Back Seat with Fish: A Man’s Adventures in Angling and Romance
“Though Henry Hughes’ topic is reminiscent of classic fishing books by the likes of Robert Traver, John Gierach, and Christopher Camuto, his forthright voice and more diverse passions are entirely his own. Back Seat With Fish is one man’s erudite, amiable exploration of his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness via the overlapping worlds of fishing, fine food, literature, strong friendships, and honest sex. Well, pretty honest. And when the honesty perhaps wobbles a bit, you feel as if you’re getting to read Henry Miller or Charles Bukowski, making sneak entries in the journals of Henry Thoreau. This book is unabashedly, unashamedly fun.”
—David James Duncan, author of The River Why and The Brothers K
“Back Seat With Fish is a celebration of passions—for fishing, food and friends, for literature and lovers—engagingly written by a man with an appetite for the world. Henry Hughes is an absolute pleasure to read.”
—Ted Leeson, author of Habit of Rivers.
This literary, earthy memoir by Henry Hughes is a collection of funny, sexy, and heartbreaking tales about fishing, family, love, and life. It’s a ranging coming-of-age read with a tang of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll mixed in with joyous, frustrating angling stories from the Long Island Sound to the Sea of Japan to Oregon waters. Strong narrative voice, refreshingly honest, and a bit haunting.
—Margot Page, author of Little Rivers
“This story is a joyous testament to the role of angling in all our lives:
Hughes reconnects us, chapter by chapter, to our primal selves.”
“A wild and soulful journey in search of great love and great fishing told in words that flow like a river.
Back Seat with Fish is earthy and true and after all that it is written beautifully too.”
—Charles Rangeley-Wilson, author of The Accidental Angler and Silt Road
Read an excerpt from Back Seat with Fish: A Man’s Adventures in Angling and Romance, Henry’s memoir, in Harvard Review Online.
Back Seat with Fish
Back Seat with Fish: A Man’s Adventures in Angling and Romance is unlike any memoir you’ve ever read. Among the hundreds of published angling stories, none so deeply sound the sensual pleasures and tensions of human and piscine life as they emerge from the bedroom and riverbank. From flounder and first dates off working class Long Island, into the wide waters of Indiana, South Dakota, Oregon and all across Asia, Back Seat with Fish offers a wild and wonderful ride.
Drawing on his knowledge of literature, geography, and natural history, Hughes guides us through the watery world, sharing stories of the fish he’s caught and the characters he’s met. Here are tales of bass and bluefish, paddlefish and fugu, sharks and snakeheads, as well as exchanges with a variety of people, including a Sioux Indian friend from South Dakota, an elderly African American on the Mississippi, and his waterside companions in Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.
Fishing is a sport that crosses boundaries of race, ethnicity, gender, and class. In his travels, Hughes learns lessons on these issues as he interacts with people who share and sometimes challenge his love for fishing and eating fish. But this salty journey isn’t just for people who cast lines or love nature and travel. Back Seat with Fish is for anyone who enjoys a good story.
Available on Amazon.