As Robert Ruark once wrote: “The old man used to say that the best part of hunting and fishing was the thinking about going and the talking about it after you got back.” I certainly see where both Ruark and the old man were coming from on that point.

It’s also tough to go wrong with a good book about hunting or fishing. Fortunately, some of America’s greatest literary icons have produced some outstanding works on the subject over the years. Here are a few of my favorites.

The Greatest Fishing Stories Ever Told” edited by Lamar Underwood

While he makes a bold claim with the title of this book, Lamar Underwood did compile 28 exceptional stories written by incredibly gifted writers like Zane Grey, John Gierach, Thomas McGuane, and Ernest Hemingway. Underwood is the former editor-in-chief of Sports Afield and Outdoor Life, so he knows a thing or two about good writing. At least in my opinion, I’d say he stands on firm ground here.

These stories encompass everything from childhood memories fishing for bass and panfish in small ponds to fighting giant marlin on the high seas. The book should bring back fond youthful memories and excite your imagination for adventures you’ve only dreamed of.

And by the way, Lamar Underwood also edited a hunting book written along those same lines titled “The Greatest Hunting Stories Ever Told.” That book is also well worth a read if you’re craving some entertaining and thought-provoking stories of adventures afield by talented writers.

The Old Man and the Boy” by Robert Ruark

One of Ruark’s most famous works (and the source of the quote at the beginning of this article), “The Old Man and the Boy” is a compilation of autobiographical articles he wrote for Field & Stream in the 1950s about his boyhood adventures in the company of his grandfathers. Written in an easy prose, Ruark shares those experiences along with the important lessons he learned along the way.

Hands down, this is my favorite hunting book of all-time and reading it brings back treasured memories I have of camping and hunting with my grandfather as a boy that mirror those that Ruark describes in the book.

The Old Man and The Sea” by Ernest Hemingway

Perhaps the most famous fish tale ever told, “The Old Man and The Sea” is definitely one of Hemingway’s most celebrated books and it’s a classic fishing story if there ever was one.

That said, the powerful story of the old man and his struggle to bring the giant marlin he caught far out in the ocean back to port should resonate with everyone, even those who are not serious anglers.

I first read this book about 10 years ago just to see what the fuss was all about and was not disappointed. If you haven’t read it yet, you really should.