What we have here is a group of men who are writers, all of whom have made fishing an integral part of their lives, and who have written about it."" Editor Russell Chatham kicks off this collection of fishing essays on just the right note: an emphasis on writing and integrity. Anglers won't be disappointed by the contents, but there's enough distinguished prose to interest folks who wouldn't dream of touching rod and reel. Diversity seems to have been Chatham's guiding principle in choosing the twenty-one pieces, three by each author. Poet Jack Curtis' ""Waltzing Andy"" evokes in clear tones a childhood ritual involving a dime-novel salt named Hex and Andy, the toughest bass in the Sierras. Harmon Henkin opens his essays with the near-blasphemous avowal that fishing ""has no greater claim to spiritual purity than sex, dope, or any other recreation in contemporary America."" He proves his point in a series of interviews with young guides from the counterculture (""I think this new kind of dude is looking for a guide hip enough to appredate him""). More unusual are the pieces by novelist Thomas McGuane and poet Jim Harrison. Like most of the contributors, McGuane mines the nostalgia vein, but with irony (whereas editor Chatham is frankly regretful). Harrison describes the sport as ""a succession of brutally electric moments spaced widely apart,"" and the same might be said for his bitter, ruminative, confessional prose. There is some dead wood in the collection and a lot of plain crankiness. But McGuane, Curtis, Harrison, and others prove that there's life yet in that old Izaak Walton line.