“Back Seat With Fish” by Henry Hughes – Fly Fishing Book Review

| May 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Poet Henry Hughes’ book, “Back Seat with Fish – A Man’s Adventures in Angling and Romance,” is a far ranging autobiography that documents Hughes earliest fishing experiences and memories on Long Island through growing up and into a life as an observer writer of his observations.

I asked Dr.Hughes about his memories of his early fishing years, and how he documented them. “I’ve kept a journal off and on, and wrote and received lots of letters since high school … I kept detailed journals in college and during my time in Asia. The early years on Long Island were retrieved through memory and in revisiting all those places and talking to lots of people.”

henry hughes back seat with fish

As the book unfolds, and Hughes matures through life, his writing also matures and the horizons of his fishing adventures take him across oceans to Japan, China, Malaysia and Alaska are all penned on his map. Not only does he fish these faraway places, Hughes also drinks in the culture, eats fish we would never imagine.

Hughes’ awareness of how the environment effects fish; catching certain fish because of new conservation efforts, and finding none when a favorite place is fished out – also becomes more sharp and important as his fishing life continues.

“We all know conservation is key, and when I saw the human degraded waters of East Asia, I became especially worried about what could happen to America. We can’t let industry and land development get out of control. I lobby and vote in favor of environmental protection. I’m not against growth and industry, but we can’t go the way of China with polluted air and water,” Dr. Hughes said.

There’s a heavy dose of his personal relationships that certainly add a dimension to the journey, and some may say this is a “guy’s book” because of his attention to detail, and willingness to use a woman’s fishing IQ as a primary measure of compatibility.

This book does have mature subject matter. I asked Dr. Hughes how he would rate the age appropriateness of “Back Seat With Fish,” and he said, “I asked my wife’s opinion because she teaches young adult fiction and has a good sense of appropriate material. She says that Back Seat with Fish is okay for readers over 16. As you know, there are references to sex, alcohol and marijuana.”

Along the way Hughes contemplates the deeper questions we long-time anglers think about in slower moments. Do the fish feel pain? Why is there such joy in feeling a fish struggle? Hughes looks fish in the eye, and knows that he must kill and eat some of them. He also gave me an interesting recipe for cooking one of his favorite fish, the common carp.

You can find Henry Hughes writing for magazines, like Gray’s Sporting Journal, and The Flyfishing and Tying Journal. “Back Seat with Fish” is available from Skyhorse Publishing at www.skyhorsepublishing.com.

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Category: Fish Art, Fly Fishing For Carp, Life Observed, Literature, Paid Reading Content

About the Author ()

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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