It’s obvious that Shaun Morey invested himself in his recent collection, Incredible (And True) Fishing Stories.
At first glance, this little reader, at 211 pages, comes across as nothing more than something to pass the time. It does that very well, but make no mistake, this little book packs a lot of content.
Inside, the reader will find 76 stories ranging from brief to a bit more in-depth. Morey’s range of investigation is incredible — the cover claims that all of the stories are true, which makes the read even more fantastic. He has spoken with dozens of anglers and officials to bring depth to some of the more fantastic, and ridiculous tales in the fishing world.
Sections are divided into “Epic Battles and Obsessions,” “Shocking Acts of Fish Aggression,” “The Outrageous, the Curious, and the Merely Odd” and “Awesome Victories, Record-Setting Catches.”
There is a little bit of everything for the casual fisherman here, with equal parts saltwater, freshwater and everything in-between.
Instead of running through all of the stories (there are far too many, and too many surprises to give away), Lone Star Outdoor News selected a few favorites to give an inside glimpse into this funny, astonishing and sometimes-eerie collection of short stories.
— One of the opening stories centers around Texas’ own Billy Sandifer, and his record-setting tiger shark fishing on South Padre Island. The account details his tactics, complete with bait weighing up to 60 pounds on 16/0 hooks. The story centers around two particular catches in the same area, where Sandifer brings in some sharks that will change his life forever.
— One of the more light-hearted (and terrifying, for those with a snake phobia) stories tells about Kevin Jones and Paul Shepherd battling a rattlesnake during a bass tournament on Castaic Lake in Southern California. Let’s just say that the snake is a bit tenacious, and the fishermen are not — Jones carries a stick with him on his boat to this day.
— What’s a fisherman’s dream and worst nightmare? How about fighting a salmon for 37 hours on a rod and reel. Morey recounts Bob Ploeger’s Alaskan adventure against a huge salmon, and the bizarre scene that begins to unfold as camera crews and media outlets venture to the river to broadcast his Guinness World Record-setting fight.
— Not all of the stories have a humorous element, however. Any angler would get chills reading a story about Hal Janssen hooking into a corpse while fly-fishing the San Lorenzo River in California. It turns out to be his most memorable catch, and a mystery that may still have questions that need answering.
Those four stories are just a brief glimpse into the amount of work Morey has done to get this collection together.
The stories aren’t all life changing — some are only a few paragraphs — but the author has included numerous fish facts along with the stories that help to bring depth to areas that need more content.
All in all, Incredible (And True) Fishing Stories is definitely worth an angler’s time. It’s a helpful reminder that anything is possible in the great outdoors, for better or worse.