Book Review: 'Why I Fly Fish' by Chris Santella

Some of my favorite writing on fly fishing has more to do with the "why" of the sport than the "how to." The soon-to-be-released "Why I Fly Fish" by Chris Santella (who did a lot to show us the ultimate "wheres" of fly fishing through his books "Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die" and "Fifty More Places to Fly Fish Before You Die") certainly cuts to the core of why people from all walks of life find themselves hopelessly addicted to standing in water waving a long stick.

The premise, as with all of Santella's books, is quite simple: He asked a number of people, ranging from notable anglers to writers, actors, sports heroes, politicos and business icons, exactly what makes fly fishing special for them, and why they got going in the first place. I am honored to have been included in the book. My story of why I fly fish is pretty simple: I took it up to impress a girl. Turns out it worked because she's been my wife for 23 years now.

Each chapter features an elegant narrative. I find some of the specific quotes to be very interesting:

"To me, the whole intoxication of fly fishing is sight fishing," said author Carl Hiaasen.

"Fishing gets me close to the very basic reason for what I'm on the planet for--to survive," said April Vokey.

And golf legend Nick Price said, "I think the most telling similarity between golf and fly fishing is that with both sports, you're constantly learning, constantly trying to improve your methodology."

In sum, it's an inspirational read. It might motivate the newbie who's wondering what this game is all about. But more importantly, perhaps, it reaffirms in the hearts of the committed angler some of the reasons why we're here in the first place. The book costs $19.95, and will be released in the next several weeks.

So why do you fly fish?