The Barnes & Noble Review
An exchange occurs at summer's end in eastern Long Island: an exodus of tourists, an entrance of serious anglers. The enormous migration of marine life in late September and October (birds aren't the only ones heading south for the winter) brings salt-water fly-fishers like author Peter Kaminsky to Montauk Point. In The Moon Pulled Up an Acre of Bass, Kaminsky reminisces about a glorious October at Montauk Point, with bass blitzes by day and haute cuisine by night.
Kaminsky, a New York Times columnist who writes for both Field & Stream and Food & Wine magazines, skimps neither on the fishing details nor on the meals. Between nuanced explanations of fly-casting technique for salt-water as opposed to freshwater fishing, Kaminsky teases us with blasé asides on what he is eating: one night pan-roasted bass fillet with a sauce of tarragon, green peppercorns, honey, lemon juice, and salt (devoured with two bottles of wine); other nights flaked bluefish with lemon and vinegar; arroz con pollo; assorted juicy meats, onions, and garlic.
The fishing scene itself is as you might expect: serious, often cantankerous anglers and fishing guides; long droughts interrupted by a sudden exhilarating "bass blitz" or "albacore fix"; and alternately sound and sketchy theories on optimal bait and fish location. As is often the case with those gone fishing, there is a resounding sense there is no place on earth the anglers would rather be. Except, perhaps, at the dinner table. (Brenn Jones)
. . . makes flyfishing sound like a form of sanctifying grace . . . his writing style is lyrical and as lovely as his sport.
I know of no wiser, more useful and convincing celebration of the great virtues of making time for pleasure . . .
Peter Kaminsky's passion . . . is so great I half expect him to have his waders and fly rod surgically attached.
For those who love to fish, this may do for Montauk what Peter Mayle did for Provence.
The East Coast migratory striped bass has the same trans-species attachment with Long Islanders as the blue crab does with the Chesapeake region, and the cod with New Englanders; striper fishing is nowhere more exciting, or more socially complicated, than in early fall off Montauk, New York. After the summer tide of celebrities and vacationers leaves the beaches, local sportfishers form their own society around the parade of southbound migrations. Not the average "hook and bullet" reporter, Kaminsky took a sabbatical from his New York Times column to fly-fish Montauk Point through the October peak, lured by the life fantasy of one dream fly-fishing season, an angling "walkabout into something perfect and outside of time." The tides of his obsession with the fish in this place occasionally carry him way offshore into social history, local color and ecology of the bass. The real prose action is on the shallow flats of Great Peconic Bay and in the jockeying among guide boats and surf casters for prime casting positions for "blitzes" of feeding 40-inch bass. Kaminsky (whose cookbook, Elements of Taste, is due out from Little, Brown in October) is neither the first nor the most stylish voice for this fish and this place (the Montauk bass fishery has its own shelf in angling literature, which includes John Cole's Striper and Peter Matthiessen's Men's Lives). Nonetheless, most Eastern fly rodders will revel in Kaminsky's walkabout and feel as wistful as he does when the cold northeast winds finally put down the fish in November. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.