As far as I know this is a unique project, and a hugely ambitious project at that. Gary Borger has been a fishing writer since 1972, authoring a massive body of articles, books, then videos and DVDs. His education in science, specifically in biology, tends to show in his work as does his prodigious fly-fishing experience.
For this project, with help from his son Jason Borger (no mean angler, caster and angling writer), Gary has embarked on an epic 20-volume book series. The first four volumes are already here, more are planned. The titles so far are: Fishing the Film; Reading Waters; Long Flies; The Angler as Predator.
Open a volume at random and the style of production is a little unusual for a modern book; line drawings, pen and ink sketches, monochrome photographs (sometimes muddy prints which look like they were reproduced from colour originals). It appears to me that only Long Flies has colour images used to illustrate flies, but most of that volume conforms to the black and white style. The text is sorted into conventional chapters, the sub-divided into sections each with its own header. The layout means this reads like a series of magazine articles more than a heavy-duty ‘wall of words’ type book. The use of images, drawings and sketches has the feel of a diary or extended notebook.
Then the content. Gary Borger knows a lot. I mean there is a rich trove of information in these books. The text veers off into a fishing anecdote, but then Borger goes beyond brute information, raising questions and issues, offering explanations and arguments, offering knowledge.
I am enjoying this series. I don’t always agree with the opinion part of the processes here, but reading these seems to help bring my own ideas and opinions into focus.
It is quite some project Gary and Jason Borger have set for themselves, and I look forward to the next instalment.
Fly Fishing, the Book Series
By Gary A. Borger (illustrations by Jason Borger)
Published: Tomorrow River Press
Price: $24.95 per volume (hardback)