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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 02-10-2006, 06:09 PM
DJ Muller DJ Muller is offline
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Default Jack Fallon

Frank,
When I first started surfcasting, long before the plethera of internet information cut the learning curve for newbie's, I found a book on surfcasting at the local library and it showed me a whole new world about surfcasting. "All About Surf Fishing," by John Fallon. I found the book, informative and challenging despite being slightly outdated (late 80's for me). I recently attained a copy and noticed that you YOU of all people, where a contributor. How well did you know Jack? Is he still around? Was he a good caster?? It sounds to me that he was well traveled. Did you know Les Boyd at all?
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:45 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

Yes, I know all those guys. Jack solicitated a portfolio of jacket cover shots from me for his first book, All About Surf Fishing and Winchester Press took and used one. I was paid nice money for that shot. During the writing he asked a bunch of surf writers how they got started and I contributed a section. (Over the years I have contributed to at least eight other books for their authors.) Jack is still around. He moved to southern New Hampshire a while back. I don't think he writes any more, not sure. We never fished with him, just knew him through the writer orgs was all. He seemed to think the world of Joyce and me, though he was a smoozer being an Irishman and all. They may be lousy cooks but they can sure leave a nice impression. I married one, though I would have liked having an Italian girl on the side. Am I taking too long with this?

Lester Boyd was a good friend. He often did features on me for the Prov Journal. His life fell apart kind of late in life and he got sick and died way back. He was another good writer who had to adapt to the computer. I knew all of them back to Staff Carroll and only one of them ever gaffed me.
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Old 02-11-2006, 12:56 PM
DJ Muller DJ Muller is offline
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

I just got a couple of Boyd's books and I find his writing style warm and enjoyable. I like reading the older stuff. The equipment changes but the approaches don't really.

Did you know Heilner by chance??
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

No, I didn't know Van Campen Heilner. How flippin old do you think I am? He was a contributor among around 24 striper greats in Waldman's Striper Anthology and the bio there says he authored, along with Frank Stick, The Call of the Surf in 1924. Assuming he was born say, 1890, he would be 115 today. I guess it is only natural when somebody is kind of old that he probably fished or flew kites with Ben Franklin. I did spend some time with Frank Stick's grand daughter in the back seat of my '51 Ford and she was as b-o-r-i-n-g as a toad.
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

When I was a pup, my first surf casting book was by Lester Boyd , it was the one with the cover shot of him dragging a Striper up the beach. For some reason I think its was taken from a beach on Long Island. It was my SC Bible, I carried it everywhere and read over and over. Boy, I wish I could find that book, just for the stories he told... Joe
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Old 02-11-2006, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Laniewski
When I was a pup, my first surf casting book was by Lester Boyd , it was the one with the cover shot of him dragging a Striper up the beach. For some reason I think its was taken from a beach on Long Island. It was my SC Bible, I carried it everywhere and read over and over. Boy, I wish I could find that book, just for the stories he told... Joe
I saw Jack Fallon just last Spring. Interesting that when I moved to the Cape he helped me find an old friend and fellow Cape Ann fisherman, Red Clark who was also down here. Now, Red and I fish together every week in season.
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

While I knew both Les and Jack, I spent much more time with Les. Some writers are expert writers, others expert fishermen, and if readers are lucky, they are expert at both. Lester once confided to me that he was really not much of a surfcaster and never pretended to be. I liked Lester's style which was kind of plain and easy to understand -- would never send a reader hoofing to a dictionary. I think Les had been an ordinary reporter who took the outdoor job at the Journal. They used to do it that way. One outdoor columnist I knew had been doing obituaries and they added the outdoors to his responsibilities.
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:39 PM
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

I guess thats why when I was younger I really attached myself to L.B. Book. It was written to be understood. I believe he started my love for surf casting, taught me some from his book and the rest i learned along the way. Its kinda like your book on Fly Fishing Frank, It won't make you a Fly Fisherman but, will guide you on your path, you still have to do the walking. Thats the way I like to take on something, get all the info you can and like Nike says " just do it". One of Jacks books used to keep me going, not sure of the title but, I believe it was for more the way that in his book, the stories he could tell. Thats also one of the reasons I can reread yours also Frank, not some much for the knowledge, which was included, but the adventures. Thanks Storytellers
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

Van Campen Heilner - he was 21 when he co-authored The Call Of The Surf. He was published in the outdoor nationals while in his teens. Like virtually all artists of the early 20th Century, he came from a very wealthy family.

It's interesting that his book is often cited among the best surf books and is illustrative in that it really confirms what is important with respect to good writing and which types of books have a legacy.

I don't think he would have been be well received by the writing establishment of today or by the Masked Avengers of the Internet. He would have been shot down on principle.
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:09 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

Nicely put, Joe. I view the Internet with great distrust, especially those first years. We have some people around, who, based upon their earlier behaviour, ought to be ashamed of themselves. How can someone rip others up and down anonymously? You have to have the balls of a field mouse. If you want to see how the old guard would have fared in today's Internet, just look at what is done routinely. Go over to Fiction . Somehow, I do think it is getting better.

Your remarks, to get back on track and out of this rant, about artistry largely from the rich is easy to support. I grew up, though I was slightly younger, with Edwin O'Conner, who authored The Last Hurrah about Boston's mayor Curley. O'Conner's dad was a very pricy heart specialist who paid all the bills so Edwin could nitter at a typewriter. My Daddy was a fire fighter.
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Old 02-12-2006, 01:20 PM
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

I just looked and, Van Campen Heilner's The Call Of The Surf is listed on alibris.com for $342 in very good condition. Not a bad legacy
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Old 02-12-2006, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

Just goes to prove, you don't have to be rich to use words., Not really sure of what I mean by that but, just one more comment on my above post. I believe that if I picked up a well written and very knowledge full book, I am not really sure if I would reread it unless, there were experiences of the author to kinda bond with. I remember reading one of Jacks books where he took this couple surf casting, I they were a couple where the husband though of nothing but skiing. I remember they whole story about that experience Jack and his wife had.. Its a part of a book thats is stuck in my mind. This to me is a well written book which I also learned from. When I read a book, which are mostly about SW fishing, I put myself into the book. I imagine what it was like to be on the Cape Beach's years ago, THATS WHAT KEEPS MY INTEREST...Other than that, I just read magazines. Well enough on this from me, Joe
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Old 02-12-2006, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

Jack Fallon's and Lester Boyd's books were the first two books on surfcasting that I read when I got started in the sport. I still find myself digging them out every September, just for the simple pleasure of reading them. My wife always asks "How many times are you going to read those books? Haven't you learned it all by now?" She still hasn't figured out that I don't read fishing books because I want to learn something.
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Old 02-12-2006, 11:17 PM
DJ Muller DJ Muller is offline
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

I found Fallon stimulating and provacative, Les I found, just an enjoyable read, he does not push me the way Jack did/does. Either way they are good reads...not quite on Frank's level but everyone needs a platform to stand on....
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Old 02-13-2006, 10:16 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Jack Fallon

I read my favorites over and over and know that others here do the same thing. That anthology of memorable articles that John Waldman put together is a precious possession. Also, Lee Wulff's The Atlantic Salmon. I get a lot of mail and remarks from readers that they do that with my books. That is how I started kidding people here that on a second read they had to send another royalty -- usually 85 cents.
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