"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..."

Friday, April 13, 2018

Book Review: Katz Creek and Other Stories

I don't remember exactly when I met Perry Palin, but I know that I have known about him for a long time. I believe the first time I ever heard his name was at a local Trout Unlimited meeting. Everybody who comes to one of the monthly meetings is given a chance to win the door prize, and that door prize is almost always a container of flies tied by Perry Palin. He has been providing these door prize flies for over 35 years, and though I have never won any of them, my dad did once, and some lovely little sulphur dry flies inhabited the container. Since my dad was not much of a dry fly fisherman, those unused flies were still in the container when I recently went through all of his old fishing stuff.
Perry Palin
My most memorable experiences with Perry Palin occurred at the fly shop I used to work at, Bob Mitchell's. Perry wouldn't come in often when I was working, but the few times he did were always interesting. Perry always seemed very open with information about his flies, gear, and fishing exploits, but at the end of each conversation I found myself wondering if anything I had just heard was factual. Perry just had an air about him that seemed like he might be pulling my leg at all times, or he might have been telling the truth at all times. I could never be sure. If he was telling tall tales it was not easily apparent, but the humor in which he told those tales was very apparent. Like I said, his visits were always interesting, and very memorable!

When I worked as the Editor of the newsletter for the aforementioned Trout Unlimited chapter, I was lucky to receive a few article submissions from Perry. The article that stands out in my mind is a fly tying article he wrote about his Black Horse Fly that he tied with hair from his black horse. It was by far the funniest article I ever received in my time as Editor, and I go back in the archives of my computer every so often just to read it and have a laugh. He also ties a Red Horse Fly, which is pictured below.

When I heard that Perry had written a book - actually two books now - I knew I wanted to read one of them, but up until recently I hadn't found the time to. I could blame my four kids and busy schedule on that, and I think I will. But I recently put my schedule on hold and told my kids to leave me alone for a few days so I could have some time to read Perry's first book, Katz Creek and Other Stories. It's a collection of sixteen short stories, all of which revolve around fly fishing. But the fly fishing is just a part of the stories. Young love, hi-jinks, adventure, beaver dams, and small town life all play significant roles. And Perry's subdued sense of humor is a constant factor, as well.

The stories aren't long, which is just the way I like them. I love a good short story that I can get into and out of in one sitting, and most of the stories in Katz Creek and Other Stories fit that bill. The longest is the title story, Katz Creek, which is made up of seven short chapters. Otherwise the longest story is under 10 pages long. Though short, Perry's concise writing style packs a lot of story into a small space. 

I very much enjoyed every story in the book, but I think my favorite might be Secret Love. It has everything you could ask for: young love, small town life, brook trout, adventure, and just when you think you've got it all figured out, Zwing!, Perry throws in a curve ball that you weren't expecting. At least I wasn't expecting it...

Perry claims that the stories in his two books are works of fiction, but it is very easy to think that many, if not all of them, might be at least loosely based on fact. It all seems like it could really have happened, which I would say is the mark of a great writer. After reading Katz Creek and Other Stories, I can't wait to read Perry's other book, Fishing Lessons, as soon as I have another opportunity to put my schedule on hold...

For more info on Perry Palin's books, you can email him directly at perrypalin@hotmail.com, or go to whitefishpress.com.


  1. Thanks Scott! I always have time to read and I'm always looking for someone new to read.

    1. Well, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! If you check it out, I hope you like it too!