In Praise of Trout by David Profumo - review by Loyd Grossman

Loyd Grossman

Best Loved Fish

In Praise of Trout

By

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‘When rude March winds have wakened,
The trees in woodland bowers,
And April showers have opened
The eyes of early flowers;
The fisher’s heart is gladdened
As shining ‘twixt the showers,
The warm noon sunrays portend
The dawn of sportive hours.’

So Wilfred Walter Morris rhapsodised early spring trout in his most charming book The Blameless Sport; who needs more proof that great angling literature is rarely great literature? David Profumo’s piscagraphical knowledge is masterful and beyond doubt – in The Magic Wheel he and Graham Swift produced the best anthology of angling literature that our generation is going to come up with. More recently his angling column for the Telegraph has been – for me at least – the chief adornment of that newspaper’s Weekend section. Countless fishermen must spend their Saturday breakfast enthralled, infuriated and envious as they read Profumo’s observations on tackle or the right sandwiches to pack or his accounts – strictly unembroidered I’m sure – of Herculean struggles with monster fishes on legendary waters unaffordable to any but angling correspondents.

The adversarial relationship between fish and angler is clear even to the uninterested: the fisherman wants to catch the fish; the fish if it were possessed of a mind would prefer not to be caught. But the greatest tie between the hunter and his quarry – and any good sportsman

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