Gone Fishing…

Gone Fishing…

Austen puts very few “sports” in her books, but fishing is one of them. And she gave this noble pursuit to two of my favorite men – Darcy and Uncle Gardiner. Others may like to fish, but these are the two who seem to relish the adventure and the only two Austen puts forth.

Today I’m feeling a little like Pride and Prejudice’s Uncle Gardiner. I expected he was the most excited – even honored – to be invited fishing. He was “very fond of fishing” and I imagined him salivating at the sight of Pemberley’s streams and in awe of Darcy’s invitation. But the rest is left to our imagination…

Mr. Gardiner left them soon after breakfast. The fishing scheme had been renewed the day before, and a positive engagement made of his meeting some of the gentleman at Pemberley before noon.

Nothing about the fish… The place they fished… The conversation… The lures… The flies… The pursuit… Now I feel like Mrs. Bennet lamenting Lydia’s improper wedding announcement. “without there being a syllable said of her father, or the place where she lived, or anything…”

Austen never took us places she could or did not go. Anything she could directly experience was outside her purview and, therefore, ours. But here I am… I’ve gone fishing with the men. My father, my husband and my son asked me to join them this week in Patagonia to fly fish. And I can’t wait to experience all that Austen withheld: The fish… The place… The conversation… The lures… The flies… The pursuit…

So next month, I’ll tell you all about it. But for this month, I’ll share with you how much it’s been on my mind lately. Here is a quick scene from my upcoming book, The Austen Escape (HarperCollins, Nov. 2017).


I turned my attention to the bank beneath me. Rather than slope into the water, it cut a jagged descent to a foot below us. The water ran fast in the center of the stream, making little white bubbles and ripples as it passed over submerged rocks. The water near the shore moved more slowly, creating whorls and eddies in the current. Closest to the shore, right beneath me, the water sat like glass.

“That’s where you want to cast first.” Nathan moved closer. “Right at the shore line. It even digs in a little beneath you. Fish love to hide in those crannies. They get the bugs that drop from the land into the water and if you start there, you can work your way out without losing the chance for them. If you start out and come in, you’ll spook any fish hiding close long before your fly gets to them.”

I let the fly drop.

“Do you know what to do?”

I shook my head. “I used to fish with my mom, years ago, but only spinner rods for catfish or bass in a little lake near our house.”

“This isn’t too far off that. Watch.” He stepped back and bent his arm. His rod pointed straight up. “Pretend there’s a clock on your shoulder. Up to midnight. Pause. Smooth to ten o’clock. Pause again to send the line out. Then drop the tip down to nine or eight.”

“Do it again.” The fluidity of the motion was mesmerizing and the line shot straight, despite the breeze, at least twenty feet into the stream. “It’s like you’re cutting the wind with nothing at all. Did you mean to do that?”

“Of course. I’m trying to impress you.” He smiled. “That was one of my better casts. The next will probably be a disaster.” He cast again. “It’s all in the plane of your cast. That controls the loop of your line. You want to keep it straight. No loop is best.” He pulled the line in and let it puddle at this feet then cast once more.

“Amazing. The physics of it, the lines and angles… Once more.”

He cast again, and with the most wonderful grin. “You try.”

I did. It was a jerky motion that sent the fly two feet and plopped it in the water right along the shore.

“It’s a good start.”

“Liar.” I pulled in the line as he had — it caught on the hem of my dress.

“You’re right.” Nathan laughed then swung his head in an exaggerated motion as if that was the only way to become serious once more. “Try again. Think of it like flicking paint off a paintbrush. Pretend you’re Jackson Pollock.”

“Well then…” I did exactly what he said and fared no better. But it didn’t matter.

Nathan knelt and untangled the line from around my feet.

“I’m clearly not an artist.”

“It takes time.” He cast again.

After a few minutes, I reeled in my line and watched him.

He spared me only a glance. “My grandfather used to say that everything in the world could be solved at the cadence of a cast. Think about things, don’t rush them, get a feel for them, live organically, meaning you give, you accept, you engage in life around you. Live life like you cast.” He bent his arm again, and with fluid slow motion, he shot the line straight across the pond into the slow moving water near the far bank.


It’s just a teaser, but fishing has clearly been on my mind…

Enjoy today and thank you for dropping by. Please forgive me if it takes a couple days to reply to comments. I will, but I am in a place with sketchy Wi-Fi… But there are lots of fish!

Talk soon…





9 Responses to Gone Fishing…

  1. Good point, I always picture fishing that I’ve seen on TV or movies. There was no way that she’d been fishing or shooting so she refers to them but never elaborated. Looking forward to your new book.

  2. My first experience fishing was on a fly in fishing trip to Canada. I was only brought along (I suspect) because my daughter would not be told girls couldn’t go fishing and since her brother had been allowed to go when he was 9…..off to Canada we went. It was probably not the perfect beginning as it was pretty easy to catch a fish, the hard part was dealing with the worms and getting the fish off the line! After watching my husband take care of everyone’s worms and fish I decided I had to step in and get a little dirty lol. And while I’m not a lover of fishing I’ve now been on two fly in fishing trips and will occasionally go out when we’re at the family cottage – though only after a few days of reading by the shore. I guess I prefer eating the fish to the work of catching. I hope you’re having a lovely time with your family

  3. I had a great-uncle who was a champion angler and remember seeing his many trophies on their sideboard when I was a child. The only fishing I’ve ever done, though, is with a net on a pole, dipping in our local streams during school holidays. I remember bringing home frog and/or toadspawn and sticklebacks in jam jars. The stream that ran through our local golf course was particularly bountiful, but we had to be careful not to get caught as it was private land.

    Have a great time on your trip!

  4. Katherine, I love this post! My Daddy loved to fish. I’m sure he’s enjoying doing so in Heaven. 🙂

  5. I haven’t been fishing since I was a little girl. My father used to take us, but then our family started to get bigger (more kids) and I think maybe taking more than two small children fishing was a bit much for him. I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip and get amazing memories and pictures. Congratulations on your upcoming book!

  6. My ex boyfriend was really into fishing and he took me once but I didn’t enjoy the experience. My father took me a few times as a child and those memories I cherish. I hope you have a great time and look forward to your next post on what you discover.

  7. My ex husband was into fishing! My idea of joining in was usually sitting in a chair with a book! However on one holiday in East Anglia I decided to try it. It was the heatwave summer of 1976 and a lot of the rivers were very low but on my first try I did catch a fish (very pleased with myself) however on the next try I caught an eel and it started wriggling up the line. My husband had to rescue me and untangle it and I went back to my book and never tried again! I hope you have better luck.

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