“By that time I’d figured out what it took to live in New York City,” Gierach now says of the Big Apple incident over 30 years ago. “You didn’t take any shit.”
Gierach and I are sitting in the back room of the South Creek, Ltd. rod shop in the tiny town of Lyons, Colorado, a setting so seemingly Gierach-like that it’s hard to imagine him ever being part of any other world, much less Manhattan. Cigarette smoke fills the room as he describes how he migrated from Glenwood, Illinois, to Colorado back in the late ’60s.
“I graduated from Findley College in Findley, Ohio, with a major in philosophy and a minor in art and English, an absolutely worthless degree,” he says. “And I came west mostly because you could, you could do that back then, when you were 20 years old and it was the late ’60s.”
But it turns out that his degree wasn’t worthless. In fact, if you own all 13 of Gierach’s highly successful books and you think that constitutes his entire collection, you’re wrong. Because his 14th book, the one you don’t hear about, the one nobody knows exists, is actually a collection of poetry.
“I never thought I’d become a fishing writer,” he says, a rather surprising statement coming from one of the most successful fishing writers of all time. “I thought I’d be a poet or a novelist or something. I started writing about fishing because I was doing a lot of fishing anyway and I figured, ‘Hey, why not do this?'”