Sweet, innocent, if not particularly artful, recollections of fishing with a local master. At the age of 15, Prosek (Trout: An Illustrated History, not reviewed) got caught. poaching, but he also got a second chance and a lesson in life from the ranger who bagged him: Joe Haines. Prosek was nobody's fool even at that vulnerable age--at least as he remembers it seven years later--but he understood that he had plenty to learn from the seasoned fisherman. Haines sensed that Prosek was a kindred angling spirit, so he brought him to small private ponds and streams, beachside for stripers, to the salmon run at Pulaski, to ice-fishing spots, imparting a notion of how to be an outdoorsman with style. Casting a wider net, Haines took Prosek crabbing, showed him how to butcher a bull, took him to a club to hunt for pheasant, hand-fashioned fishing weights with him. The lessons were not just about secret glory holes, though, but about what it means to be tried-and-true; about generosity, responsibility, humor, curiosity, appreciation; about having a warm heart and doing the right thing. Prosek can be a tad priggish (crude jokes offend him), and the writing displays a callowness that fails to wring from a couple of the narratives the power they harbor; this is particularly evident in a story about fishing a lake from which a drowned boy is being pulled. Much of the book is engaging, though, as Prosek describes for us a lost world of sportsfolk--relaxed, comradely, reflective, perceptive--from which he wisely decides to take his cues. Emanating from the pages is a genuine fondness the young man and his elder have for each other's company. Prosek, now a senior at Yale, may well be on his way to becoming a fine writer of the outdoors.