Fisherman’s Luck, and Some Other Uncertain Things by Henry Van Dyke

Written in 1899 this collection of essays on fishing and life was a bit different from your typical fish story – but in all the good ways. Here are a few lines from some of my favorites:

A Wild Strawberry

” I tasted the odour of a hundred blossoms and the green shimmering of innumerable leaves and the sparkle of sifted sunbeams and the breath of highland breezes and the song of many birds and the murmur of flowing streams, – all in a wild strawberry.”


“The inventor of the familiar maxim that “fishermen must not talk’ is lost in the mists of antiquity, and well deserves his fate. … Why  in the name of all that is genial, should anglers go about their harmless sport in stealthy silence like conspirators, or sit together in a boat, dumb, glum, and penitential, like naughty schoolboys on the bench of disgrace?”

A Fatal Success

“It is just a kind of a defect, due to her education, of course. In everything else she’s magnificent. But she doesn’t care for fishing.”

A Lazy, Idle Brook

“Indolence is a virtue. It comes from two Latin words, which mean freedom from anxiety or grief. And that is a wholesome state of mind.”

The Open Fire

“Wood is the fuel for it. Out-of-doors is the place for it. A furnace is an underground prison for a toiling slave. A stove is a cage for a tame bird. Even a broad hearthstone and a pair of glittering andirons – the best ornament of a room – must be accepted as an imitation of the real thing. The veritable open fire is built in the open, with the whole earth for a fireplace and the sky for a chimney.”

Finally my personal favorite:

The Thrilling Moment

“Such is the absurd disposition of some anglers. They never see a fish without believing that they can catch him; but if they see no fish, they are inclined to think that the river is empty and the world hollow.”

Unfortunately having been written in 1899 it’s not any easy book to find at the library but Amazon does sell it and I see that you can get it free on your Kindle.

Would I recommend it? Even difficult to find I’d still recommend it to all my fishing friends and relations.

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