Location: Miramichi

Doug Underhill – Author and Outdoorsman

Come join us in Doug’s tranquil back yard as we get to know this eclectic author and get a glimpse at his latest book, Salmon Country! Whoever thought that fishing and hockey would be referenced in the same book?

Writer, poet and author Doug Underhill grew up in a home filled with language interaction. His father would sing, his mother would read to him, and together they would tell stories and jokes. As a result Doug developed a love for language, reading books, and the spice of words that brought that language to life. That fascination with language led to a 32 year career teaching high school English, 20 years as a sports journalist and freelance writer, author of twelve books, and in addition to his ongoing writing he also has a weekly fishing column. Doug says that there is indeed life in language with different levels of meaning in words. It is no coincidence then that he has an ear for puns, and he admits that his past students were an unsuspecting (and captive) audience to his unrelenting wit!

Doug grew up in Newcastle, New Brunswick; a place situated on the mighty Miramichi River which snakes it’s way from the forested enclaves to Miramichi Bay and on to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The rivers of New Brunswick hold a special connection for Doug, and our time spent with him revealed a man that cherishes the simple pleasures in life, preferring to vacation in his own back yard (literally), or out in his other “back yard”, the wilderness and rivers of New Brunswick. These rivers not only give life, but also hold life, and as an avid fisherman Doug has been in pursuit of one such denizen of these waters, the king of all fish, the venerable Atlantic salmon!

This leads in to his latest book, Salmon Country, a coffee table book inspired by editor Jacques Héroux, whose idea it was to portray the book not as a “how to fish” book, but rather as a sentient representation of the culture, people, history and ambiance of fly fishing the rivers of New Brunswick. These famous fly fishing waters are the dominion of his protagonist, the Atlantic salmon, and Doug’s compelling and descriptive writing matched with photographer André Gallant’s stunning pictures gives the reader the true essence of what it means to participate in the culture of sport fishing throughout this pristine, sylvan province.

I think Doug’s gift for writing is an altruistic one; a means for us to share in his experiences and to “step into his hip waders” so to speak. It is also meant to satisfy his conveyance of language in a meaningful, interesting, humourous and entertaining fashion. If we haven’t experienced the thrill of an Atlantic salmon straining against a tiny hook while knee deep in a sparkling river, Doug’s narrative will certainly put us there! As I was reading Doug’s prose poem at the beginning of Salmon Country I could picture and feel the sights, sounds and energy of the moment, right up until that last tail snap as the salmon is returned from whence it came!