Rod and Line
Rod and Line
Published by Jonathan Cape July, 1929.
In print. Medlar Press (2006)
Between August, 1925 and September, 1929, Ransome wrote a weekly fishing column, called Rod and Line, for the Manchester Guardian. In total he produced some 215 articles.
In mid-1927, the publisher Jonathan Cape contacted Ransome, asking for permission to take over Racundra’s First Cruise, for re-issue in their Traveller’s Library series. Ransome was delighted, as he had “always looked upon (that) book as the first sign of escape from the political writing in which I had been engulfed for so long“. With Allen & Unwin’s agreement the transfer was made, and Ransome thus began his long relationship with Jonathan Cape.
Soon afterwards, Cape suggested that it was time Ransome began putting together “some books” to support himself when he got old. Cape had in mind collections of essays on various subjects. Ransome suggested a selection of his Rod and Line fishing articles. Cape agreed and these were duly published in 1929. It is arguably “one of the three or four most important fishing books of this century in any language” (Jeremy Swift, Arthur Ransome on Fishing, 1994). It has been reprinted many times and, in 1982, formed the subject matter for the Granada TV series of the same name, presented and narrated by Michael Horden.
Because of Swallows and Amazons, Jonathan Cape never got his other essays, but Ransome did get the books needed to support him in old age.
Rod and Line includes fifty fishing essays, taken from Ransome’s weekly Manchester Guardian column. Ransome re-edited many before including them in this volume. He also included his own translation from the fishing memoirs of Sergei Aksakov, a Russian nobleman.
The pleasures of fishing are chiefly to be found in rivers, lakes and tackle-shops and, of the three, the last are the least affected by the weather.