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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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  #16  
Old 04-27-2012, 04:20 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

The four chidren in Twenty Years .... are all in their fifties today. Except for Carol, who is a grandmother, they all still fish.

At the time of my writing the commercial fishing aspects of the book might have offended some readers. Even twenty years ago when I wrote it our society had become overly isolated from the earthy nature of family survival, being poor, fighting a buggy to keep it running on the beach, providing subsistance in a wild and then isolated Cape Cod. There was a lot of canned food and a lot of make do -- English muffin pizzas, fried dab, mackerel fillets. And of course the symbolic Chicken-a-la-King which carried both the notions of an ending patrol and fishing so bad that we had no fish to bring in from the beach.

As it is with all fishing, one of the book's purposes was to address the notion of feast or famine in the striper surf. The bad trips above were punctuated by knock down drag out blitz where we had to throw away ice to make room in the coolers for a ton of fish. And the money, forever the money. Poverty's only solution ....
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

FRANK----our country is full of people who make judgments on the things that we did at an age and time of which they neither lived in, nor had any experience with, and, their goal, planned or otherwise, makes us feel unwarranted guilt, just as they will feel, years from now, when a later generation of "judges" critique their own lives.
We CANNOT, with any substance, pass judgement on ways of life that we have had no experience with. But, it will always continue to be done, and, I have learned to accept that fact with no feeling of guilt for my actions of the past.
The Civil War was horrible, slavery was horrible, and the suffering was horrible, but, we did not live then, and, we cannot FEEL what those that lived at that time felt, and the necessities for survival have changed.
That is the great flaw of passing judgment on the things that occurred in past history.
And, I believe that few people ever really understand this.

MULE.
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:33 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
At the time of my writing the commercial fishing aspects of the book might have offended some readers. Even twenty years ago when I wrote it our society had become overly isolated from the earthy nature of family survival, being poor, fighting a buggy to keep it running on the beach, providing subsistance in a wild and then isolated Cape Cod. There was a lot of canned food and a lot of make do -- English muffin pizzas, fried dab, mackerel fillets. And of course the symbolic Chicken-a-la-King which carried both the notions of an ending patrol and fishing so bad that we had no fish to bring in from the beach.
That's what made it a great book, Frank, at least IMHO. I bought and read it the first year it was published. We had six kids and were subsisting much as you were. I was making $75/hr. at a job I disliked. We were subsisting much as you and Joyce were at that time. I couldn't afford a beach buggy of any description. We had a 15 year old Ford 4-dr. to commute, shop, camp, etc. Fortunately, I lived in an area where most young couples were in the same boat. You guys were my heros; living on the beach all summer, fishing commercially, living off the land all summer. And to top it all off, you were catching big fish. Up on the north shore we had a lot of fish but not a lot of large ones. Between Cape Ann and Plum Island there were (maybe) 2-3 50+ fish taken each year.

Picture is another two heros of those days, Dick Samms and Arnold Lane.
BillH

Last edited by lagoonguy : 09-24-2014 at 06:04 PM.
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  #19  
Old 04-28-2012, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

Great post, great photos. I met Arnold but he was getting out of the beach life when we were going in. Samms I knew well and spent many mid-watch hunts in the same areas. Many of us thought him a little shockwa, mostly because of his mad Russian hair all hell west. Keep in mind that we didn't get to P-town until they tightened the regs at Nauset in 1970. For a surfman Nauset was a much better place. Arnold was a P-town boatman and Samms was a surfcaster to the core. I think, but I really don't know, that both of them had monetary issues. Joyce and Frank were emerging professionally. College and two mortgages killed us until Joyce went to work. Even winters we didn't finish our two Masters until '77. I digress.

Arnold and Woolner were hunting and fishing buddies and Woolner too slipped away from the beach life. It was a very tough life style and few old men, with the exception of George Carlezon, stayed in it once the hammer blows of time sounded. In September my mother would say, "Francis, I think you got cancer." It was a compelling and adventurous life. At 75 neither of us, Bill, could do it today. I choke up when I think of the time when we were young enough to be good.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:54 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

Here's one of Geo. Carlezon with a 61 pounder - another early hero.
BillH

Last edited by lagoonguy : 09-24-2014 at 06:04 PM.
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  #21  
Old 04-28-2012, 05:38 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

This is what I wrote to Frank a few years ago. It is as true today as it was then.

Every couple of years or so I'll pull Twenty Years on the Cape out of my library and read it again. I just finished my 5th or 6th reading of the book, and I choked up again because of the poignancy of your family story and the loss of a way of life that you symbolized and immortalized.

There's hardly another book that I've read more than once, and certainly no other that has commanded several readings. For me it is a masterpiece and a piece of history that will never be repeated.

I hope all is well with you and your family.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:35 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

I read it 20 years ago when I was in my 20's. Now in my 40's I think I will appreciate the story even more. As I see many things in a different light.

Can't find it..lost in the storms of my own life. I'll have to order another. Please sign and # copy.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

Every single one of you on this post has touched on the one most important reason for reading a book. We read it because we identify with the people in it, and with their experiences, or because we like to imagine ourselves in their situations. This is why we read books, as BILL said, until the pages fall out. A good book is therapeutic.

Strictly HOW TO books have their place, but when we have a book that we reread over and over, we are not reading it to review the techniques described therein, but to go back in time and seek out that feeling, that attitude, to make us feel good, improve our present and future, or to just relive what we can no longer approach with the aggression with which we once could.

The absolute most damnable boring classes that I ever took in my meager post high-school education, were classes in which we were taught to read a book objectively, searching for the intrinsic reasons why an author wrote such and such a paragraph. There were times that I felt like standing up in class and saying THIS IS B.S. (unabbreviated), WHY WOULD I READ A BOOK FOR THE AUTHORS MOTIVATIONS? I READ IT BECAUSE OF THE WAY IT MAKES ME FEEL.
CHRIS G.---on 24APR2012 at 9:28 PM, you summed it up perfectly.

MULE.
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  #24  
Old 04-29-2012, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

The format, printing and picture quality of the first printing do not represent the book's purpose adequately. Even when we redid it, it was too much like the original. I wonder if a quality, way more expensive version with interior color -- coffee tabled much in the way Kib Bramhall's Bright Waters, Shining Tides was done -- might be a better idea. Other than a color back cover of my wife Joyce, the second printing was too much like the original. Both are cheap presentations which would fail to impress many buyers. You have to grab them with something nice. That is one of life enigmas: by the time you know what you are doing, you are too old to do it
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:43 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

I was told recently not to worry about old age because it doesn't last long.
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  #26  
Old 04-29-2012, 08:00 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

Hey Frank, have you ever thought of doing a memoir, something that touches on all aspects of your life: hunting, fishing, family, the back seat of a 1953 Ford, etc.? Something broader, and not so subject-specific, as any of the fishing books?

I generally hate memoirs, because too many people whose lives are uninteresting write them, and get them published. Reading a lousy memoir makes the fine print on the side of a box of Froot Loops seem riveting. But a good memoir is a transcendent thing -- and you could write a doozy if you wanted to.

Have you ever thought of this? Or are you reluctant to bastardize stuff you've already written? Do you think that fishermen, knuckle-draggers that we are, could handle a purely literary book, one whose purposes are entirely narrative, with fishing only a background for the broader story?
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  #27  
Old 04-30-2012, 03:49 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

Memoirs are hugely unpopular with publishers. Most have a distinct policy against them. I came closest to a memoir with Eastern Tides, a surfcaster's life and was disappointed enough with its sales to stop work on two other books. Both are nearly finished. Something drastic has happened to the book business that I think goes way beyond my own ability to write a book. I think it is a lot of things and one, not already mentioned, is the spate of striper fishing books that have come out recently. The market is flooded, in some cases with weak books and I think they have dizzyied readers and caused a certain amount of swearing off fishing books. I have been given review copies of some and they are weak.

There has been a general effort on the part of writers to break into all the markets -- books, articles, seminars, sport shows -- at industry destructive rates just to get their names out there. Many, certainly not all, have no talent, bring nothing to the industry. But they are in effect saying, "put me in coach. I don't smoke." What I am faced with are incompetent publishers who can't sell books; I am insulted by rate comparisons with other authors willing to do freebees while I require a serious honorarium for my services. Just this year I had a club contact person agree to pay me for a show with clear stipulations. Later, he offered me less. I told him to stick it. Next clubs will be offering onions and potatoes for a seminar. People willing to work for nothing have killed the outdoor writing game. I had it when it was good but it spoiled me. One more rant: the best writing gig I ever had was right here at stripersurf.com working for Bob D'Amico.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

The "Stripersurf Insider"... You did write some really good articles for that Frank. I believe Bob migrated some of them into the articles in the main section of the site away from the forums. For those of you who haven't ventured there, give it a look. Some good stuff not only from Frank, but many others.
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  #29  
Old 05-01-2012, 12:50 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

A curiosity that springs from time is that the Cape Cod of today is nothing like it was during the period about which the book was written. Rangers with an attitude; seals; over development; even the B&Ts are run by outsiders. But the book warned of what it is today and even cautioned that NPS could do it all again elsewhere. Twenty Years forshadowed the OBX nightmare.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Book Talk: Twenty Years on the Cape

Riverview and The Hookup are both owned/run by cape codders. Not the original owners, but long-time CCrs.
BillH
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