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A book to hook you

November 22, 2005

Big Game Fishing Headquarters

A History of the IGFA

Mike Rivkin

IGFA Press: 240 pp., $50


This is a mighty marlin of a book -- lavish in size, beautiful to gaze upon and fascinating to contemplate.

The International Game Fish Assn., IGFA, is the record-keeper of big game fishing -- actually of all kinds of fishing, but the organization's heart has always been in salt water.

The book details the history of the 66-year-old association and the half-century of pioneering big game sportfishing that led to its creation, curiously enough, beginning here in the waters between Los Angeles and Catalina.

The characters and settings are glamorous: Hemingway, for instance, was a vice president. The illustrations are memorable, many of them evoking a nostalgic era when sport was adventure unencumbered by controversy.

The text, by La Jolla fisherman Mike Rivkin, reflects a profound love of the topic and a trove of research.

One may lament that saltwater fishermen felt compelled to burden their sport with elaborate competition, and that their leaders were slow to assume the obligations of catch-and-release conservation, but this book is observation, not advocacy.

It is a high-seas, salt-licked, sun-in-the-eyes history of a passionate pastime that has absorbed adventurers for more than a century.

Available in limited edition only from IGFA: (954) 924-4310 or

-- John Balzar


A lupine

love story

Comeback Wolves

Western Writers Welcome the Wolf Home

Edited by Gary Wockner, Gregory McNamee & SueEllen Campbell

Johnson Books: 224 pp., $15


In June 2004, a gray wolf is found dead on I-70 in Colorado. She is "Wolf 293F," a 2-year-old from a pack in the northwest corner of Wyoming.

She has traveled more than 500 miles in search of a mate and territory to form a new pack. Wolf 293 appears throughout this anthology heralding the reintroduction of wolves to Colorado and the Southwest.

Fifty western writers -- poets, anthropologists, ecologists, novelists, journalists and activists -- raise their voices in praise, protest and hope for the future of this magnificent, misunderstood, much-feared predator.

Seared with passion, beauty and prejudice, the book examines the historic and mythic complexity of wolves as their silent gray shadows begin once again to lope toward the lighted cities.

-- Susan Dworski

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