“Spitzer is a walking encyclopedia on all things gar as well
as a tireless champion of this ‘very despised, hated fish’...a unique
zoological relic that is worthy of our protection.”
—JEREMY WADE, River Monsters
A bestiary of gar, sharks, ratfish, gaspergou, Monster Fishing probes the human spirit fighting to preserve a planet in distress.After fifty years of fishing waters worldwide, extreme angler Mark Spitzer takes a hard look at his impact on monster fish and their environments. Through action-packed adventures exploring both familiar and foreign waters during a deadly pandemic, this deep dive into the bioethics of fish suffering and stress invites a new way of seeing aquatic species and holding ourselves accountable for the health of our shared planet.
Mark Spitzer is the author of Season of the Gar, Beautifully Grotesque Fish of the American West, and other books. He has appeared on the Animal Planet series River Monsters and consulted for National Geographic’s Monster Fish show. Spitzer was professor of creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas and lived part-time in the Mid-Hudson River Valley until the end of his life in 2023.
"Spitzer is a unique voice in angling literature."
—MATTHEW MILLER, author of Fishing Through the Apocalypse
"Spitzer is a walking encyclopedia on all things gar as well as a tireless champion of this 'very
despised, hated fish'…a unique zoological relic that is worthy of our protection."
—JEREMY WADE, host of River Monsters
"Mark Spitzer is one of the most electric and original voices of the twenty-first century. Monster Fishing is his masterpiece...a dazzling adventure with the bravest, funniest, and most knowledgeable guy ever to cast a rod."
—NINA DE GRAMONT, New York Times bestselling author
“You can read this book for the fishing alone and be inspired, as well as impressed by the internal ethical wrestling match that is the work of a true essayist. But the art of Monster Fishing is also a metaphor for a vital and elemental life, one close to the currents of nature, beyond the merely human, an embrace of this joyous and wild world and all it offers.”
—DAVID GESSNER, New York Times bestselling author
“No one has done more to raise concern [for gar] than...Mark Spitzer...Spitzer has produced two highly readable books on gars and their interaction with humans...His efforts have resulted in state efforts to protect the gar.”
—TOM DILLARD, Arkansas Democrat Gazette
"I deeply respect where Spitzer is coming from about catching, harassing, and killing fish. He is one of the few enlightened anglers (former anglers?) who has the courage, decency, mind, and soul to take on this issue."