Russell Chatham is a fisherman who, more often than not, releases his catch and refuses to regard fishing as a competitive sport. ""It may be accurate to say that if golf were likened to fishing, the hole would have to be a living thing with an appetite and a temperament that varied widely from green to green and course to course."" But Chatham does not have to address the stock question, Why fish? because these informal pieces are shot through with the answer. Like Roderick Haig-Brown and other notable angler-writers, he is a fly-fisherman; he doesn't drop a line in the water, he seeks action. There are recollections of casting for salmon in British Columbia rivers (despite the scoffers' ""they don't take flies in fresh water""); of a chance encounter with herring off the California coast, the titular locale; of steelhead trout biting on the North Umpqua, in Oregon, and the pursuit of shad in California's Central Valley. But the reader may remember best Chatham and a friend bobbing in a rowboat off San Quentin, ""virtually within sight of well over a million people, yet alone."" He is an artist as well as an angler--some of his drawings will appear in the book--and this is a nice addition to the small shelf of books for other reflective fishermen like himself.