By Don Causey (Via The Angling Report)
In our hurry to fish around the world, it’s easy to lose sight of the simple child-like delight that lies at the bottom of our desire to catch fish. I say that having just read an oddly affecting children’s book called A Day with Bonefish Joe by Elizabeth Howard. The book chronicles the desire of a young Bahamian girl to go fishing with Bonefish Joe, a real-life (now deceased) guide on Harbour Island (Eleuthera) in the Bahamas. Nothing out of the ordinary happens in the book, but it is the young girl’s excitement and wonder that tug at your heart.
“One afternoon while walking along the shore, Flossie recognized Bonefish Joe in the distance,” the book says. “She stopped in her tracks. Then, gathering all her courage, she waited until Bonefish Joe was just in front of her. She looked up and asked, ‘Bonefish Joe, would you take me out in your boat and teach me to fish?‘
Bonefish Joe agrees, and when the magic day arrives Flossie indeed catches a bonefish. She fights the fish and the two of them bring it aboard and then release it. When she and Bonefish Joe return to the dock, he compliments her on catching a fish and says she is sure to become a fisherwoman now. As he pulls away from the dock, the book continues: “Flossie’s mind was filled with images of the giant sea turtle, the fluttering starfish, the silver bonefish and the sunlight dancing across the water. She could hear the sounds of the waves lapping against the boat, the drip, drip, drip of the water from the long pole and Bonefish Joe’s laughing and singing. Now she knew why people came to Harbour Island. It wasn’t just for the fishing. Bonefish Joe took you by the hand and brought you to a peaceful and quiet place. She knew she’d never forget her day with Bonefish Joe.”
To appreciate the book, you need to have it in your hands so you can see the delightful drawings that accompany the text. The overall feel of the slender volume is reminiscent of the Alexander McCall Smith books about a village in Botswana where the heroine Mma Precious Ramotswe creates the The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Just don’t expect anything that ambitious. This is a children’s book. I enjoyed it because it reminded me how special it was when I went fishing for the first time. It might have the same effect on you. You might want to give it to someone after you read it.- Don Causey. Postscript: A Day with Bonefish Joe will be available in bookstores and through online merchants in August. In the meantime, you can pre-order a copy by calling Michele Christian at Godine Publishing, 800-344-4771.Tags (0 tags)