Convinced ""nobody knows beans"" about why fish bite, Dennis (A Place on the Water, 1993) eschews the usual nuts and bolts of fishing in favor of entertaining personal essays laced with good humor and middle-age nostalgia. The author, who recently moved to a farmhouse on a peninsula in Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay, writes that the concept of home tends ""to expand as we grow older . . . to include the rivers and lakes where we fish and boat, the woods where we hunt and hike, every place that has emotional and historical significance."" The wistfulness behind that statement keynotes many of these pieces. In ""A Trout for the Old Guy,"" Dennis comes across a cigar box full of dry flies tied by a crotchety old fisherman he hadn't thought about in 25 years. Elsewhere, he notes that there, are three days of fishing he never misses: opening day, for obvious reasons; the great Hex hatch on Michigan's rivers in late June, and the last day of the season, that final day to ""be taken slowly, like a last meal."" Dennis has some fun discussing good fishing buddies and what qualifies them as such, and he takes dozens of 24-inch rainbows from the Rio Puelo in Chile, along with a 5-pound brook trout, ""as bulky as a steroid junky."" One of the best pieces, and by far the funniest, is ""Fish Naked,"" wherein he pokes fun at the sartorial correctness of catalogue-outfitted anglers. He harks back to a 1970s trip to the Firehole in Yellowstone National Park when he and a friend happened on a naked man and woman fishing side by side. ""Maybe nude angling was a local tradition. . . . Maybe it was a tactic. . . . "" Not quite up to his earlier efforts, but Dennis's descriptive writing and his sense of fishing as serious fun keeps this one afloat.