'Alaska Flyfisher's Odyssey' a good one twice over
Second run of angler Daniel Hoffman's book drops with great reviews, Trout Unlimited stamp of approval
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The last week of March is one of those periods of the year when my senses search for a certain feel on the wind.
It’s pure imagination, maybe a product of a twisted mind, but I like to think that I caught at least the tiniest sense of Alaska in those northern breezes and near-freezing temperatures of the past week.
Alaska always is on my mind this week, and with good reason, both my daughters were born in Fairbanks this week—seven years apart.
Thirty-three years ago on March 26, I emerged from a sleepless and confusing 24-hour marathon at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (nothing compared to what my wife survived) with a new daughter, a bad cup of hospital coffee, and an Easter Sunday newspaper with a front-page photo of a big boat called the Exxon Valdez screwing up some really good fishing spots.
Twenty-six years ago on March 28, I was a fairly well-rested and happy daddy with a second beautiful daughter who saw fit to come into the world in a less dramatic way—and at a reasonable time of day. My wife was actually conscious and the newspaper contained nothing all that memorable 27 years later.
The second time is usually easier.
And (check out this clever transition folks) as I promised some weeks ago, I am letting you all know about the second run of “An Alaska Flyfisher’s Odyssey,” by Fairbanks angler and friend Dan Hoffman.
Full disclosure, Dan honored me by asking that I write a foreword for the book.
I’m far from the only one who has noticed this book. Alaska Magazine gave it a nice nod. Trout Unlimited featured it in its winter 2022 Trout magazine. The conservation group tagged the second printing with an official logo on the front cover noting Hoffman’s 50 percent commitment of all proceeds to TU.
If you really don’t want to take my word for it, flip the new printing open and read a couple of pages of positive reviews from other outdoors types.
“With easy flowing words, Daniel describes the simple joys of fly fishing in Alaska. Outsiders ask why we put up with the long winters and hordes of mosquitoes; Daniel explains why. If you need a break from daily demands, open Daniel Hoffman’s book and cast a line into the pages. Before long, you’ll be living the dream!” states Michael Travis, author of the Alaskan memoir “Melozi.”
To boot, Hoffman went and impressed some literary types with his prose. Frankly, I’m not sure how I feel about the former Fairbanks police chief jumping ahead of me into literary circles.
Riverfeet Press chose his first four chapters about Alaska’s seasons for their coming anthology “Awake in the World.”
“It looks like I managed to win their non-fiction category and will going into that book!” Hoffman noted in a recent email.
At this point, I’m seeing him kinda like that guy you take fishing and you’re really happy he’s finding success. Really. Happy.
I’m kidding of course. I’m truly tickled by the success of this book.
For a free sample, I’ll turn to those seasonal pages of the book, where a parallel between these special days of March in Oklahoma and thoughts of spawning fish on the banks are on par with spring in Alaska—in the month of May.
“... May can still prove to be a real wildcard; I might well be snowing on us a mid-month, or it could already be soaring into the mid-80s, causing the first “red flag” fire warnings of the season. I’m uncontrollably antsy at this point, and I’ll find any excuse to seek the season’s earliest, fishable water. While I can always find nymphing water in the latter part of May, if I’m able to start catching grayling on any dries by month’s end, I’ll consider the spring to be ‘successfully average’ within its yearly progression.”
Now, if all y’all will excuse me, I’ve got a bass tournament to watch and it looks like the fish might be starting to move up to the banks.