A new book, Fishin' for Dumbasses by John Toone, is being launched just in time for fishing season.
Toone calls it a guide for hipsters who are interested in sourcing their own food. He feels we have a world-class fishery in Manitoba.
'Just about everyone has a reason to seek natural and local food sources and think more about the impact their food has on the environment.' - John Toone
“From my perspective, it’s not just about ‘catching’ food, it’s about the experience of ‘going’ fishing.”
“When your mindset is catching, a good day is measured by what ends up in the cooler. But when you are out there for the fishing, that experience includes the preparation, the journey, the sacrifices and indulgences, the time with family in the great outdoors, etc..
"Don’t get me wrong, I love to catch and eat fish, but there are good times to be had even if the fish are nowhere to be found.”
Toone also enjoys really getting away from it all by heading up to fly-in fishing camps.
"Then you're really in the middle of nowhere. You really get that sense of how big this country is when you do those fly-in trips because you go for an hour of seeing nothing and then they drop you in the bush and that's it, you're there."
Closer to home, he says fishing for massive catfish near Lockport can't be beat. "The Red River is an incredible fishery."
Toone sprinkles his book with jaunty tales of hazards and pleasures of the fishing experience, including stories about bears ("How to be Eaten") and forced overnight camping ("How to Commit Suicide by Mosquito").
One of his favourite experiences is the ceremony of the shore lunch. "You're out there cooking over an open fire and you're cooking fish that you just caught that morning. I don't know how you can get any better than that.
"You've got fresh fish, you've got your friends around you, you've got a nice open fire, you're out on the open lake in the middle of nowhere and you've got the afternoon ahead of you," he said.
As for his favourite method of cooking just-caught fish, he admits he likes it deep fried, sometimes even in lard.
Toone also feels it's important to pass the tradition on to children and youth. He is an active member of Fish Futures, which runs programs for young people, including summer-long events taking inner-city youth out fishing.
"We all know the challenges kids are facing these days. There's no outdoor education taught in schools. There's a greater emphasis on electronic devices. The reality is, you still can't replace catching that first fish, baiting the hook, touching the fish and playing around the shoreline.
“Fishing is not only for the wild man," he continued. "It’s good fun for women, kids, foodies, hippies, hipsters... conservationists, just about everyone has a reason to seek natural and local food sources and think more about the impact their food has on the environment.”
John Toone launches Fishin' for Dumbasses at McNally Robinson Booksellers on May 14 at 8:00 p.m.