Home
 
     HOME     ARTICLES     Frank DAIGNAULT     TROPHY RIGS     CONTENTS     FAQs     FLY FISHING     OFF ROAD 4 X 4     STRIPED BASS    SURFCASTING
 
Click for Daignault Biography Twenty Years Trophy Striper Striper Surf Striper Hot Spots MID-ATLANTIC Striper Hot Spots - NEW ENGLAND Eastern Tides Fly Fishing the Striper Surf
TWENTY YEARS ON THE CAPE - STRIPER SURF - STRIPER HOT SPOTS - THE TROPHY STRIPER
EASTERN TIDES - FLY FISHING THE STRIPER SURF
Welcome to Frank Daignault's "CASTS" - Center for Advanced Studies of Trophy Stripers.
Please be sure to read the Protocol and then join in!
 
 
Go Back   StriperSurf Forums > Main Forums > Ask Frank Daignault

Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-21-2015, 11:01 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is online now
SS/Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,107
Default Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

There's been a spate of books on fishing in general, and surfcasting in particular, the past five or so years. Some of these have been good, but some have been less so, with a few unreservedly godawful. I particularly remember one book (and if you think I'm gonna name names, you're nuts ), which, after about three chapters, I remember thinking that the guy who wrote it knows as much about fishing the beach as I know about seducing a supermodel. Evidently there are guys out there who can have a few good nights on the beach and suddenly think they're the next Hemingway.

As the Babe Ruth of surfcasting authors, Frank, what skills, what knowledge, do you think a guy (or gal) needs to possess in order to write a cogent book? And as a corollary (and this might be an even more interesting subject): why do some guys who clearly lack the credentials, both literary and angling, think they can write a book? Where does this hubris come from? Is it because fishing is not astrophysics, and therefore people think it's easy? Or do they make the huge mistake of thinking that writing is easy?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-21-2015, 05:10 PM
Frank Daignault's Avatar
Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
Writer, Hunter, Surfcaster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 30,458
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

I agree with everything you say, Chris. The first hint that a book idea is weak is that they are self-published. Protection from a weak idea comes from a publisher. That is the reason publishers avoid overly regional ideas. Too regional a book is limited from its inception. A reader from Norman OK is not going to buy a book on Prudence Island. Even my most successful books are highly limited by their regional flare.
But more to answer, if a person has good literary skills and can entertain the reader, than that is the most important. I happen to think that apprenticeship for authorship is the short story. I have unavoidable disdain for people coming in from out of the blue writing about stripers when they never sold anything to anybody. I did magazine article writing for 20 years before I wrote "Twenty Years on the Cape". This is not meant to be the last word, however.
__________________
Frank
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-21-2015, 06:57 PM
John_P John_P is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: New York
Posts: 374
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

For me, I mostly care that the person can write, and can tell a story.

I'll never forget walking along the North Side of Montauk with my kids, they were little then, wasn't even fishing season, and here was this "cluless" guy fly casting. Wrong season, wrong tide, wasn't even standing in a spot where he could reach fishable water. Then here comes this guy with camera and tripod. Pictures?

Yet one more nut case, and Montauk has plenty of them I thought. I remembered the scene...but low and behold some months later out comes this book The Moon Pulled Up an Acre of Bass, by Peter Kaminsky. I was startled when I saw the cover shot..."hey that's that same clueless fly fisherman!"

I bought a copy and thoroughly enjoyed it. Was he an expert fisherman? I don't think so, but a professional writer. And for this book he was telling the story of the fall run in Montauk almost from an outsider's perspective... he explained things that a 'sharpie' might have glossed over, and in the end he probably made the book a bit more accessible to a larger audience. Hard to say, no clue how many he sold, but clearly a standout among others who have attempted to tackle the same topic.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-21-2015, 09:27 PM
Saltrix Saltrix is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: New York
Posts: 99
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

To me, writing and fishing are two different crafts, and they rarely line up in equal skill. Either you are a very skilled writer, a professional, who has put in his or hers dues with the craft and decided to take on fishing as a subject or you are a highly skilled angler with some writing skills--but hopefully a better editor--and are writing a book on what happens to be your expertise. Both these approaches have potential. For instance, I will gladly peruse a piece of Chris Chivers whether he's interviewing Frank on fishing or giving me the history of the Ak-47. If he, or say Jon Krakauer or even Lauren Hillenbrand or any number of less prolific but equally skilled 'non-fiction' writers decided to write a book on surfcasting I would read it in a heartbeat. I would know, that according to their disclipline, they had done due diligence on the topic and there would be substance there as a result of that research and reporting ethic.
Now maybe Lefty Kreh or Al Bentsen or John Skinner or maybe Doc Muller(uh oh I've named names) even some of the sharpies on this very forum were to write a book, given the proper editing and publishing rigor, I would read that just as quick. My problem comes with hacks in either discipline. And I speak from experience There's always going to be a lot of crap out there written by novices in either category. It just comes down to craft on either side of the ledger. Frank has done a masterful job in his career by putting in the work and time to be credible in both categories.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-22-2015, 12:06 AM
John_P John_P is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: New York
Posts: 374
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

One of the most interesting literary fishing accidents that I recall was Peter Matheissen graduating from Yale and deciding to spend some time as a commercial fisherman on the east end of Long Island ...so here you had a high calibre writer in that environment and out of that came Men's Lives which had a profound impact on my understanding of the fishing culture of a generation ago. But in my opinion this was such a rarity for that type of writer deciding to write about fishing. Not your standard How To Where To mentality.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-22-2015, 08:09 AM
Frank Daignault's Avatar
Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
Writer, Hunter, Surfcaster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 30,458
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

Matheissen was/is an excellent writer. I have seen numerous contributions of his in the NY big three, not that it matters which one. It would be unreasonable to compare Matheissen to the many hacks who have cranked out striper drivel. That he went to Yale kind of suggests that he was a Hamptons rich kid, don't you think? Another fine author, who was a buddy of his was John Cole. Both these guys were professional writers who made their living writing. Not part-timers like Mr Smarty.

A college education commonly comes from family support where Daddy pays the bills. It is the older college students, who attend part-time for years, (like me) who graduate at age 40 who ought to get a medal. Still, in all fairness people like Matheissen and Cole exemplify good prose. How they got there is kind of irrelevant.
__________________
Frank
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 01-22-2015, 09:49 AM
John_P John_P is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: New York
Posts: 374
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

I dont know what it took to get into Yale in the mid 1940s. Nobody ever went. One side of my family was coal mining in that era, before the industry collpased, then they all went to war, the other side both got into those type schools, but neither could afford to go when the train finally left the station. From what I was told when they were still alive, college was basically seen as a luxury at that point, who could afford their kids not to go to work, but to send them to some expensive college? With the Depression still fresh in their minds? I only mentioned the school because I'm sure there were at least a couple of professors there who knew a thing or two about writing and literature and could influence and mentor a young aspiring writer.

So he comes out of college and decides to spend a couple years setting nets with the locals. I never quite understood how that happened, but he absorbed enough to write a rich account of it. And this is an example of a non expert (call him a novice or even an oustsider) who wrote a really good book about fishing.

He passed in 2014. Yes I suspect he had some money, his residence per the Obit probably the most pricey in the Hamptons.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 01-22-2015, 04:50 PM
Frank Daignault's Avatar
Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
Writer, Hunter, Surfcaster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 30,458
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

Chris Cheevers is the new Mathiewson. He is a NY Times veteran and has been in the far east wars. He is now occasional contributor to the big NY outdoor mags. I met him once for that interview he did of me and he is a very knowledgeable, sportwise and war and gun savvy. Shored by good writing background, he has huge potential. The only potential hang up is that he might be too successful. Otherwise, if they had an IPO on Cheevers, I would buy a bunch. (Of course they don't sell Initial Public Offerings on people.)
__________________
Frank
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 01-22-2015, 05:48 PM
John_P John_P is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: New York
Posts: 374
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
Chris Cheevers is the new Mathiewson. He is a NY Times veteran and has been in the far east wars. He is now occasional contributor to the big NY outdoor mags. I met him once for that interview he did of me and he is a very knowledgeable, sportwise and war and gun savvy. Shored by good writing background, he has huge potential. The only potential hang up is that he might be too successful. Otherwise, if they had an IPO on Cheevers, I would buy a bunch. (Of course they don't sell Initial Public Offerings on people.)
AGREED
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 01-23-2015, 08:33 AM
Frank Daignault's Avatar
Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
Writer, Hunter, Surfcaster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 30,458
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

I'll say it again: There are good surfcasters all over the place. But once writing skills are added to the mix, the list suddenly gets mighty short. I don't want to be remembered as a great surfcaster; remember me as a writer, as a husband and a father.
__________________
Frank
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-24-2015, 02:33 PM
walter walter is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 364
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
Chris Cheevers is the new Mathiewson. He is a NY Times veteran and has been in the far east wars. He is now occasional contributor to the big NY outdoor mags. I met him once for that interview he did of me and he is a very knowledgeable, sportwise and war and gun savvy. Shored by good writing background, he has huge potential. The only potential hang up is that he might be too successful. Otherwise, if they had an IPO on Cheevers, I would buy a bunch. (Of course they don't sell Initial Public Offerings on people.)

Chris Chivers had a bass piece in the Esquire mag about 10 years ago. It was one of the best things on bass I've seen.

In some weird bit of synchronicity, a phrase from it popped into my head today before I even saw this on him. He described bass as,"Salmon for the proletariat". I like that.

He had another great line I forget now.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-24-2015, 03:43 PM
HookI's Avatar
HookI HookI is online now
SS/Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: New York
Posts: 2,389
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

Quote:
Originally Posted by John_P View Post
One of the most interesting literary fishing accidents that I recall was Peter Matheissen graduating from Yale and deciding to spend some time as a commercial fisherman on the east end of Long Island ...so here you had a high calibre writer in that environment and out of that came Men's Lives which had a profound impact on my understanding of the fishing culture of a generation ago. But in my opinion this was such a rarity for that type of writer deciding to write about fishing. Not your standard How To Where To mentality.
Men's Lives I feel is an excellent read , only thing that slowed me down was the Native Tribe names which I really wanted to understand more while reading, Matthiessen
__________________
Let the Big Ones Go
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-24-2015, 04:07 PM
Frank Daignault's Avatar
Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
Writer, Hunter, Surfcaster
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 30,458
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

For many years and to some degree today, many non readers still judge a book by the size and number of fish the author says that he caught. The one about Billy-the-Greek had a lot of that which to me implied the author's perception of literature was numerical. All I could think of was how glad I was nobody ever wrote such a book about me. This remark is a variation on the theme that Literature is what makes a book, not a bunch of catch brags.

Also, mentioned in this thread is an author who once got into a lot of trouble with a big magazine by writing that a fly caught large bass was a fly fishing World Record. I think the author was kind of black-balled after that. If you don't know fly fishing and write about it, they will kill you.
__________________
Frank
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-18-2017, 01:50 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: MA
Posts: 813
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

I ran into this thread by accident. It contains a lot of good copy. Sure its past but you are still welcome to contribute your sentiments.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-18-2017, 02:35 PM
SALMONMEISTER SALMONMEISTER is online now
SS/Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 1,716
Default Re: Qualifications to Write a Surfcasting Book

If we're talking a "how to" book about surf fishing, I agree with all that is said above. You take a book like "On the Run" about following the fall run and you're telling a story with some fishing and the characters involved. Do you have to have written articles before you publish a book like this? While fisherman (or some one who's at least fished a little )would appreciate a book such as this more, a non fisherman may find it somewhat entertaining and informative as well. "A Season on the Edge" follows a year of mostly shore fishing, but while it too follows a fisherman over a period of time, it is much more informational for those who already fish. While "A River Runs Through It" isn't surf fishing, it is enjoyable for fishers and non fishers alike...obviously, there's more than just fishing going on in the story. Norman McClean was an experienced fly fisherman and writer. I've read a couple books by a surf author who is definitely knowledgeable and experienced, but I thought was not the most interesting writer... I still enjoyed the books because I was looking for information, and it was definitely there...and the author had a pleasant tone to his writings.
I've thought about writing a fishing book (I doubt I really will) but if I did, it would only be fishing stories...some pretty funny...that could appeal to non fishers as well. I figure I'd never do a "how to" as most of my fishing knowledge came from other people's writings, with only a little original thought and personal experience of my own.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Next President? neverrude The Mudhole 28 06-24-2016 06:37 AM
New Book: Surfcasting Around The Block - by Dennis Zambrotta Frank Daignault Ask Frank Daignault 9 10-16-2012 08:28 PM
Book About NJOA Now Available apmaurosr Fishing - New Jersey 0 01-09-2010 11:35 AM
The Sarah Palin Book Tour RobS The Mudhole 26 11-25-2009 04:49 AM
New Surfcasting Book purpelnoon MAIN FORUM 0 09-11-2007 10:08 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 1998 - 2016 StriperSurf.com, All Rights Reserved