Surfcaster's Quest: Seeking Stripers, Blues, and Solitude at the Edge of the Surging Sea

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"Surfcaster's Quest is about solitude, meditation, bravery, history, and the love of the outdoors. Rowan investigates the men and women who wade out into the boiling surf to be alone with nature, their thoughts, and the occasional bass or bluefish."-Outdoors Unlimited
"In these pages, you will learn about catching fish, but far more important and satisfying, you will learn about catching the essence of your soul."-Richard B. Stolley, founding editor of People magazine
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Overview

"Surfcaster's Quest is about solitude, meditation, bravery, history, and the love of the outdoors. Rowan investigates the men and women who wade out into the boiling surf to be alone with nature, their thoughts, and the occasional bass or bluefish."-Outdoors Unlimited
"In these pages, you will learn about catching fish, but far more important and satisfying, you will learn about catching the essence of your soul."-Richard B. Stolley, founding editor of People magazine
"Anyone who has never battled a bull bass all alone on a beach may not understand the instinctual strand that binds humankind and fish."
So begins Surfcaster's Quest, Roy Rowan's evocations of fishing the turbulent seas surrounding Block Island. As this beautifully descriptive book points out, angling enthusiasts have maintained for centuries that fishing is not simply a sport, but a religion. "Therefore," writes Rowan, "surfcasters with their own devout followers comprise a special sect. They may be a less pious bunch than fly fishermen; but they are an adventurous, feeling group of outdoors lovers who are as deeply moved by the sun, moon, and stars as they are by their desire to catch fish in the waves crashing around them."
Surfcaster's Quest describes not only the habits of blues, stripers, bonito, and other gamefish, but also how to trick them into striking at pieces of wood, plastic, and metal flung out from the shore. Interspersed with this thought-provoking mixture of soul-searching and surfcasting are fascinating historical tidbits about the Indians, pirates, and rumrunners who once occupied that obscure oceanic speck originally called "Isle of the Little God," Block Island. This is a book about courage, contemplation, solitude, the appreciation of nature-and yes, religion, though not the kind conducted under a church steeple.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In Powerful People (LJ 6/1/96), journalist Rowan reminisced about the famous people he has interviewed over his 50-year career. Here, he reflects on more private, but nonetheless meaningful, experiences he has had surfcasting in the waters around Block Island, 12 miles off the New England coast. The contemplative serenity, which may or may not be followed by the thrill of battling a large fish seeking to escape the tethered hook, is the aspect of the sport that the author finds most attractive. The waves, he says, can stir his imagination in wonderful ways. Of course, he likes the catching part, too, and gladly shares tips and techniques for enticing gamefish that he has learned from years of experience. For large fishing collections and public libraries with regional interest.--Will Hepfer, SUNY at Buffalo Libs. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592286652
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.34 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Roy Rowan, a veteran author-journalist and avid fisherman, has covered the world for fifty years for Time, Life, and Fortune magazines. His previous books dealt with a wide variety of topics--from war, politics, and intuition to First Dogs, a history of presidential pooches that was made into a movie aired on the Discovery Channel. Rowan lives in Connecticut--and spends as much time as he can on Block Island.

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Read an Excerpt

EXCERPT, from Chapter 6: The Joys of Fishing Alone:

"The best way to launch a large group of beach gulls, he maintains, 'is to run at them with arms spread, shouting 'I want to be your friend.' One is treated to a massive display of jump launching, defecating, squawking, flapping, wheeling, and gliding and an eventual landing down the beach.'
Of course, engaging in this kind of horseplay to break the monotony of long fishless periods not only disturbs the gulls, but also shatters the solitude that poet James Russell Lowell wrote 'is the nurse of fill-grown souls.'
For me, at least, nothing nurses my sould more effectively than slowly working my way down a deserted beach, casting aimlessly into the surf, all the while drinking in the peace of the morning or evening. My body begins to feel different, as if I'm moving more efficiently and gracefully in unison with the flying plug.
. . . In our own society we have a similar problem. 'Stay in touch,' we say, meaning with you and me and everybody else. Networking is considered the password to success in business, and for general happiness as well.
What we seem to forget is that solitude provides us all with a rare opportunity to get in touch with ourselves---even, as we surfcasters have discovered, if this involves engaging in a spirited monologue with the person holding the rod.
Those surfcasting soliloquies may not be as foolish as they sound. The great philosophers---Spinoza, Kant, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche---all sought inspiration in solitude. So did some of the most renowned composers, poets, sculptors, and painters. But the inspiration that comes from being alone and experiencing the glories of creation---whether you're standing high on a mountaintop or down on a deserted beach---isn't felt only by the geniuses of this world. It hits us all from time to time, including those addicted to surfcasting.

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Table of Contents

1 Getting Hooked 1
2 Sport or Religion? 11
3 Lures to Lure the Fisherman 27
4 Casting for Fresh Ideas 45
5 Camaraderie is Catching 59
6 The Joys of Fishing Alone 77
7 Beauty and the Beach 93
8 Thinking Like a Fish 107
9 Adventures in the Dark 121
10 The Last Bass 137
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