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Robert Traver (John Voelker) on Fishing
with fishing photos featuring Gerry Mantel & friends
©2010 Gerald E. Mantel. All rights reserved.


   the abiding mysteries of fish

Fishing, my research discloses, is older even than love and chess.

Anatomy of a Fisherman


 

vintage photo of Gerry Mantel celebrating a big catch
Fishing is such great fun, I have often felt,
that it really ought to be done in bed.
Trout Magic
 
Gerry Mantel fishing in Wisconsin
Fishermen are a cultured and worldly lot;
their broad and diversified interests make them
delightful and even absorbing companions;
they’ll talk about anything under the sun
so long as it concerns fishing—preferably
with themselves in a stellar role.
Trout Madness
 
a young fisherman on a winter day
For I now embrace the heresy
that the ‘best’ time to go fishing
is when you can get away.
Trout Madness
 
serene lakeside fishing
For among fishermen, as in the stock market,
there are bulls and bears, the plungers and the
timid souls, the lambs and the foxes, the avid ones
and the dreamy fugitives from Walden.
Anatomy of a Fisherman
 
Lake Superior fisherman
Humility and open-mindedness
sometimes catch far more fish than all the wise guys.
Anatomy of a Fisherman
 
Gerry Mantel fishing in Alaska

Fishermen are a perverse and restless lot,
constantly poised to migrate to greener pastures,
ever helpless recruits for the wild-goose chase.

Trout Madness

 
measuring the catch
Most fishermen, being human, naturally prefer
recounting their little triumphs
rather than their many failures—
as our outdoor magazines so regularly and richly prove.

Trout Magic
 
a good catch in Wisconsin
Perhaps we veer closest to penetrating
the fisherman’s troubled psyche when we remember
that in all fishing there is a persistent pattern
of pursuit, capture, and exhaustion.

Anatomy of a Fisherman
 
2008 fishing contest for kids in Michigan's U. P.
Fishing is unlike any other sport in the world,
indoors or out—all of which, indeed, is a good part
of its mystique and charm; fishing, when it’s done for fun—
and what other reason is there?—has really little
or nothing to do with athletes or their little games.

Showdown at Cedar Swamp
 
fishing boat in still water

Fishing is essentially a lonely pursuit I have learned;
best enjoyed in solitude, one’s sense of isolation
from the scurrying man-swarm being in itself
a good part of the fun.

Trout Magic

 
a good day's catch
Every fisherman has his favorite fishing spot,
to which he returns with all the hypnotic fascination
that lures the murderer back to the scene of his crime.

Anatomy of a Fisherman
 
Alaskan Salmon run
… for one likes to think there’s still a touch of Thoreau
in every fisherman.

“Gamboling at Frenchman’s”
 
fishing in Alaska

Most fishermen swiftly learn that it’s a pretty good rule never to show a favorite spot to any fisherman
you wouldn’t trust with your wife …

Trout Magic

 
fishing cousins
…not because I regard fishing as being
so terribly important but because I suspect
that so many of the other concerns of men
are equally unimportant—and not nearly so much fun.

Anatomy of a Fisherman
 
catch of the day on the St. Mary's River, late August 2009

It took me many years to learn
that some of the most memorable rewards of fishing
possess neither gills nor fins.

“Treed by Trout”

 


Gerry Mantel fishing in Oregon

still life of a day's catch on the shoreline

 

Collage of well-worn fishing books by Robert Traver

 

   

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