When the fish aren’t biting, there’s ‘Home Pool’
Aspen Times Weekly
Books about fly-fishing are nearly as numerous as fly patterns, and often not nearly as inventive, but avid anglers tend to snap them up as eagerly as a rainbow rising to a hatch.
That said, part-time Carbondale-area resident Bruce Ducker’s newly published “Home Pool ” Stories of Fly Fishing and Lesser Passions” earns a nod as an enjoyable sidelight to a fly-fisher’s greater passion.
Some of Ducker’s 16 stories are only tangentially about fishing; the “lesser passions” ” often strained relationships ” come to the fore. None are obvious accounts, fictional or otherwise, of the author’s angling experiences on the rivers of the Roaring Fork Valley, though those waters earn a mention in the dedication, “To the places I’ve fished… .”
Still, local readers are likely to notice the resort setting in “The View from Buffalo Mountain” ” about a crusty old-timer’s response to intrusive affluence ” feels more than a little like Aspen.
And stories such as “The Last Season,” about an aging angler who goes alone to a favorite fishing hole despite his worried daughter’s objections, accompanied only by his memories, and the poke at the sport’s pretentions inflicted by “The Specter at Grizzly Hackle,” are likely to resonate with anyone who has spent time in the company of fly-fishermen and women.
For a real fish “story,” Ducker tosses in the short, but extremely tall tale, “I Can Prove It.”
Illustrations by Duke Beardsley ” a prize-winning, young artist who resides in Denver, according to the book’s jacket ” add to the book’s charm, and Ducker delivers the occasional, memorable passage:
“A week of successful fishing in Scotland is a mother lode of anecdotes, a fishless week is a rendezvous with the Hag of Misery,” he writes in “The Green Lantern.”
In “The Last Season,” Ducker’s protagonist muses about a deceased fishing buddy’s experience in the hereafter: “Do fish have a soul? Do they go to heaven? If they don’t, heaven has barren streams. That would piss Fitz off. Long way to go to get skunked.”
As with virtually all story collections and anthologies, the entries that stand out depend upon the reader.
Anglers may not feel like they’ve hit the honey hole of the genre with this collection, but they won’t feel skunked, either.
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