- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 15, 2002

In a current onslaught of newly published books, three merit attention from readers not because they were written by potential Nobel Prize in Literature winners far from it but because the books deliver what they promised and that means a great deal for sporting people, such as hunters and anglers.

The Labrador Shooting Dog
by Mike Gould ($25, softcover, 287 pages, Clinetop Press, New Castle, Colo., www.clinetop.com) is as much a salute to the author, one of the best dog trainers in America, as it is about one of the most capable sporting dogs in the world, the labrador retriever.
Gould refers to them as shooting dogs, a good description for animals who thrive in the company of hunters through rain, sleet, snow or sun, willingly leaping into the water or charging through briars to retrieve game. There is plenty of talk about trials, breeding and configuration, all worthwhile subjects. But of special value are chapters about "Starting Your Puppy," "Introduction to the Gun" and "Formal Obedience," which certainly is not a problem with most labs.
You'll learn how to teach your pup to mark game, do proper field work, how to "fetch" that first bird and it might even be something besides a duck or goose. Labradors, of course, can be great flushing dogs for all types of upland birds. Much else is covered, nothing is overlooked. If you plan on seeing your lab puppy grow into a competent hunting dog, you couldn't do any better than to listen to Gould's fine advice.

Turkey Hunting Tactics of the Pros
by Richard Combs ($24.95, hardcover, 240 pages, the Globe-Pequot Press, Guilford, Conn., www.globe-pequot.com) will show the new hunter how to stack up against one of the smartest game birds anywhere, the great American wild turkey. You'll read major chapters on turkey habits and behavior must-learn items during spring and fall seasons but also will be gently led through an often confounding array of proper gear, from shotguns and hunting bows to what type of camouflage clothing is best.
Ever wonder how to get ready and be in the woods before the roosting birds leave the trees? You'll learn in this book. What type of weather is best for turkey hunting? The answers might surprise you. How to effectively use a diaphragm, box or slate call is covered in great detail. Advice from some of the best turkey hunters in the land is added. So whether you're a beginner or someone who wants to improve the chance of getting a fine gobbler, this book is for you. Combs, a field editor for Ohio Sportsman and Bowhunting World magazines, did a fine job.

Think Like a Fish: The Lure and Lore of America's Legendary Bass Fisherman
by Tom Mann, with Tom Carter ($22.95, hardcover, 256 pages, Broadway Books, 212/782-8941). This fun read depicts the life of one of the most delightful people in America, fishing tackle innovator and professional fishing star of the 1960s and '70s, Tom Mann.
Mann grew up dirt-poor in rural Alabama, by age 6 fed his family of 10 by catching their supper in local farm ponds and by the time he became an Alabama game warden had designed one of the most famous fishing lures of all time, the Little George tailspinner. That was followed by the creation of the original Mann's Bait Company in Eufaula, the fantastic Mann's Jellyworm, a depth sounder that soon was known as the "bird box," and Tom Mann's Humminbird that took the country's bass anglers by storm.
Mann has a wonderful story to tell. From the days when he was twice struck by lightning, his epic battle with a white shark, his participation in huge fishing tournaments, to creating a new company, "Tom Mann's Fish World," and starring in his own cable TV fishing show. Mann is an American original, a natural storyteller. If you enjoy an easy read that is not a how-to-fish book, but a delightful recounting of a very interesting man's life, this is it.


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