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Publisher's Summary

An “excellent” (The New York Times) modern tribute to an ageless pastime, and a practical guide to the art, philosophy, and rituals of fly fishing, by an expert, lifelong angler.

In The Optimist, David Coggins makes a case for the skills and sensibility of an enduring sport and shares the secrets, frustrations, and triumphs of the great tradition of fly fishing, which has captivated anglers worldwide.

Written in wry, wise, and keenly observed prose, each chapter focuses on a specific place, fish, and skill. Few individuals, for example, have the visual acuity required to catch the nearly invisible bonefish of the Bahamas flats. Or the patience to land the elusive Atlantic salmon, “the fish of a thousand casts,” in eastern Canada. Pursuing these challenges, Coggins, “a confirmed obsessive,” travels to one fishing paradise after another, including the great rivers of Patagonia, private chalk streams in England, remote ponds in Maine, and New York City’s Jamaica Bay. In each setting, he chronicles his fortunes and misfortunes with honesty and humor while meditating on how fishing teaches focus, inner stillness, and a connection to the natural world.

Perfect for the novice, the enthusiastic amateur, and the devoted angler alike, The Optimist offers a practical path to enlightenment while providing “a rueful, thoughtful, and very funny examination of an elegant obsession” (Jay McInerney).

©2021 David Coggins. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Optimist

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But the hard copy.

I don’t normally leave reviews, good or bad, for books. I fet this one warranted a warning though.

The narration of this audio version absolutely ruins the book. The narrator is passionless, emotionless, robotic and quite obviously has zero connection to the material. He even mispronounces some fly fishing vernacular. It’s awful.

It borders on unlistenable, do yourself a favor, buy and read the hard copy of this book.

2 people found this helpful

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Tremendous

This is a beautiful book. A must read for both the fly fisher and one who appreciates great storytelling. I've just started re-listening for a second time. Instant classic and in my opinion, required reading/listening for any angler.

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Great listen!

Loved it! very relatable, narrator was good as well. recommend this to any fly fisherman.

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Among my favorites books ever

David wrote a book that feels like an experience. Something that, with each chapter, puts words to feelings in a special way. It’s fun and educational, but most of all it’s honest and genuine. I was sad when I finished the book. Until I realized that its kind of like casting to a fish over and over… I can read it again and again.

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A well-read, evocative performance

The author did a great job of reading his own work—one that makes you want to get out on the water yourself, especially if you haven’t ventured out in many years.

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Entertaining and Inspiring Take on Fly Fishing

Humorous and inspiring. Coggins motivates you to get out and expand your fly fishing experiences.

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Great fly fishing book

Very pleased with this find. I would say Graybill perfectly captures the essence of the fly fisherman. Hope he writes about fly fishing again.

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Great book!

I think anyone from the novice to the seasoned fly angler will really enjoy this book. David touches upon all the fly fishing sub genres from bone fishing in the Bahamas to brook trout fishing in northern Maine. Expect to find decades worth of fly fishing pearls and fun anecdotes. I plan to order a hard copy to go between my favourite Zane Grey and Robert Ruark titles. Tight lines!

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Most Relatable fishing book I've come across

This book is essential reading for anyone who has picked up a rod. it is a great balance of high quality writing and relatability when fly fishing. refreshing from the yeti cooler, fly-bro narrative that has began to overtake the culture.