J Wayne Pelletier’s book, Memories from the Fisherman’s Bench, has lots of great fishing stories, but he also shares lots of other great stories about his life, from when he was a kid to throughout his adult life, including his service in the military. While his fishing was mostly in Maine, wherever he was in the world, he managed to fish.
I especially liked this book because I had fishing experiences exactly like his, and often in the same places. For example, he fished in Long Pond, just 10 minutes from my house, and a place I fished a lot.
Wayne is a native of Clinton who lives now in Belgrade. He writes a popular fishing column in The Fisherman’s Bench.
His fishing experiences as a boy were – well, they were my experiences. For example, on the first page, he writes:
As a child, I was allowed to freely roam the woodlands and fields to my heart’s content – as long as I was home for supper. Sometimes, I brought supper home myself: a string of native Eastern Brook Trout caught on Twelve Mile Stream, which runs straight through town.
Me too! As a young boy, I would walk up the hill to the end of High Street in Winthrop, and hike through the woods to a brook where I would catch lots of brook trout. No one worried about me as long as I was home for supper. Quite often I would bring home enough trout to feed my family for supper.
A lot of the time, Wayne fished with family and friends. His wife Laverne loved to fish, and they fished a lot together. Much of the time, Laverne caught more fish than Wayne. That matches my experience with my wife Linda, who didn’t fish until we bought a camp on Sourdehunk Lake in the north woods. After we bought the camp, Linda learned to fly fish, and she often caught more fish than I did. But she was never a fanatic angler. Sometimes she’d catch a bunch of trout and then sit in the boat reading a book.
I also enjoyed Wayne’s encounters with bears while fishing. I had those too, especially on my 3 fishing trips to Alaska. Once on Sourdehunk Lake, I had a bear swim right up to my boat, so I pulled the anchor and speeded away.
Well, if you like to fish, you will love this book, but even if you don’t fish, you will enjoy Wayne’s stories.