Not many angling books survive for over three hundred years, but our local library has one such volume—The Anglers Sure Guide (sic). The photo above shows the title page, and in the lower right corner the year of publication: 1706. Holding this book in hand, I find it impossible not to wonder about its centuries-long journey from England to West Yellowstone, Montana. Who were its owners? How many have there been? Where did they live, and fish? Did they study and actually apply the advice proffered within? By what means did the book come to reside in America?
The Sure Guide’s twelve sections tell us pretty much all we need to know about fishing, and are yet another reminder that the only thing new in fishing is the history we haven’t read. Sections X, XI, and XII are particularly interesting in the sense that, even three hundred years ago, there was great concern over access to the water and getting along with our fellow anglers. (Some things never change.)
If you’ve never felt a sense of connection to the long history of angling, holding a book like this in your hands will remedy that right quick. I heartily recommend trying it should you find yourself in West someday.