Fly Life Magazine

Angler, author Thomas McGuane receives Heritage Award

Author Thomas McGuane Receives One Of Fly Fishing’s Highest Honors

by Monte Burke, contributing editor at Forbes. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

In a ceremony last night (April 5) in Midtown Manhattan, the author, Thomas McGuane, was presented with the Heritage Award by the American Museum of Fly Fishing, that organization’s highest honor. It’s a fitting award, given what McGuane has passed down to the sport of fly fishing. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would disagree with the late Jim Harrison’s line: “Thomas McGuane writes better about fishing than anyone else in the history of mankind.”

McGuane and Tom Brokaw at awards dinner in NYC.

McGuane has treated his angling pieces (the best of which are collected in his book, The Longest Silence: A Life in Fishing) as seriously as his novels. And that has provided us—as anglers, readers, and writers—with permission to do the same. Most of us on the writing side have turned out to be merely pale imitators of the master of the form. But the fact that there is something to strive for is enough lifeblood to survive on forever.

“What is most emphatic in angling is made so by the long silences,” is McGuane’s opening line to his celebrated permit-fishing essay, “The Longest Silence.” It is perhaps the finest—and most accurate—opening line in the history of angling writing . . . At the end of the evening, McGuane’s old friend, Tom Brokaw, took the stage with him, and the two reminisced about the various points around the globe that the sport of fly fishing had taken them, from Tierra del Fuego to the Kola Peninsula.

“So, Tom, what’s your favorite type of fly fishing?” Brokaw asked him.

“Garden variety public trout fishing,” McGuane answered, to cheers from the gathered crowd.

Read the complete story . . .

NOTE: Featured Image Tom Brokaw presents his close friend Thomas McGuane with American Museum of Fly Fishing’s coveted Heritage Award. AMFF photo.

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