2014

Wooden Boats
Has nothing to do with fishing, but when it comes to boatbuilding.... whoo-boy.

Also check out the series of books by Patrick F. McManus - He's awesome. And hilarious.

My all-time favorite writer is Jim Harrison, and his books, especially non-fiction, have a lot about fishing in them.
posted by valkane at 9:23 AM on October 13, 2014

Please please give him Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan. A wonderful collection of anecdotes, vignettes, short stories and recollections by one of the best writers of the 60's and 70's. It is about fishing, life, love, hope and perhaps one of the best illustrations of the early "hippie" movement in the West. Also, It is wonderful book to read aloud to each other--if you are so inclined.
posted by rmhsinc at 9:26 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler (if your husband has no objections to seventeenth-century prose and verse).
posted by thomas j wise at 9:32 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

Looking for a Ship by John McPhee.

The Aubrey and Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian.

The Horatio Hornblower books.

Two Years Before the Mast
by Richard Henry Dana.

The Mutiny on the Bounty series.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:32 AM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

How about some pirates? Here's an old bibliography of mine, with my favorite pirates-in-general books:

Carse, Robert. The Age of Piracy. New York: Rinehart & Company, 1957.

Cordingly, David. Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates. New York: Random House, 1995.

Cordingly, David, ed. Pirates: Terror on the High Seas from the Caribbean to the South China Sea. North Dighton, Mass: JG Press, 1998.

Ellms, Charles. The Pirates Own Book: Authentic Narratives of the Most Celebrated Sea Robbers. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, 1993. Originally published by Samuel N. Dickinson, 1837.

Esquemeling, John (Exquemelin, A. O.). The Buccaneers of America. First English edition published in 1685.

Gosse, Philip. The Pirates’ Who’s Who, Giving Particulars of the Lives & Deaths of the Pirates and Buccaneers. London: Dulau Company, 1924.

Rediker, Marcus. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700–1750. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Stanley, Jo, ed. Bold in Her Breeches: Women Pirates Across the Ages. San Francisco: Pandora, 1995.

Winston, Alexander. No Man Knows My Grave: Sir Henry Morgan, Captain William Kidd, Captain Woodes Rogers in the Great Age of Privateers and Pirates 1665–1715. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1969.

Woodbury, George. The Great Days of Piracy in the West Indies. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1951.

...I can list more, if you like, specializing in pirate women, but this is a good place to start.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:41 AM on October 13, 2014

The cinematography of Hugh Miles is wonderful in A Passion for Angling but the books are pretty special too and can now be found at low cost on Ebay, etc. Actually, anything by Chris(topher) Yates would be a hit, I think.

Also anything by Richard Walker and Fred J Taylor would be perfect for anyone interested in angling.

You should also have a look at Coch-y-Bonddu books for inspiration - my other half is a fishing coach, this is is second home :-)

(If you'd like more specific recommendations for coarse or game angling in the UK feel free to memail me.)
posted by humph at 9:59 AM on October 13, 2014

For fiction he might enjoy the Wilbur Smith "Courtney" series:

I'd start with Birds of Prey, then Monsoon. Both are historical fiction that center around maritime activites in the 1700's. I highly recommend them both.
posted by Benway at 10:37 AM on October 13, 2014

John McPhee writes quite often about fishing and boat-related things (example). A lot of it is just a bit of a story or anecdote within an unrelated article or book, but two of McPhee's books that are wholly devoted to fishing and/or boating and well worth reading: The Founding Fish and The Survival of the Bark Canoe.
posted by flug at 10:43 AM on October 13, 2014

I love fishing and marine books. I'll cull through the list when I get home, but didn't want this to pass by without mentioning The Secret Life of Lobsters. It's one of my favorite books on any subject. It tells the story of the collapse of New England's lobster fishery and what the community did about it.
posted by advicepig at 10:44 AM on October 13, 2014

Boat Building and Boating by Dan Beard on Amazon.

The book is also Public Domain at Internet Archive.
posted by goml at 10:57 AM on October 13, 2014

Response by poster: Oh my god. This is great. I can't thank you all enough. I will sift through these nets when I get home ;)
posted by the webmistress at 11:00 AM on October 13, 2014

Popped into the thread just to make sure that Trout Fishing in America and Compleat Angler were recommended. Both terrific books, and in oddly similar ways.
posted by Iridic at 11:10 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Disclaimer: Craig is a friend, I've fished with him and his dog. His book, Drake, is a great read about fishing and dogs. You won't find it on amazon.
posted by HuronBob at 11:35 AM on October 13, 2014

"Alone Around the World" by Captain Joshua Slocum. He is the first person in recorded history to have accomplished this feat.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:37 AM on October 13, 2014

Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay by William W. Warner won the Pulitzer.

I've got Skipjack: The Story of America's Last Sailing Oystermen by Christopher White checked out of the library but haven't started it yet.
posted by apartment dweller at 11:43 AM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

The River Why.

It's a fishing story.
posted by SemiSalt at 12:50 PM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Annie Proulx's The Shipping News (1993) won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It takes place in a Newfoundland fishing village.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 1:08 PM on October 13, 2014

Seconding The River Why.
It's a lovely read.
posted by SLC Mom at 1:33 PM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding The River Why, Beautiful Swimmers and Salmon Fishing in Yemen.
posted by natasha_k at 6:47 PM on October 13, 2014

Seconding the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian. There is probably some incidental fishing in the ~20 volumes, but the series is about the adventures of a Royal Navy captain and his best friend/ship's surgeon/naturalist/spy during the Napoleonic Wars.
posted by Quietgal at 7:43 PM on October 13, 2014

If he has any interest in scientific expeditions, I'd recommend The Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck and The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin. Unsurprisingly, the former is better literature, the latter far more important scientifically. Both are nonfiction and do a great job of illustrating the scientific practice at sea (I think. I'm not a marine biologist, and I've never been out of sight of land except by air).
posted by q9f9A at 8:20 PM on October 13, 2014

The Last Grain Race is a 1956 book by Eric Newby, a travel writer, about his time spent on the four-masted steel barque Moshulu during the vessel's last voyage in the Australian grain trade.

Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition /tongue in cheek
posted by glasseyes at 9:16 AM on October 15, 2014

Uttermost Part of the Earth by Lucas Bridges is about much more than just boats & sailing, but includes some really remarkable accounts of sailing in and near Tierra del Fuego and also has some very interesting accounts of native 'canoe indians' who basically lived in their canoes in one of the coldest and least inviting environments on earth.

Somewhat related, Rounding the Horn recounts a number of stories of ships and expeditions that tried--and sometimes failed--to sail around the southernmost tip of South America.
posted by flug at 11:07 AM on October 15, 2014

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