"In his classic short story “A Fatal Success,” Henry Van Dyke describes the progression of the serious angler as one of “slow degrees (. . . first a transient delusion, then a fixed idea, then a chronic infirmity, finally a mild insanity).” Henry Van Dyke never met Dan Brown. If he had met Dan he would have added at least a few more steps in the march to total angling madness.
Dan Brown has written a collection of short tales, Da Fishi Code, that documents his progression through and beyond the “slow degrees” listed by Van Dyke. The tales cover all seasons of fishing for trout, bass, and panfish, and hunting for upland birds and deer, all in the Upper Midwest. Some of the tales are humorous, some are serious, and all are quick entertainment. They are true stories, as true as any we can expect from a fisherman. The book gave me a chance to assess my own place on Van Dyke‘s scale.
Dan Brown lives in Taylors Falls, on the St. Croix River, with his ever suffering wife Su. They have raised two boys into accomplished young anglers and hunters. Many of the stories feature one or both of the boys as they are growing up on a trout stream, or fishing for bass or walleyes at a family cabin, or in the upland game fields, or in the deer woods.
Many of us in the Upper Midwest know that Dan Brown is the guy who caught a 50 inch sturgeon on a 7wt fly rod on a cold spring day. This would have been impressive enough if he had been able to follow the fish up and down the St. Croix in a boat. But no, he was on foot the whole time, except for swimming twice during the battle.
This is not a how-to do it book, unless you want to learn how to lose a personal record brown trout, or how to express your frustration on the stream, in the car on the way home, and for the rest of your life. But it is a good read from our own good, Midwestern country.
Dan is a trout fishing guide, FFI certified fly casting instructor, fisherman and hunter, freelance writer and newspaper contributor, and ehumember of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
Da Vinci Code is 221 pages, published by Beaver’s Pond Press . Available on Amazon through the author’s website, https://www.danbrowntrout.com/ and at fly shops and select stores in Minnesota and Wisconsin."
---Perry Palin, author of Fishing Lessons: Stories and Essays from Midwestern Streams, and Katz Creek and Other Stories (Whitefish Press)
"I just finished Da Fishi Code. It made me laugh and reflect on life, relationships and the outdoors.
It's an enjoyable read and masterfully written. John Gierach has nothing on Dan Brown. I am proud to have fished with the author."
---David K., Maple Grove, MN
"I wanted you to know I got a book by a guy with your namesake and it is fantastic. It is a combination between Patrick McManus and Michael Perry.
We have all been laughing at the stories you included about Anders and Augie. I haven't read the other Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code but my simple brain prefers your style."
---Brian M., Lindstrom, MN