In Casting Forward, naturalist, educator, and writer Steve Ramirez takes the reader on a year-long journey fly-fishing all of the major rivers of the Texas Hill Country.This is a story of the resilience of nature and the best of human nature. It is the story of a living, breathing place where the footprints of dinosaurs, conquistadors, and Comanches have mingled just beneath the clear spring-fed waters. This book is an impassioned plea for the survival of this landscape and its biodiversity, and for a new ethic in how we treat fish, nature, and each other.
Steve Ramirez is a writer, educator, master naturalist, philosopher, and outdoor adventurer who lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country. He has lived in and traveled across four continents chronicling the unique historical landscapes, human cultures, and natural worlds that are in danger of vanishing.Steve’s stories have been published in various magazines and journals, including but not limited to: Trout, Under Wild Skies, Explore, Texas Sporting Journal, Texas Trophy Hunters, The Houston Literary Review, Cutthroat: Journal of the Arts, and The Pecan Grove Review. He is an avid fly-fisher, hiker, naturalist, hunter, and outdoor educator who lives in a house in the hills, surrounded by trees. He lives in Boerne, TX.
“Casting Forward belongs alongside Holy Ghost Creek and A Fly-Fishers Blue Ridge as books that perfectly capture the essence of place, and our part in it. You would not be mistaken to say that this book is about the Texas Hill Country. Steve is, after all, a master naturalist and a master storyteller. But Casting Forward is about so much more than the outdoors and nature. It is a story of one man’s journey through rivers and mountains to live a life well lived and loved.” —Chris Wood, President/CEO, Trout Unlimited
“Every bit the unique sort of Hill Country artistry as a Jerry Jeff Walker show at Gruene Hall. These words are incredibly honest, gritty, and melodic . . . sometimes rowdy, always soulful. Steve Ramirez has an uncanny knack for conveying the 360-degree perspective of fly fishing like only an author who has seen so much—and felt so much—can. He’s an angling balladeer.” —Kirk Deeter, Editor-in-Chief, Trout Unlimited/Trout Media
“In many ways Ramirez is the reincarnation of my late friend John Voelker, author of Anatomy of a Fisherman and the lesser work, Anatomy of a Murder. Both men were fleeing lives that had wounded them, and both found salvation in wildness through angling. A century hence Casting Forward: Fishing Tales from the Texas Hill Country will be referenced in the best of North American outdoor literature.” —Ted Williams, Conservation Journalist, Author, and Guide
“It seems to me that an author’s first book is an incredibly fragile thing, as delicate as a wildflower on a cold spring day. Any gust of wind from the wrong direction, at an inopportune moment, might result in the disappearance of something beautiful; never to be seen, or enjoyed, or understood. I’m heartened that Steve Ramirez’s first journey on the path to publication has resulted in the recognition that his insightful prose is something important, as significant as a wildflower on a cold spring day.” —Bob White, Sporting Artist, Author, and Guide
“In a society filled with trivial pursuits, Steve Ramirez understands what gives a life meaning and purpose. He knows that casting to fish in beautiful rivers can connect us to nature and even heal us—but only if we learn to see and listen. And he recognizes an essential bit of conservation wisdom: Nature can indeed save us from ourselves, but part of the bargain is we must work to save nature. The Texas Hill Country is lucky to have this warrior-poet working on its behalf, and we’re lucky that he’s shared his beautiful prose with us.” —Matthew L. Miller, author of Fishing Through the Apocalypse
“When you read this poignant ode to the Texas Hill Country by Marine Corps veteran Steve Ramirez, you’re sure to hear a real-life echo of Ernest Hemingway’s Big, Two-Hearted River, in which, moment by moment and cast by cast, a warrior with a wounded soul fishes his way back to emotional peace. Casting Forward is an inspiration as well as a delight.” —Paul Guernsey, author of Beyond Catch & Release: Exploring the Future of Fly Fishing
“Ramirez weaves a keen reminder that we fish not truly for fish, but for the experiences and people it brings into our lives. For the spaces ‘in between.’” —Jess McGlothlin, Outdoor Adventure Photographer and Writer
“Ramirez guides us on a poetic and philosophical hike through the soul-healing adventure of a Marine whose duty is fulfilled, finding peace in the deep connections fly-fishing and nature provides. A true wordsmith, Ramirez' vivid descriptions of scenery and waterscapes brings us along as his fishing partner on these explorations of man's connection to the natural world, both on an individual and societal level.” —Dan Frasier, author of The Orvis Beginners Guide to Carp Flies
“Casting Forward by Steve Ramirez is an elegant ode to one of the great, lesser known fly-fishing regions of the United States—the Texas Hill Country. With every line of every chapter, Emily & I marveled at Steve’s gifted vision of this river realm that we love so much and all its native treasures. Take a journey through the eyes of this unique warrior, fly fisher and inspired writer . . . it might just be good for your soul.” —Dave Whitlock, Author, Artist, Teacher, Fly-fisher
“Casting Forward is rich in hard-won truths. That love of country must carry the emphasis on both words. That our redemption lies in being who we are in the place we love—and doing some small good in the world. It's a gem of a book.” —Peter P. Ryan, Outdoor Writer and Photographer
“Steve guides you through the eyes of a Marine seeking redemption through an uncertain world using fly fishing as a soul washing experience. Steve will ignite your passion and challenge you, through the world of fly fishing. Read this book!” —Jack Dennis, Author, Fly Fishing and Fly-Tying Professional