"Every story in this book is true and some of the stories are even truer. You can depend on that. After all, I am an angler and it is a well-known and widely acknowledged fact that we angers never, ever, tell a lie; least of all when it comes to describing the size of the ones that got away. All anglers are paragons of probity. Believe me."
Bruce Sandison's preface to "Lies, Damned Lies and Anglers" sets the scene nicely for a book that brings together 77 of his essays about the joys of fishing in Scotland. His stories are suffused with humour and self-deprecation: and with a deep and contagious love for fishing and for Scotland, and the northern Highlands in particular. He brings to his observations an understanding of the natural world and a strong sense of the sometimes tragic history of the areas he roams and describes, and the end result is a series of fascinating snapshots you can dip into whenever you have a spare moment or two: ranging from personal anecdotes and guides to fishing particular lochs, to wider commentary on a range of associated subjects.
You probably need to be an angler, or have done some angling, to fully appreciate this book: but this non-angling reviewer found it interesting to approach it from the perspective of someone wanting to know more about an activity which is of great economic importance to many of the more remote and least economically active parts of Scotland. Scotland's fishing brings many people here who would not otherwise come, and there can be few better ways of gaining an insight into why they come, what they do, and what they gain from the experience, than by following in Bruce Sandison's footsteps.
As he says in concluding his preface: "Catching fish... is only a small part of being an angler. Yes, it does matter, but there are far more important facets of our art that constantly draw us back to river and loch; the sense of absolute peace and contentment that can only be found amongst the large religion of the hills; the call of curlew and golden plover; the majesty of the soaring golden eagle; the sound of loch water lapping the shores of our dreams."