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Summer reading for the enthusiast

Books? Yes, they still publish them in this era of cyber-electronics texting.

The volume of ink-on-bound paper texts on outdoors topics has tailed off somewhat in recent years. Nonetheless, six recently published, outdoors-related books arrived during the past six months. Each deserves some free time taken to skim and then study further during summer's leisure hours.

Any outdoorsman who camps, fishes, hunts, or seeks to hone survival skills can get an illustrated breakdown of 374 skills that improve and simplify pursuits in the "Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman Manual."

T. Edward Nickens and a host of Field & Stream editors offer suggestions for making the roughest or most leisurely outing go more smoothly. The tips list ranges from skinning a catfish to tooling a discarded tin can into a coffee cup.

Hunters can learn handy ways to haul deer, up the squirrel take, and cleanly remove a backstrap. All outdoorsmen and women can upgrade their survival-gear needs, learn how to endure and come off safely from a fall through ice or into current waters.

If not found at area book stores, this book is available through Weldon Owen at

* TV viewers of the popular Animal Planet series "River Monsters" are familiar with the worldwide field exploits of Jeremy Wade, a British angler who travels to any fishing hole in the world in search of giant fish local anglers and water-side residents have seen and feared.

Wade's travels have taken him to Southeast Asia, where he was once arrested as a spy suspect, to the Amazon, where he survived a plane crash, and to a host of places where monstrous fish have injured and sometimes eaten local inhabitants.

Over-sized ripsaw catfish, grouper, river stingrays, eels, and one toothy devil Wade took 25 years to catch are but a few of the adventures that this energetic and determined big-fish fisherman has brought to net, to a camera lens, and now into an interesting text worth the read.

This book can be gotten in text or DVD from Da Capo Press at

* Back in our younger years when mom said "Don't play with your food," Mike Faverman and Pat Mac were not listening.

Faverman and Mac kid around about everything except the ultimate items that best go into each dish and how to best prepare them for the table. Both guys came from cooking-based boyhoods, and both learned to have fun fooling with food.

Part of that fun is knowing how to pack for camping and all outdoors outings in budget-friendly portions that can be used as main menu items and carried over to leftovers for the next day or the rest of the trip.

For example, grilling a big salmon whole one day provides extra meat for lunches and snacks thereafter.

Check out this book at

* Fly anglers continually seek ways to take trout with the lightest of lures and tackle. Kevin C. Kelleher has studied all manner of ultralight fly fishing and has keyed on an ancient Japanese subsistence fishermen's fishing lifestyle that makes fly angling simple and enjoyable.

Kelleher settled on the Tenkara approach fishermen in Japan's mountain region use to attract and catch fish. The title "Tenkara: Radically Simple, Untralight Fly Fishing" tells it all.

Each chapter reveals how Tenkara methods can upgrade trout trips taken anywhere in the western world. From choosing rods, rigging tackle, tying flies, casting lines, to women involved in light-tackle fly angling, this book excels.

Look for it at

* James Prosek, a Connecticut angler, has devoted most of his book work to trout and fly fishing. But his latest text, "Eels: The World's Most Mysterious Fish," offers 287 pages of the most engrossing studies and revelations about these aquatic creatures.

Readers need not be avid anglers or even active wildlife watchers to get into the aura that is eels. Prosek has traveled from New Zealand to the Sargasso to gather his information and enthralling accounts of the mysterious and adventurous creatures.

Give it a look at

* John Bailey catches fish. He goes for species sizeable and small. His quest has taken him across the world's fresh and salted waterways in search of odd, exotic, and abundant types of fishes.

Bailey has compiled these fishing trips into a remarkable how-to fishing guide and travelogue text, "50 Fish to Catch in Your Lifetime." This Carlton Books text brings together outstanding photos, another of Bailey's specialties, and backgrounds that are basic-not ultra-scientific boredom-and informative.

One given feature of fishing is that it has "stories." Factual or enhanced reality, most accounts come off as "fish stories." Bailey takes all this into account and recounts some fascinating discussion on fishes as small as dace and as large as swordfish.

To keep things honest to the very end, he concludes with the notice that he has only caught 41 of the 50 fish he has discussed.


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