Book Review — How to Read Water: Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea 

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Reviewed by Captain John Byron, U.S. Navy (Retired)

We fishing folk are looking at water constantly. 

From the bow of a flats boat. Deep in the river carefully shuffling over rocks. From the beach in the surf searching for stripers or snook or searuns. 

But do we really know what we’re seeing? Are we getting all the facts that water can tell us? Do we experienced fisherfolk really understand the fish’s medium?  The answers lie in this marvelous, easy-read, fun book. Not focused on fishing but highly informative for those of us addicted to fishing.

The author is the real deal. Example: wanting to verify the navigation skills claimed for the Vikings, with a companion he set out from the Orkney Islands to Iceland sailing a 32-footer, determined to get there using only the tools and techniques of those ancient mariners. 

Nearly 600 nautical miles. He got there reading water. 

Library Journal says this: “With the help of this book, and with careful attention and observation, anyone can learn how to interpret the messages water offers to aid in everything from navigation to weather forecasting. A riveting and highly accessible book that will appeal to water enthusiasts and nature lovers of all kinds.”

Wall Street Journal describes the book this way: “Mr. Gooley misses little in his paean to Earth’s most abundant resource. He starts small, at a mud puddle watching ripples fan out from a pebble drop, and ends big, in the frigid reaches of the Arctic Sea. Along the way he asks and answers many questions. If you like water, as I do, you will learn a lot.”

This is essential knowledge for all of us who fish. I’m a physical oceanographer with many years on the bridge of Navy ships and many more in boats and on the riffles. I learned a lot. Read it. 

Tristan Gooley. New York, The Experiment, LLC, 2016. 393 pp. Index. Sources, Notes, and Further Reading. $11.57

Order your copy here.

John Byron
Gink & Gasoline
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