The Second Fly Caster: Fatherhood, Recovery and an Unforgettable Tournament

Rated 4.00/5 based on 12 reviews
Erik is proud that his father is a great fly caster, but then an unexpected outcome of a casting tournament leaves Erik questioning what once seemed to be only a sport.

Years later, these questions deepen when Erik’s ideals are crushed by war. He struggles with his demons, until a discovery leads him to new meanings of fly casting. Through their prism, Erik sees the world in a forgiving light. More
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About Randy Kadish

I'm a native New Yorker. After a good deal of disappointment, I gave up writing. Then my mother passed away, and I found that fishing helped ease my grief. Almost accidentally, I wrote and sold a fishing article. Afterwards, my articles and memoirs appeared in many publications, including The Flyfisher, Flyfishing & Tying Journal and Yale Anglers' Journal.

To me, much of my writing is about how the challenges of fishing and the beauty of the outdoors helped me come to terms with loss and with a world I can't always understand. In a sense, my writing is autobiographical, as it reflects my own gratifying, but at times, difficult journey of emotional and spiritual recovery.

On the long road of my journey, I slowly learned that, even when I don't have answers, I must strive to find forgiveness and self-worth and to connect to the good in the world. (This is how I define spirituality.) I therefore love books where the main characters struggle against inner and outer conflicts and then try to do what's right.

My most recent book is, The Way of the River: My Journey of Fishing, Forgiveness and Spiritual Recovery.

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Review by: Marianne Curtis on Jan. 27, 2013 :
I enjoy reading short stories because they usually tell a great story, have a lesson involved and move on. This story is no exception. A boy idolizes his father and feels threatened when a better fly caster comes along. While he loves watching his father cast his rod, he doesn’t see the real value of the patience and practice until he meets another, more skilled caster than his dad. But instead of dethroning the father as a hero in his son`s eyes, the new fisherman gives the son a better perspective on why casting meant so much for his father. After practising, he honoured his father by breaking the record he was never able to.

My father was a fly-caster. While I was too young to appreciate or even remember his skills, I remember my father`s face when he would talk about fishing and pour over magazines to learn how to make his own flies. I enjoyed this story because it mentally put me in a place where I could appreciate my father`s love of his hobby and mourn the fact that he never went fishing again during the last 20 years of his life – it made me very sad for him.

Marianne Curtis
Finding Gloria, Moondust and Madness: A collection of Poetry, Behind Whispering Pines, Finding Gloria ~ Special Edition and Brian’s Last Ride
(review of free book)
Review by: Jill Bemis on July 7, 2011 :
A man must realize his tournament winning fly-fishing father is just an obsessive and compulsive human being with flaws before he can overcome self-doubts to deal with his own alcoholism and mature as a man.


Author Randy Kadish draws parallels between main character Erik’s and his tournament winning fly-fishing father’s battle with alcoholism, unspoken horrors and feelings of failure as they both pursued unattainable goals. After cancer and alcohol took his father’s life, Erik picks up the fly rod and obsessively practices fly casting, sacrificing his studies so he can cast over 100 feet to win the next tournament for his father. For both, fly-fishing became an out, a way to side step the bottle rather than face their own demons.

Although the author’s vivid descriptions of certain scenes engage the reader and generate interest in the main plot, the three main characters could have been more fully developed. This reader was left wondering whether the author deliberately left out what demons the father failed to face and what were the fly casting techniques left by his father.

Overall it was a quick paced coming of age story.
(reviewed 74 days after purchase)
Review by: Sheila Deeth on July 6, 2011 :
I don’t fish. I don’t know anything about how winds might spoil a fly-casting tournament (though okay, I can probably imagine). I don’t know anything about baseball either. But Randy Kadish’s short story, The Second Fly-Caster, soon pulls me into the world of a young American boy, caught between his mother’s desire for him to do well in school and his father’s love of fly-casting and the great outdoors.
The story’s told through the young boy’s words and the voice is beautifully beguiling and consistent, from youth to adulthood. Images of Roman gladiators striding to battle, churches weighed down by silence, and snowmen mayors make the narrator and his memories seem vividly real.
“God, even though I don’t always believe in you…” the young boy prays, and his fears are fervently real. He loves his dad, he hates the foe, and he dreads the thought of failure.
In the end the enemy’s not entirely unexpected, the sadness not entirely salvageable. But a child can still be a hero, and the memory of his father can be a hero’s memory. The story spans America and Vietnam, accountancy and the casting of a line, to come full circle, to a place where a man can thank God and truly become all he can be.

Disclosure: The author gave me a free ecopy of this story after I reviewed an earlier, equally enjoyable, book.
(reviewed 76 days after purchase)
Review by: Mandy Shemery on July 4, 2011 :

The man fly-casting on the cover could be either a depiction of a grown-up Erik or the depiction of Erik's father during Erik's younger years.


This is a short story layered in meaning. We begin thinking we know everything there is to know, but then we learn of Erik's father's past and his reason for fly-casting. This helps us to get a better understanding of the family dynamics between Erik and his parents.

Then, after Erik grows up, goes off to war and returns again, the art of fly-casting becomes Erik's respite from the demons he brought back with him from the war. As he's mastering this art, the realizations of his father's past come upon Erik bringing with it understanding, forgiveness and peace.

Main Characters

Erik's Father - A veteran who uses alcohol to cope. He can become mean while under an alcoholic rage (don't most people). When he finds fly-casting, though, he uses that as his therapy to deal with his PTSD and becomes great at it.

Erik - Idolizes his father and his fly-casting abilities.


This was a short story that has a big impact.
(reviewed 64 days after purchase)
Review by: Romance Girl on July 3, 2011 :
Erik, a young boy is very proud of his father, a tournament fly caster champion. Various events lead young Erik to question many things he holds dear in his life. A stranger shows up at a fishing tournament and things are not as they seem, an older Erik is called to the Vietnam war and demons start to plague him, he is called home from the army because of his dying father, then more then demons haunt him when he begins drinking just like his father.

This is not my typical read; but a good story non the less. The fly fishing part holds no interest to me. Number 1, I hate fishing and number 2, I don't understand the terminology. You don't need to know anything about fishing, however to enjoy the story. There are lessons to be learned and forgiveness that needs given. Erik has to learn that life is not always as it appears and that even adults have to believe in themselves and forgive themselves for what they are not. This is a wonderful story of a boy and his dad and that boy loving his father and letting go of things that one cannot control. This is a quick read and is easily read in one sitting. I highly recommend it.
(reviewed 67 days after purchase)
Review by: glraines on June 16, 2011 :
The Second Fly Caster is a story about appearances, what matters and what doesn't, perceptions, and relationships.

It is also a story about how we see others and how that affects our perceptions and relationships.

Although, being a non-fishing person (generally speaking), I don't entirely "get" the fishing metaphor, the quote that best summarizes the story for me is:

"Maybe Shane Riley was a figment of the old stranger's imagination."
My father's eyes opened real wide. "Or maybe he wasn't, and maybe if he had showed up--you see, the truth I've finally come to see is that fly casting isn't about competing against others. It's about finding ways of getting better and better and of competing against ourselves and then it's about one day accepting that, even though we've never made a perfect fly cast, we've made the best cast we can. I'm sorry if that sounds corny, but at least it isn't a lie."
(reviewed 46 days after purchase)
Review by: Quentin Stewart on May 28, 2011 :
A short but interesting look at a son's coming of age and learning lessons that were hidden to him as he grew up. The perfect father has flaws and in later life the son learns those flaws must have come about from some hurt in the past as the flaws in his character are brought out by the life experiences that he is affected by. He learns that perfecting a cast was more then trying to win a competition or casting further then others. It turns out to be a way to concentrate and to try to overcome the flaws that affect our lives.

An excellent read. Well worth the few minutes it takes to read it.
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
Review by: Krystal Larson on May 22, 2011 :
Saturday, May 21, 2011Miya Black, Pirate Princess I: Adventure Dawns: Ben White
Good Reads Summary:

There's no place like home. For Princess Miya Black, 'home' is Clover Island, a tiny dot of a place not even named on most maps. Founded fifteen years ago by her parents, ex-pirate Tomas "Boots" Black and ex-princess Lilith "Lily" Brightburn, it's a place for second chances and new beginnings. It's there that Miya was born, there she grew up, and there she now lives, spending her days riding with her best friend, practicing swordsmanship with her fake uncle, sailing with her father, and avoiding book lessons with her mother. To Miya it's the best place in the entire world, and she knows how lucky she is to have it. So when her home is threatened Miya doesn't just sit around around sulking. She's the princess of Clover Island, with the blood of pirate legends running through her veins, and she'll do whatever it takes to protect her kingdom.

This novel makes for a good, quick read on the beach or somewhere just as pleasant. Miya is a very likable and fun character to read about, constantly active and always inquisitive and caring. There are spikes of excitement for the reader when he/she becomes aware that the small island Miya lives on is being threatened by outside forces. The overall plot is interesting, a little bland in places, and will keep the reader entertained for most of the book. The reader will find the pirate history a nice touch and that will help to pique his/her interest. The supporting characters help to amplify Miya's main role and serve to move the events along at a quick pace. This is a great read for children, teens, or anyone who is a child at heart.
Posted by Krystal at 3:54 PM 4 comments Email This
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Legacy - Book One of the Balancer Chronicles: Chris Adonn
Good Reads Summary:
Legacy begins with Katrina (Kat) Blake’s return to her childhood home after a five year absence. She has come back with the sole intention of reading the letter her estranged grandmother (Rosemarie) left her, before she sells the estate—but it’s not that simple. The letter comes with a journal which promises to unveil all the mysteries surrounding her life which have confounded her for years. She soon realises that the account was not written by Rosemarie but by a man named James Blackburne, and according to him they are related.

James is a four-hundred year old immortal; a balancer. His primary function is to protect the natural world from supernatural entities. In an attempt to connect with Kat, and aid her in her adjustment to her new life, he tells her his life story, starting with his birth in 1625, his death in 1650 as well as his subsequent rebirth as a balancer and the adventures which ensue.

James’s story takes Kat on a journey she never imagined possible. He weaves a gripping tale of life, love, adventure and self-discovery which ensnares her interest and compels her to keep reading, but he does a lot more than that. He reaches across time and space to connect with her in the present, as well as explain the motivations behind her grandmother’s apparent cold dismissal of her when she was a sensitive and fragile girl of eighteen. For Kat this is a precious gift as the emotional wounds their parting inflicted have never really healed.

This book is a great rainy day read, very enjoyable. The plot is interesting and leaves the reader wanting more; the characters are mysterious, yet very honest. The writing style of the author is good, nothing undesirable there. The reader will enjoy the subtlety of the author in explaining delicate scenarios and their resultant affect on the characters' feelings. The connection between the past and the present is strong in this novel, the reader will enjoy two stories: that of the main character and her male counterpart, James. The reader will be happy throughout James' forays into love and romance and feel unhappy along with him as his life inevitable leads to sorrow. The reader will hold on to residual anger at Kat's grandmother for her seemingly hard facade in front of her granddaughter. This book is a great read for young adults/adults who enjoy discovering well-kept secrets.
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Friday, May 20, 2011Chasing After Wind: RW Holmen
Good Reads Summary:
A short story about life as a soldier in Vietnam.

This is the fourth installment in the series of Vietnam short stories entitled "LRRP Rangers Vietnam". The first three short stories were set in the mountains and jungles of Vietnam's central highlands, but "Chasing After Wind" takes place on the Ranger company grounds in the base camp of An Khe. Yet, this installment is no less bold, dark, and intense (the words of a reviewer) than the earlier stories that recounted missions in the field.

The title is borrowed from the Old Testament, and the short story begins with this epigraph:

"No one has power over the wind to restrain the wind, or power over the day of death; there is no discharge from the battle ... all is vanity and a chasing after wind."

Ecclesiastes 8:8 & 1:14

"Chasing After Wind" considers twists of fate in the context of a barracks poker game, the uncontrollable wind, and a malevolent joker in the deck.

The reader should be prepared to read about the gloomy, gory reality of Vietnam.
""Chasing After Wind" is the fourth volume of a series entitled LRRP Rangers Vietnam. The LRRPs of Vietnam (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) were the cavalry scouts of their war, traveling by helicopter rather than mustangs into remote and unfriendly territory. The mountainous jungles of the central highlands were especially inhospitable, filled with snakes and wild animals, and criss crossed with the tributaries of the Ho Chi Minh trail that lay hidden beneath the thick, triple-canopy jungle foliage. It was the job of small teams of LRRPs to penetrate the ridges and valleys of the rainforest to track and identify enemy activity."

The above is taken from Amazon. The novel itself is super short, but no less powerful. The main character "keeps things real" throughout the novel, giving what the reader can only assume to be a true account of his surroundings. The characters are not glorified or portrayed as "heroes"; they are meant to be men performing feats that are expected of them in times of battle. The reader will enjoy the camraderie and the details provided by the author; the plot becomes real. This novel is terrific for young adults and adults long as they are not expecting an action-packed novel.

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Dirty Little Angels: Chris Tusa
Good Reads Summary:
Set in the slums of New Orleans, among clusters of crack houses and abandoned buildings, Dirty Little Angels is the story of sixteen year old Hailey Trosclair. When the Trosclair family suffers a string of financial hardships and a miscarriage, Hailey finds herself looking to God to save her family. When her prayers go unanswered, Hailey puts her faith in Moses Watkins, a failed preacher and ex-con. Fascinated by Moses' lopsided view of religion, Hailey, and her brother Cyrus, begin spending time down at an abandoned bank that Moses plans to convert into a drive-through church. Gradually, though, Moses' twisted religious beliefs become increasingly more violent, and Hailey and Cyrus soon find themselves trapped in a world of danger and fear from which there may be no escape.

The author really captures the young adult mind-set and feeling in this novel. The novel is very "dark", even depressing; however, the author means to represent a certain reality in many societies. The reader will have to restrain her/himself throughout the book from wanting to shake the characters and tell them what to do, however, this is likely the author's intention. A good author evokes a response in the reader, a quality Tusa has down pat. Hailey makes for a good protagonist, definitely eliciting sympathy in the reader. Her brother is arrested at least three times for stealing, yet doesn't attempt to change his lifestyle and doesn't consider Hailey at all. Hailey's mother is no role-model and constantly depressed; Hailey is surrounded by drinking, fights, drugs, etc... The author's writing style kept the reader interested throughout the majority of the book, some of his words and/or phrases were a tad redundant in areas, but otherwise good. The reader may feel that there is no "guide" in this novel, a trait that could be seen as negative, but the author crafts into a positive trait-the book builds upon itself, the plot unfolding slowly and the characters developing throughout the novel. Hailey gives an "assumed to be" true account of the events surrounding her. The ending could have used more explanation and detail, but the reader will be mostly satisfied.
Posted by Krystal at 10:54 PM 0 comments Email This
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The Discovery of Socket Greeny: Tony Bertauski
Good Reads Summary: Work comes first for 16-year old Socket Greeny's mother ever since his father died. That was 11 years ago. Now, in this tech-driven futuristic society, he's zoned on energy drinks and living in virtual worlds because Mom rarely comes home. He doesn't know what she does for a living. The bills get paid and the refrigerator is full, so why bother with details? His only real world thrill is fighting. He doesn't always win, but that's not the point. Breaking skin is a reality rush.

But a world can change in a single moment.

It's a school day like any other, until Socket starts hearing other people's thoughts. He's hallucinating, maybe brain rot from too much virtualmode. Even when time seems to stop, he ignores it. The mind playing tricks. But when his mom arrives at school, he knows it's for real. She's there to take him to work.

The Paladin Agency.

He discovers an evolved race of humans that have existed for centuries, where thoughts can be heard. And felt. They are people that can manipulate time through the body's metabolism. They protect the rest of humankind and strive to bring them understanding of their full potential. But some Paladins see humankind as inferior. Imperfect. Cancer.

Socket soon finds himself in the center of controversy when he's anointed a Paladin prodigy. He didn't ask for the "blessing" of psychic powers and the ability to timeslice, he just wants to go home and be normal again. But, sometimes, life doesn't give us that privilege, his mom tells him. And when humankind is threatened and the Paladins are forced into the public eye, Socket discovers what his mother means. If he doesn't embrace his true nature, the world will change forever.

This novel presents a very possible reality, where technology is at the forefront and everyone and everything revolves around technology. Socket, the main character, will appear likable to the reader. His two best friends, Chute and Streeter, make for good supporting characters. Chute is the more likable of the two while Streeter, a brilliant hacker, lusts after Socket's girlfriend. Socket and his friends endure an attack, his "sim" is badly damaged. It is on this prophetic day that he discovers he can feel and and touch in virtual mode-a feat which should be impossible. After this day, Socket learns about his past and his parents in great, excruciating detail; he faces danger around every turn of the page.
The world the author creates could easily appear great to the reader. Who wouldn't want to transform themselves into any sort of person they wanted to be? The plot is excellent, a great idea for this technology-driven society. The characters will affect the reader separately. Some appear to support Socket throughout his many disappearances and problems while others, especially his mother, will leave the reader with a cold feeling. The reader will always remember that there lurks a traitor somewhere within the pages of this intriguing book. This novel is terrific for young adult and adults who enjoy mystery, action, drama, and a novel that touches on a possible future outcome for our own society.
Posted by Krystal at 10:43 PM 0 comments Email This
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Element Zero: James Knapp
Summary:Would you allow the military to reanimate your corpse, knowing it would commit atrocities, if it meant avoiding service in a brutal war during your lifetime?

What if your level of citizenship depended on your answer? To gain a chance at a better life, or feed your family, which would you choose then? Or would you choose neither, and accept a life of hardship and poverty?

What if you came face to face with your own death, and realized too late you had made the wrong decision?

Nico Wachalowski has been waiting for years for the other shoe to drop, and finally it has. When Fawkes resurfaces and awakens his hidden army of revivors, the city streets turn into a war zone in a matter of hours. Before anyone can react he finds himself maimed, the streets overrun, and parts of the city literally crashing down around him. As the chaos unfurls, he follows the last lead he had which hints at something even more sinister than the attack itself. When the violence escalates, and the revivors begin spreading out toward the city limits, he determines what Fawkes true plan has been all along - but has he realized too late?

Faye Dasalia has played an instrumental role in letting Samuel Fawkes execute the final phase of his plan. No longer needed by or trusted by Fawkes himself she discovers the truth he's kept from her for so long. With this new information in play, she finds herself at a crossroads; will she put her trust in Nico and help undo everything she's worked for? Or will she follow through with a plan that turns out to have been much broader than she ever believed, and which might end up changing the world forever?

Calliope Flax has found her place in society as a soldier with the private contracting firm Stillwell Corps. Leveraging the revivor nodes that still lay half-formed in her brain, she helps track down others who have been injected in an attempt to round them up before Fawkes can activate them. When that day comes, and Fawkes' enemies discover her secret, they attempt to use her as a weapon against him. Caught in the middle of the war zone, she realizes that she might be one of the only people left who can help Nico stop Fawkes and save the city.

Zoe Ott now lives and works with the elite members of Ai's organization. Cut off from Nico, her visions have been a key to helping them understand the future they might all be facing. When she finally realizes what the specifics of that future are, she also realizes that she might be the only one left with the ability to stop it. Backed up against the wall, she finds herself faced with an impossible choice, and millions of lives in her hands.

This book has it all, from conspiracies to massive, full-scale wars. The reader will never be bored, the scenes are fast-paced and intriguing, the characters are designed to make the reader feel a connection to them-no matter their choices in the novel. The idea, the ability to reanimate a corpse and possibly use that corpse to commit atrocities, is very interesting and begs for deep, detailed questions. What if there were stipulations to your theoretical answer? Would your answer vary if your life or loved ones depended on it? The author chose a completely new topic, the reader will never come across a novel quite like this one. This book is great for young adult and adults who relish the challenge of a novel that asks hard questions and reveals a completely new idea.
Posted by Krystal at 10:24 PM 0 comments Email This
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The Second Fly Caster: Fatherhood, Recovery and an Unforgettable Tournament : Randy Kadish
Erik, a young boy, is proud that his father, the winner of several state championships, is probably the greatest long distance fly caster on earth. But then a threatening prelude and an unexpected outcome of a casting tournament leave Erik reeling with unanswered questions about what once seemed to be only a sport.

These questions linger and then, years later, deepen when Erik’s idealistic plans and actions are crushed when he experiences combat in the Vietnam War. He struggles, unsuccessfully, with his demons, until a seemingly accidental discovery lead him back to the ways and new meanings of fly casting. Through their prism Erik learns to see himself and the world in a forgiving light.

This novel is very short, but well-written. The characters really serve to draw the reader into the novel, the reader will soon come to know them as friends and be able to predict their actions and thoughts. This novel contains a universal truth: parents cannot be as perfect as their children would like to believe. The author finally understand this when he fights in Vietnam, an important lesson that should not be dismissed or taken lightly. Flaws are a fact of life, the sooner we realize this the better off we will be. The reader will enjoy the author's journey from a more oblivious childhood to a realistic, competent adult. The novel moves along fairly fast, the reader will not have to drag through scenes. This book is great for young adult and adult readers.
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)
Review by: rhonda laney on May 20, 2011 :
really short but well told story. I could picture the tournament. comming from from a family of alcholics and fishermen hit close. I am glad he was able to overcome it. its good memory and how important small things we say and do can mean a lot. i was given the ebook in exchange for review
(reviewed 26 days after purchase)
Review by: Tamara Montano on May 12, 2011 :
A dramatic and touching story of a man's coming to terms with his father's search for success and drive for perfection, and how he found peace in his new definition of what perfection looks like.
(reviewed 17 days after purchase)
Review by: A Book Vacation on May 1, 2011 :
This is a very interesting short story about a young man coming to terms with his reality. As a child, we all believe our parents are perfect, but as time goes on, we begin to realize that they too have their faults. This is a nice, short, coming of age story in which the main character takes longer than puberty to come to terms with his father’s flaws and then, overcoming those of his own. The imagery in this short story is, again, breathtaking, just like that of Kadish’s novelette, The Bad, The Good and Two Fly Fishing Women. Whether you are a fly-fisher or not, this is a wonderful short story with great themes for all ages. Three and a half stars.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
Review by: Darrin Niday on April 19, 2011 :
a nice father son story, being a father myself, makes me want to spend more time with my kids, and try to work with them on fly fishing more.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
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