Tag Archives: Departure Publishing

DIY

A tree falls across the road barricading you from where you want to go and there’s no way around it and the people already past it aren’t going to stop and look back on your account, so the only thing to do is pour gasoline into the chainsaw.

DIY is the prevailing ethic behind most of the blogs out there in the fly subculture. There are no set rules as to what one is or has to be and anyone that tells you otherwise is not worth the breath he just wasted.

I am proud to be part of two projects that have come forth via DIY channels in the past year, with my participation in them a direct result of doing this blog. Allow me to self-promote:

The Blitz: Fly Fishing The Atlantic Migration, conceived by the photographer Tosh Brown and published through his independent small press, Departure Publishing, which he created to fill a void. (Check out the other books on the roster.)

Pulp Fly: Volume One came out in April, but it started way before that. Bjorn Stromness of Bonefish on the Brain came up with the idea and assembled a roster of contributors–of completely different ages, backgrounds, home waters, influences, styles, motivations, and reasons for putting pen to paper. The stories are as different from each other as the people who wrote them, and that’s what I like most about it. (Homogeneity kills.) And that we did this ourselves.

BOOK REVIEW: Marquesa

Marquesa is a book penned well before the existence of blogs, but it is the type of published work every fly fishing blogger wishes he’d written. Author Jeffrey Cardena’s  account of his solitary venture by houseboat in the Marquesas Keys, an atoll sitting 30 miles west of Key West, is as compelling a first person fishing narrative as you’ll read.

Cardenas was, and still is, a well-regarded Keys fishing guide, but his words are not confined to that world. He writes without pretense, in a natural voice that perfectly reflects his sheer joy and wonderment from being immersed in this wilderness with tarpon, permit, sharks and even cassiopea.  He limits his descriptions of the actual fly fishing–a very good thing–and when he does talk about it he avoids altogether the angler as hunter-hero stalking prey vibe that bogs down much outdoor writing. Plus, Cardenas is well aware of the historical, cultural, and political significance of his surroundings and his weaving of that into the work gives it heft.

It seems weird to be writing a review of a book first published in 1995. But it has been out of print for years now and, in the process has attained a cult status. I first heard of it in a conversation two years ago, and had been trying in vain to find a copy not selling for $400 on eBay. That Departure Publishing** has republished it as an ebook has given it a rebirth and an entirely new audience. (It parallels the release of Tarpon on dvd, both in buzz and in quality of content.)

As an ex-Floridian who never made the crossing to the Marquesas Keys, I had great expectations for this book. Marquesa met them; I found it hard to put the Kindle down. Cardenas ends the book perfectly but too soon. I want more, and more than ever, I want to get there.

$9.99, Departure Publishing

**(Yeah, my book is published by Departure too, but I have no vested interest in posting about this one. I paid full price for it and wrote this review unsolicited.)

My Life As A Hand Model

©Tosh Brown Photography.

You can see a few more close-ups of my digits in Tosh Brown’s gallery here.

There are actually a lot of pictures of better fly anglers, as it’s the second wave of photos from our in-progress book project. It ain’t about me. It’s about guys like Bob Popovics and the Salty Flyrodders and Jason Puris and John Page Williams. Guys who drop what they’re doing and alter their life patterns around the migrations of fish. And also the guides and conservationists who make it all their life’s work.

We’ve got a couple of more legs to go, and some of us have a couple thousand more words to write, but it’s all good.