Because I’m not much of an ice fisherman, the season winds down for me in November and starts back up in May. While I’ll get out during warm spells in January or February, I spend most of the intervening six months prepping: fly-tying, cleaning equipment, and reading. One of the beauties of fly-fishing is that it’s inspired a lot of people (myself included) to put pen to paper. And so, in the dead of winter, there’s always something to read. Sometimes, I’ll read strategy, like Ray Bergman’s Trout, or science like Bob Behnke’s work. But none of them bring me the same enjoyment as reading Ed Zern.
Today, December 13th, is Ed Zern’s birthday. Zern wrote during the heyday of Madison Avenue advertising, and in addition to being vice-president of an ad agency, he wrote for Field and Stream, edited their fishing content and was president of various fly-fishing organizations. He was a successful guy, and most of that was because he was plain funny. His writing is satire at its best, concise and cutting right to the inner contradictions of fly-fishing as a past-time and an obsession. Sadly, time has not been kind to his memory; his books are all out of print and he doesn’t even rate a Wikipedia article. But, if you or a fly-fisher you know is in need of a good laugh this winter, hop on Amazon or head down to a used bookstore and search for Zern, Ed. You won’t be disappointed.