Fishing is not just a sport that thrills but also one of those activities that provide a wide-range oflife experiences. Hence, it...

Top 10 Fishing Stories

2 May 2017




Fishing is not just a sport that thrills but also one of those activities that provide a wide-range oflife experiences. Hence, it is no wonder that it appears as the subject, theme and/or the background of so many literary works. Be it fiction, non-fiction, folktales, short stories, novellas, or verse, writers use different formats to tell fishing stories that touch us.

Here are tensuch fishing books that you should give a read:

1) The Fisherman and His Wife – Collected by the Brothers Grimm; and The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish – By Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin’s ‘The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish’ commemorated on a Soviet Union stamp.


The Brother Grimm gathered folktales from different regions and published this collection of stories for children in 1812. One of the stories that featured in this collection is that of a poor fisherman who catches a golden flounder but sets it free. The story goes, at his wife’s insistence, the fisherman asks the fish to grant him a wish of a grand house, which the fish fulfils. However, after this happens, the wife keeps sending the fisherman back with other demands to the golden flounder till it finally takes away everything that it had given them both and they’re back to living in their small shack. Obviously, this is a didactic fable with the moral being that greed is bad. This story became so popular that it has been adapted in different forms of art across the globe. A famous retelling is by the Russian author Alexander Pushkin in his verse ‘The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish’.

2) Old Man and The Sea - By Ernest Hemingway

“My big fish must be somewhere.” 
―Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea


This is the novel that is considered to have earned Hemingway the Nobel Prize in Literature. It also won him the Pulitzer Prize. A simple story skillfully told. If you like to fish and have not been able to catch a fish on subsequent outings then you know how frustrating it feels. One can only imagine how it would make a fisherman feel. The story is about the struggles of a fisherman called Santiago in trying to get a catch after he has gone for many days without a catch. On the eighty-fifth day, he finally gets lucky when a marlin takes his bait. The marlin is a worthy opponent and Santiago fights for two days and nights trying to pull it up the boat. Whether Santiago finally manages to capture that fish and his fate as a fisherman after this incident is something that you should read the book to know.What we can share with you is that it is a wonderfully written story which you will definitely enjoy reading.

3) A Fishy Story, Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of The Dog) –By Jerome K Jerome

“I should never make anything of a fisherman. I had not got sufficient imagination” 
― Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of The Dog)


Chapter 17 from this comic novel by humourist Jerome K Jeromecontains a little story about how everybody likes to spin a yarn about catching fish. The author begins by telling us that to be a good angler basically means that one is able to tell untrue but convincing fishing stories. He proceeds to share an account of the time when he and his friend George visited a pub in Wallingford during their Thames boat trip.As soon as the local pub goers there realised that they both were visitors, each one told a tale about how he had caught the impressive looking trout that was hanging on the wall. Later that night, when George stumbled and held on to the trout to regain his balance the fish fell to the ground and broke. This is when J and George found out that it was not a real fish but one made of plaster of Paris!

4) The Fish- By Anton Chekov

"Get him by the gills, by the gills!"
-  Anton Chekov, The Fish

The master of short stories, Anton Chekov, tells this tale about a bunch of guys trying to fish in the most unusual way. A couple of carpenters are trying their best to catch an eelpout that they spotted under the roots of the willows in the water. They are trying to pull it out with their bare hands! Others, including the master of the house, join them one by one in their bid to catch this fish.Unsuccessful in their attempts, they finally decide to use an axe to cut some parts of the roots, and, this gets them the catch. However, just as they get their hands on the yard-long eelpout it manages to wriggle out and escape.

5) Following Fish: Travels Around the Indian Coast –By Samanth Subramanian

“If Bengali cuisine were Wimbledon, the hilsa would always play on Centre Court.” 
―Samanth Subramanian, Following Fish: Travels Around the Indian Coast


This nonfiction book shares stories on India’s fishing scene, life in its coastal towns, seafood recipes, problems faced by local fishermen, how fishing boats are built,and, among other things, the search for the world’s fastest fish along Goa’s coast. It consists of nine essays that wonderfully capture the essence of the fishing and seafood culture in India. If you love seafood, fishing, India, travelogues, or simply a good book then don’t give this book a miss.

6) A River Runs Through It – By Norman Maclean

“To him, all good things - trout as well as eternal salvation - came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy” 
― Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories


This hugely popular American novel is set in Montana. It is about a family who consider fly-fishing to be nothing less than a spiritual experience. This beautiful story about human nature, faith, values, and the art of fishing is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time. Reading it will transport you to the wonderful fishing streams of Montana and the story will move you. An Oscar-winning movie was made in 1992 based on this book. The movie is also worth a watch.

7) The River Why – By David James Duncan

“Fishermen should be the easiest of men to convince to commence the search for the soul, because fishing is nothing but the pursuit of the elusive.”
David James Duncan, The River Why


This story is as much about the joy ofcatching fish as about finding the meaning of life. The protagonist Gus Orviston leaves his family who love to fish andmoves to a small cottagenear a river so he can follow his passion of fishing as a solitary endeavour.The more he connects with nature the more disturbed he is with how humans are destroyingthe rivers, mountains and everything that is close to his heart. However, slowly but surely, through hismetaphysical fishing journey he discovers himself, comes to appreciate the value of human connectionsand eventually finds happiness.

8) Two Friends –By Guy De Maupassant 

Fishingis a source of happiness in dark times for the two friends.


This is a short fishing story that has at the centre of it a message about the senselessness of war. Two fishing buddies risk their lives during the Franco-Prussian war so they can fish at the Seine. Through the story Maupassant, shares the differing views held by the people of that time on politics.He also uses the plot to expose the cruel realities of war. The two friends Monsieur Morissot and Monsieur Sauvage experience a moment of true joy during a time of despair when they go fishing. Do read the story to know what happens next to the two fishermen.

9) Big Two-Hearted River - By Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway uses symbolism to convey how the forest, river and fishing help heal the protagonist.


A story with only one character who, though it is not mentioned, is assumed to be coming home from a war. Nick Adams is the protagonist of this tale. Upon arriving at Seney, Michigan, Nick finds that the entire town destroyed in a fire. He camps near the river where he had seen a trout earlier while walking out of the town. The next day he goes fishing in the river. The seemingly simplistic plot is a technique that Hemingway employs to communicate more by saying less. He provides details of the little things that his chief and only character Nick indulges in on this fishing trip while not sharing too many of his thoughts or spoken words. Yet, the reader can sense the cathartic effect that nature and fishing have on the war returned Nick.

10) A History of Fishing– By Sahrhage, Dietrich; Lundbeck, Johannes

A complete history of fishing


This non-fiction book takes comprehensive look at the history of fishing. It is an interesting and insightful account of the evolution of fishing from the Stone Age to the present time:how fishing techniques developed over the ages, the current methods in use, ecological implications and the possible sustainable alternatives for the future. Basically, everything that you ever wanted to know about fishing can be found in this book.


Whether you are a fishing enthusiast or not you will be able to relate to and enjoy each one of these fishing tales. So, go on and give them a read. Also, if you like to go fishing then the chances are that you too have interesting anecdotes like these stories to share.We would love to hear these fishing stories --- be it about a prize catch, failed attempts on particular fishing trip, the techniques that you have found to be most successful, a dry spell that you thought would never get over or any such experiences -- do write in to us or post them in the comments section.


- The Fishvish Team

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