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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Van Wie

Chance of a Lifetime

Sometimes good fortune comes to find you.


So it was in 2021 when Peter Kaminsky asked me to contribute a story for a book project he was working on, which turned into a remarkable collection of fly-fishing stories called The Catch of a Lifetime. If you are looking for a great holiday gift for a friend or family member, here is one you should consider. Or put it on your own list for Santa.


I connected with Peter through my friends at the American Museum of Fly Fishing. He was looking for fly anglers "to share a particularly fond memory that they have of flyfishing. Doesn’t have to be the biggest fish. It could easily be the most Zen moment, the place your spirit goes to when you hear the words 'fly fishing.'"


When I spoke with Peter, we agreed on a story about my annual quest for fall-run landlocked salmon up in the Kennebago or Magalloway rivers in Maine. I also suggested a few other writers for him to contact.


The Catch of a Lifetime contains over 70 (quite) short stories - just a few hundred words each - from an impressive collection of writers, anglers and guides. I am beyond flattered to be among them. To name drop a few: Thomas McGuane, John McPhee, Carl Hiaasen, David James Duncan, Joan Wulff, Peter Heller, Rachel Maddow, Howell Raines, John MacLean, Paige Wallace, Nick Lyons, W.D. Wetherell, Seth Norman, Rachel Finn, Matt Miller, Steven Sautner, and of course, my good friend and longtime fishing partner, Lou Zambello. It's a beautiful hardcover book with stunning photos interspersed throughout.


My story, on page 79, is called "September's Child." It's funny that Peter chose that name because not only does the story take place in September, but I was also born in September. My tale of timely triumph is sandwiched between stories by Cathy Newman and Joan Wulff. Lou's story "Drakes on a Lake" tells of a particularly successful outing on Kennebago Lake with his wife Lindsey. 


The Catch of a Lifetime was published in October 2023 by Artisan Books. It has earned excellent reviews. One of the best fishing books to come along in quite a while.


Enjoy! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a purposeful New Year.


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