Paul Reynolds is a good writer, and his latest book, The Maine Angler’s Logbook, proves this once again. Subtitled Tips, Tales, and Tactics, it is all of that and much more.
For me, it was a march down memory lane. Some of my all-time favorite fishing adventures occurred in Alaska, Montana, and Labrador. Paul’s did too, and his stories about his adventures there brought back a lot of my own wonderful memories.
I suppose it is not surprising, given that we are both avid outdoorsmen, but from chapter to chapter, Paul’s stories could be my stories. One of his stories that really made me laugh it titled The Old Vest. “Once I had a well-worn flannel shirt that suddenly disappeared from my ‘hunting locker.’ It was a small red and black checkered job,” he writes. “Sure, it was a little faded from too many trips through the washing machine, but it was comfortable, if you know what I mean. I liked the big button down pockets and the rugged buttons. They don’t make shirts like that anymore. When the shirt turned up missing, I searched the house high and low to no avail. Later on, my wife confessed that she had tossed my shirt.”
“You what?” I exclaimed with incredulity.
“You heard me,” she said. “I threw it away.”
“I loved that shirt. Why’d you do that?”
“Paul, it was all worn out. There was a rip in the back and the elbows were threadbare. The shirt had seen its better days.”
“Geez, Diane, you could have at least checked with me first?” I said.
“I’m sorry. I guess I didn’t realize that you had become so attached to that tattered old shirt,” she said, sort of apologetically.
I once had a long-time favorite flannel shirt. And sure, the collar was ripped and there were holes in both elbows, but I loved it and wore it often. One day, I came into the kitchen and there was my shirt, cut up into dust rags. I don’t recall that Linda ever apologized!
Fishing Comes First
In the book’s introduction, Paul wonders, “What if he hadn’t taken my fishing?” He’s writing about his Dad, reporting “He had the patience. He took me fishing when I could barely walk. I love him for it.” Ditto, my Dad. I like to say I was born a Maine sportsman, and thanks to Dad, I will die a Maine sportsman.
There are many great fishing tales in this book, along with some excellent advice, focused mostly on fly fishing. In Chapter 3, you’ll learn about one of my favorite flies, the Green Drake. And later in the book, Paul tells you about Nesowadnehunk Lake, “a natural treasure that every Maine outdoorsman should see at least once.” And boy, did he get that right. I am blessed to have a camp on the lake, and many agree it’s the best wild trout fishery in the state. I particularly appreciated Paul’s stories about the late Millinocket guide Wilmot “Wiggie” Robinson. I’m still fishing with Wiggie’s favorite trout fly – but you’ll have to read Paul’s book to learn what that is!
OK, so I’m a little irritated with Paul. He gave away some of my favorite Baxter Park remote ponds in Chapter 30, but thank goodness he didn’t tell you about my favorite brooks and streams there!
In a chapter titled The Circle Unbroken, Paul tells us about an overnight camping/fishing adventure with his 6-year-old grandson Eli. It’s a precious story, and one I read the day after I’d spent a morning hunting turkeys and fishing for bass with my 9-year-old grandson Vishal. Wonderful memories.
When you get to the chapter titled The Bucket List, and note that his list includes only a few experiences he would like to repeat, you know that V. Paul Reynolds has been blessed in this life. And he knows it.
“My lifetime repository of wonderful memories is full to the brim,” he writes.” So, all I can say is: Thanks Paul, for sharing some of those wonderful memories with us.