A tip of the cap to the good folks at GWPR Books and Skyhorse Publishing for reaching out to me and getting me a copy of this great book to review! ~DesertRat

Wide and Deep By Randy Spencer

Tales and Recollections from a Master Maine Fishing Guide

From the release:

There is little about the remote town Grand Lake Stream, in eastern Maine, and its surrounding lakes that Randy Spencer doesn’t know like the back of his hand. Spencer, a Master Maine Guide, has learned from the best, and has enough experience as a hunting and fishing guide to fill several lifetimes.

Wide and Deep transports readers to remote backwoods and crystal clear lakes. At its most remote, rural Maine is truly breathtaking in its natural beauty, and Spencer is unrivaled in his ability to capture like no other the experiences of fishing and hunting in some of the most hidden and undisturbed areas in the world.

The relationship between a sport and his guide is an ongoing conversation, one that can last hours, days, and even years. The company you offer is just as valued as the company you keep. Whether they are stories of joy or of pain, there is nothing like listening to Randy Spencer, and Wide and Deep perfectly captures the moments on the water that people wait their entire lives for and spend the rest of their lives remembering.

This was one of my favorite books yet to review – because it took me home. I was born and raised in this part of the country, growing up in New Brunswick along the Maine border. I moved to northern Maine and lived there several years before moving to Arizona 20 years ago. My grandfather was born in that part of Maine and I’m pretty sure there was at least one Maine Guide in the family tree, somewhere along the way.

Spencer writes in the soft-spoken, matter of fact style that is the way a lot of Mainers talk – it was comfortable to me and reading the book with the Maine accent in my head made it even more so. Spencer is the old-time guide; an expert at woodsman-ship, a master in the canoe, a steward of the land, and essentially – a biologist too. His love of the woods and waters where he works is apparent, as his admiration of his clients and respect for his quarry.

Reading this book, you’ll get a glimpse of the ways of the native Americans who inhabited the lands for centuries. You’ll read of their lore, their fellowship with the animals and birds, and their history. You’ll get an appreciation for the complexity, the beauty, and the dangers of the waters near Grand Lake Stream. You’ll read stories both funny and tragic, and by the end you’ll discern that in the course of his job, Spencer makes friendships with clients that last quite literally – lifetimes. You’ll read of fishing of course – his style such that you can almost feel the smallmouth yanking the rod in your hands, and feel the splash of water on your face. You can smell the fresh but musty smell of bogs and deadwaters and slow moving streams. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to pick fiddleheads – you know the smell I mean.

Of course, you can’t have a conversation with someone from Maine without a bit of wry humor rolled in and I have to tell you – in Spencer’s book I read what was quite possibly the funniest moose story I have ever heard. I’m still chuckling when I recall it.

Absolutely recommend this book – Mr. Spencer writes is a great style; a style I imagine is awfully close to how he talks. The book is funny and sad, and small town quaint. It is woods and waters and fish and fieldcraft – done in the old ways. It is fish fried in butter on the shore, with loons crying in the distance – happy, simple, and inducing one to reflect. Great book – it’s easy to see why it won so many awards.