________________ CM . . . . Volume III Number 21 . . . . June 20, 1997

Great Canadian Fishing Stories: That Didn't Get Away.

Edited by David E. Scott.
Burnstown, ON: General Store Publishing House, 1996.
143pp., paper, $16.95.
ISBN 1-896182-37-2.

Subject Heading:

Grades 11 and up / Ages 16 and up.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4


I really don't know when, or even how, it was formed, but the Shoot and Hook Outdoors Society was perhaps the most elite group of outdoorsmen that ever existed. When it first began, there were only six members, and only once in its history did the society ever admit another, bringing the total to seven. This is where I come in . . .
That was my first meeting with the members of the Shoot and Hook Society, but before the fishing season ended, I was admitted into membership in the club. Not only that, I was unanimously elected chairman in charge of all chores. Bubbling with exuberance, but short on common sense, I accepted my new post. It was after I accepted that they told me the next election would be in 20 years.
At any gathering of anglers, inevitably someone will recount a "one-that-got-away" story which usually contains some elements of the tall tale. This telling naturally "invites" the listeners to recount their own stories, with each narrator attempting to "top" the previous speaker. Scott, author of five guidebooks to Ontario, has compiled 31 entertaining sports fishing stories which arrange themselves across the fact-fiction continuum, with more, not surprisingly, leaning toward the created end. In the absence of specific publication credits, it must be assumed that all of the stories were especially created for this anthology. Varying from 2 to 7 pages in length. most of the pieces fall in the 3-4 page range. Of the book's 15 authors, two-thirds have contributed multiple stories, and only one, Lyn Hancock, is female. The brief bios which follow each selection attest to the various writers' outdoor and/or writing credentials.

      While a few of the stories are serious in tone, the vast majority are humorous and will evoke everything from sympathetic smiles to loud belly laughs. David Carpenter's "Tyee," for example, deals with a man who attends Sexually Disabled Anglers International or SDAI, a self-help group for men whose wives have caught bigger fish than they. In Ray Dillon's "Mac'n'me," the narrator acts as a fishing guide to Mac, 76 and deaf, plus Charmer, Mac's 150 lb. mind-of-his-own dog, with hilarious results.

      High school English teachers seeking stories of character should troll the anthology's contents. The brevity of the stories, plus their generally lighthearted content, will definitely net some senior school readers.


Dave Jenkinson teaches children's and adolescent literature courses at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364