April 17, 2014

Book Review - All Fishermen Are Liars by John Gierach

This is probably blasphemy to the highest order, but I should probably start this post by saying that I'm not a huge John Gierach fan.  I'm also not much of a book critic, so take both for what they are worth...

Actually, it's not that I'm not a fan, I just really never read any of his books before.  Trout Bum?  Never read it.  Dances With Trout?  Nope.  The only Gierach book I ever attempted to read was his last, No Shortage of Good Days, which I bought on Kindle fully intending to immerse myself during a cross-country flight, but never really got into it enough to see it through to completion.  It just didn't light my fire.

When approached to receive an advance copy for a review of All Fishermen Are Liars, I wasn't overly excited, but I figured I'd give JG another shot, especially since the book was getting some good early press.

Now the purpose of this mini-review isn't so much to tell you specifically about what's inside.  If I did that, you wouldn't need to read the book.  What I will say is that I finally did experience what I've heard from so many others before.  The chapters consisted of several loosely connected short stories - they were unpretentious in nature, each with a splash of humor that was entertaining in a refreshing way. It's a easy read, with a hint of liveliness more reminiscent of listening to a good story teller than reading something from a page. 

The best thing about this particular book is that there will probably be a topic, experience, or setting (if not several) that you'll easily connect to in some fashion.  For me there were three - Chapter 4 (Michigan coasters), Chapter 13 (Tenkara), and Chapter 22 (Getting turned around in Wyoming) - that hit home for me.  There was usually something relatable in each and every chapter, even if only a minor detail, making the read all the more personable.  Yeah, I guess that Gierach guy is kinda talented...

So would I recommend All Fishermen Are Liars?  Yes.  It's tough not to recommend a book that grabs you and takes you along for a somewhat introspective ride in a fun, yet easy going fashion.  But unlike me, you're likely already a John Gierach fan, so you probably already know that.

I suppose while you're checking out All Fishermen Are Liars, I have a lot of reading to catch up on...and that's the truth.


Postscript:  Daniel Galhardo of Tenkara USA recently conducted an interview with John Gierach regarding his views on tenkara; specifically those mentioned in chapter 13 of All Fishermen Are Liars. Please enjoy the video interview HERE as a complement to the book and this review.

The copy of "All Fishermen Are Liars" featured in this product review was provided to me at no cost, but carries a suggested retail price of $24. I currently hold no association with Simon & Schuster or John Gierach, but I have good naturedly lampooned him once or twice on the blog before, found HERE and HERE...what'chu gonna do when Gierachamania runs wild over you?

As with all independent gear reviews at Troutrageous!  I try my best to keep my reviews honest and unbiased. If something is good, it deserves applause; if it sucks, I'll comment on the experience, but rather than write an uncomplimentary post, inform the manufacturer my opinion of their offering directly outside of this blog.  This policy pertains to items both purchased and provided at no (or reduced) cost.


  1. I've read all of John's books and as you might know, I'm a huge fan not only of the writer, but of the man himself. (I've even been called a stalker) I've enjoyed all of his books and I'm in the process of reading All Fisherman are Liars right now. There's something about this book that's missing and I'm not sure what it is. Parts of it are enjoyable and others are just lacking something. If I figure it out, I'll let you know. This is not John's best work by a long shot.

    1. Scandal! I appreciate the honesty...I really need to cave in and read some of his other books. I enjoyed this one, but don't have the POV you (or others do) to compare to prior works.

      Perhaps standalone, it's Return of the Jedi, a enjoyable movie on it's own...but not to the level of Star Wars, or even better Empire Strikes Back. Beats me. Like I said, I've got some reading to do!!!

    2. Mike, and for Howard's benefit too, let me add this. Even though I have been around the fly fishing scene for (35) years or so, I must admit that I have not read any of John's books. I understand he is quite the story teller and writer combined. I just have not immersed myself in reading too many books on fly fishing just for the pleasure. For what it is worth, I have read and re-read a lot of Patrick McManus's books on everything outdoor related. There styles sound to me like they are very similar so I would probably enjoys John Gierach's books if I just took the time to read them.