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Searching For Blue-Eyed Trout by Larry Mehelic

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Reviewed by Terry Lawton

In my experience in England we don't seem to have the same culture of coffee houses or guide (fishing tackle) shops on or close to rivers where local and visiting anglers get together and pass-on information on the latest hatches, hot flies etc that seems to be prevalent in the USA and produces writers and books like this one, a collection of very good fishing stories. Or is it that most of my fishing tends to be very solitary? But we have got some good riverside pubs where a day's fishing can be dissected over a pint of beer.

'Incident at Islamorada' introduces the reader to the very foreign - at least to British eyes - pro-bass fishing in the shape of George's friend and fishing buddy Cecil's nephew Junior who has a fair amount of success on the pro-bass tour. Anyway here the three are after tarpon and have to run the gauntlet of abuse about their 'antique' tackle from the Florida guides. But our boys hit lucky! They hook a tarpon that soon threatens to overwhelm them. 'The fish is still faking it,' said Junior, digging around in one of the storage spaces. 'Look at those eyes. He can't wait to finish us off. It's just letting you tow him so's he doesn't have to swim much.'

There are shades of Jaws in this story! And although it did make me laugh out loud it does get a bit far-fetched. Another story that is also a bit derivative is 'Trout Amandine'.

Trout Amandine is about what can happen when you get obsessed with catch and release at all costs. There is a timely warning for everyone here. Without giving anything away, the idea for the perpetual tying of #18 spent Adams is very similar to GEM Skues' story of the man destined to fish forever for the chalk stream trout rising to the same fly in the same place, all day and every day.

I enjoyed this slim volume of good fishing stories. GM comes in for some harsh criticism with Frankenstein fish in 'Charlie's Pond' that get out of control and start attacking cows and this and other stories are pure fiction but many of them - eight in all - have subjects or incidents that will be familiar to many.

Searching For Blue-Eyed Trout by Larry Mehelic is published by Writers Club Press in paperback at US S9.95, $15.95 Canadian, and £8.99. 92 pages.

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