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Texas Reader: The Turning of the Seasons

By Larry D. Hodge

Tosh Brown is one of those few people who are skilled at both photography and writing.

Many outdoor books tell the how, when and where of fishing and hunting. Tosh Brown’s Texas Tides: An Angling & Shooting Chronology (180 pages, hard cover, $60, Collectors Covey, (800) 521-2403) covers those basics, but it’s more about why we hunt and fish. Sharing the memories of Port Bay duck hunts with friends and family, the thrill of stalking speckled trout in Baffin Bay and the pursuit of bobwhite quail in the South Texas brush country, Brown serves up a banquet of outdoor experiences along the Texas Coast.

Tosh Brown is one of those few people who are skilled at both photography and writing. The 250 color photographs in the 10-inch by 12-inch book convey the beauty and bounty of the Texas Coast month by month. January begins with big-water duck hunting on Texas bays. February brings quail hunting; March, fishing for speckled trout; June, fly-rodding for redfish; and so on. Along the way Brown introduces us to guides, fellow anglers and hunters, beachcombers and several good dogs.

Brown’s hunting and fishing vignettes convey the excitement of the outdoors, and he reflects on conservation issues important to anglers and hunters. But his photographs likely will be what attract people. Brown has an eye for color, composition and detail, and he knows how to use the soft, warm light of morning and evening to best advantage. He blends action, wide-angle and detail shots in a way that gives a complete impression of the experience.

A two-page spread in the first chapter includes photographs of a flock of redheads settling into a decoy spread, loafing dowitchers, duck calls and bands dangling from a lanyard around a guide’s neck, a retriever (caught with all four feet off the ground) bringing in a duck, and guides pulling a boat away from a blind to hide it before a hunt. Even someone who’s never been on a duck hunt will understand what is going on — and probably want to go.

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