I have to admit that I would not normally have picked up a copy of Dominic Garnett’s latest book, Crooked Lines. Not because I have anything against Dominic, but because I thought I had read all the fishing tales type books that were worth reading. I came across Crooked Lines, whilst looking for a book on Fly Fishing for Coarse fish. Dominic just happened to have written a book on exactly that subject, which I bought, but that’s another review. I had read a number of Dominic’s online articles and as I was ordering the other book anyway, I thought it might be worth a read.
If you are hoping that his book is full of tips and advice on how to catch numerous freshwater and sea fish, or it is full of stories of catching leviathans, then you are going to be a bit disappointed. However, if you are looking for tales of fish caught by an angler with his boots planted firmly on terra firma then read on. Most of the fishing books that I have read, tell of great fishing exploits in locations that are far flung, or way too expensive or exclusive, for most of us mere mortals to ever be able to visit them and experience those thrills. In Crooked Lines, Dominic writes about the highs and lows of fishing that any ordinary angler anywhere around the country can relate too. The book covers everything from catching Carp and coarse fish in small weedy ponds and smelly Canal tow paths, to the frozen lakes in Norway in search of Arctic Char and let’s not forget his exploits in attempting to catch one of my favourite fish, Thin Lipped Mullet.
Crooked Lines is a compilation of 24 short fishing stories. I mentioned earlier that I came across Crooked Lines whilst looking for a book on fly fishing for coarse fish. I was going to read the fly fishing book first, but I thought I would have a quick read of the first story. That was a mistake; I couldn’t put the book down after that. I like to think of myself as an all round angler, so I could relate to just about every one of his tales. He writes about tackling places that I have driven past a hundred times and thought, I should give that a try. Others so ordinary, you wouldn’t give them a second glance. It just makes me want to grab a rod and get out there fishing.
Sometimes I wonder if I try and make fishing difficult for myself, by trying things like fly fishing for Bass, Pike and Carp, or go to waters that are notoriously difficult to fish. Other times I want to have and easy time and do nothing other than catch a few tiddlers on LRF gear. This is exactly the same mindset that Dominic seems to have. The difference is that he puts it down in words, far better than I could ever do. He introduces some of the most unlikely characters and angling companions in his stories. The artwork in the book is just as quirky as the characters and locations.
I won’t spoil anymore of the book, by giving away much more of the details. All I can say is if you only buy one other angling book again in your life, then get this one. It is available for £9.99 through Amazon, but you can get it directly from Dominic’s own site dgfishing.co.uk, where you may well be able to pick up some great offers, such as a signed first edition.