Published Dec 15. 2022 - 1 year ago
Updated or edited Jan 12. 2023

Book review: Fish Camp Fail

Go Fishing -> Control the Fear -> Avoid Werewolves

Joining author Ben Jailler on his fishing trips in the UK is bound to bring a smile on your face – and probably make you laugh out uncontrollably a few times

Ben Jailler
Ben Jailler
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When a book refers to Instagram tags, cell phone coverage and Google Maps, computer games, musicians and countless cult books and movies, you know you’re in good company. At least that’s the way I feel.

And it’s also is about fly fishing … yay!

I have read quite a few books created over a template like the one Ben Jailler uses: a handful of stories about various fishing trips, sometimes strung together by a journey, but mostly just picked out of a lifetime of trips and selected for their entertainment value, their success (or lack of same) or their participants.
Most of these books do a great job of telling the stories, and the best ones let you tag along virtually, sense the ambiance, the feeling of the takes, the beauty of the landscapes, the quality of the company and altogether what the author experienced when hiking, sleeping, fishing, chatting.
But they are mostly quite similar in style and content. A few will lean towards the funny side, others toward the philosophical side. Most will step somewhere in between and be what they are: stories about fishing trips.

Go Fishing -> Control the Fear -> Avoid Werewolves

This book is also stories about fishing trips. But as the title and subtitle indicates, there is something else going on. It's liberatingly different from most other books with fishing stories. And you know I like different! And it's modern and contemporary where many fishing stories tend to be traditional and even conservative. There aren't many f-bombs in most current fishing literature. There is here! And that's a good thing, reflecting the reality most of us live in and the language that many of us speak.

“Go Fishing -> Control the Fear -> Avoid Werewolves” is definitely one of the more intriguing subtitles I have met in my long life with fishing books, and it makes me think of authors such as my beloved Patrick McManus and the renowned – and equally beloved by most – John Gierarch, whose titles strike similar chords with me.
“Death, Taxes, and Leaky Waders” and “Real Ponies Don't Go Oink!” spring to mind, and that’s not a bad thing.

I had already made the acquaintance of Jailler’s work though the excerpt from the book published here on this very site, and knew approximately what I was in for.

The the book delivered on all expectations - and more.

With equal amounts of respect and disrespect for the fellow fishers, random passers-by, the landscapes (and the weather!), culture in the broadest sense and werewolves in particular, Jailler takes the reader along on a number of fishing trips in the UK.
Having fished in the UK – Wales and other parts – I immediately recognized the premises: the landscapes, the car drives, the lodging, the weather and the fishing. I felt right at home, and was – as an angler – very much in tune with these stories.
But compared to most other short story books I have read on fishing, these were not only entertaining and engaging, but genuinely funny, and with the constant references to other realms of culture, I felt – as I have already said – that I was in really good company. The Mousers, Jesse and Chester, Faye Dunaway and Steve McQueen, Kurt Cobain, Anthony Bourdain, the aforementioned werewolf and many, many (like many!) more characters are among the ones you will meet or hear referenced in this book, and it is as entertaining and often hilarious as you can imagine.

All these meetings – real and virtual - packed in fly fishing and irony. I enjoyed it immensely! I think you will too.

The book is available to buy here.


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