In writing this book, author, naturalist, and educator Steve Ramirez traveled thousands of miles by plane, motor vehicle, boat, and foot. Each chapter includes his fishing with a notable person in the worlds of fishing and conservation. His fishing partners in this book include Bob White, Chris Wood, Kirk Deeter (and many other leaders within Trout Unlimited), Ted Williams of The Native Fish Coalition, Matthew Miller, and John Karges of The Nature Conservancy, and many more.
In the course of this journey, Ramirez explores and fishes mountain streams, alpine lakes, National Wild and Scenic Rivers, desert canyons, brackish water estuaries, and the rolling ocean off the coast of Cape Cod. About half of this book was written while traveling through the COVID-19 pandemic and it touches on the lessons that COVID can teach us about nature and human nature.
In Casting Onward, the author expands beyond the geographical scope of Casting Forward by fishing for native fish within their original habitats across American. Each story is told in part through the eyes of the people who have lived alongside and come to love, these waters and fish. Woven throughout these adventures are the stories of the people he meets and befriends while pursuing a mutual love of nature and the best of human nature, as the first criterion for finding common ground.
This is a hopeful story, in an all-too-often seemingly hopeless time. It is a story of fishing and friendship. It is a story of humanity’s impact on nature, and nature’s impact on humanity.
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, in Boerne, Texas.
“With Casting Onward, Steve Ramirez has crafted a beautiful meditation on the natural world and our relationship to it. Though Steve describes the various perils of neglecting either, he is, like all anglers, an optimist. By the time you reach the end of this splendid, heartfelt book, you’ll be one, too.”
-- Monte Burke, author of Lords of the Fly and Saban
"The River Why, by David James Duncan, so profoundly influenced me that I named a beloved dog after the protagonist, Gus. A Fly-Fisherman’s Blue Ridge, by Chris Camuto and Holy Ghost Creek by Frank Weissbarth, are two of the finest fishing books I have ever read—mostly because they are not really about fishing. Casting Onward sits in the pantheon of these books. It is a book about fishing, but on a much more important level, it is about us, our relationship with one-another, and our relationship with the lands and waters that sustain the planet."
-- Chris Wood, President/CEO, Trout Unlimited
“For Steve Ramirez, the presence or absence of native fish is a metric by which to measure the wholeness of a landscape. After reading this book, your presence or absence in the fight for wild waters and wild fish may well be the metric by which you evaluate your own connection to the natural world.”
-- T. Edward Nickens, author of The Last Wild Road: Adventure and Essays from a Sporting Life
“I wish there were more anglers, writers, and Americans like Steve Ramirez. He understands what most don’t -- that fish are wildlife, too. And he understands that our remnant native fish -- genetically undefiled by aliens flung confetti-like around the waterscape in the age of ecological illiteracy -- are national treasures. This book contains some of the finest angling writing I’ve seen. But it’s not just for anglers. It’s for all who delight in wild things, wild land, and wild water.”
-- Ted Williams, National Chair, Native Fish Coalition
“Ramirez is your knowledgeable cross-country guide who cracks a joke or two while he introduces you to a place, makes you love it, and (now that you love it) advises you on how to care for it. An evocative big-hearted book, highly recommended.”
-- Tim Cahill, author of Jaguars Ripped My Flesh
"Steve Ramirez is a man with a mission. He challenges us to be our best selves and recognize we are all in the same boat, whether fish, birds, wolves, or humans.
Our defense against the storm surge of destructive human activities that will drown us is to recognize we are one. Beautifully crafted, Casting Onward teaches us this lesson."
-- Lillian Stokes, co-author, Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America
“Steve is a naturalist, conservationist, and an activist, but most importantly has a deep understanding of the human soul. He understands that in the end, changing hearts and minds is the only way to save America’s native fish.”
-- Ross Purnell, Publisher/Editor, Fly Fisherman Magazine
“In an era of social media ‘influencers’ and pan-flashed digital commentary on fly fishing, it’s easy for anglers to lose context… even hope. Thank God Steve Ramirez is willing and able to give us some real, hard-earned, and eloquent words on “why” we all care to flyfish in the first place. His prose is sharp, honest, and deeply meaningful. Casting Onward reinforces the spirit and soul of angling, and it underscores the importance of community, place and species in ways that has seldom been touched with such respect and eloquence.”
-- Kirk Deeter, Editor-in-Chief, Trout Unlimited/Trout Magazine
“Faced with a pandemic and a world gone mad, Steve Ramirez follows the time-honored tradition of taking to the wild. But his is no voice crying alone in the wilderness. Ramirez knows if we’re ever to get out of our current mess, we need each other. This is a lyrical, funny, and frequently moving account of what matters in a life well lived: friendship and fishing and wild places among them.”
-- Matthew L. Miller, author of Fishing Through the Apocalypse
“Casting Onward is nothing if not a conversation—with native fish, with nature, and with the people who love and fight for both. Steve Ramirez asks numerous important questions in that conversation, but more importantly he has the unique—and increasingly rare—gift of listening wholeheartedly to the answers. Pull up a chair, it’s a conversation you don’t want to miss.”
-- Jason Rolfe, Editor of The Flyfish Journal
“This is a book about many important things—friendships, love, humor, and the joys of living—and fishing too! Cast your fly into the circle of life—connect with nature, live in the moment, change the future. I couldn’t close the cover until I finished it.”
-- Randall Kaufmann, author of Bonefishing: Fly Fishing the Flats for Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon, and Trevally
"Simply, a book about fish species to be forever cherished from a writer to be revered. Casting Onward deserves a prominent place on every angler's bookshelf."
-- Gerry Bethge, Deputy Editor, Field & Stream and Outdoor Life
“You open this book expecting to connect with fish, but what you don’t expect is even better. Steve offers readers an authentic experience with every character in every chapter. You feel everything but idle when you spend time with these pages.”
--Kris Millgate, author of My Place Among Fish and My Place Among Men
Last updated on 22 Jan 2022
"Admittedly, I am not an angler. However, all the menfolk in my home are passionate anglers and have taught me a lot over the years. I may not enjoy being the one to put my line in the water, but I love celebrating their successes and learnings along the way. Early on, they taught me the importance of respecting the fish and their habitat. They are sticklers for the rules and helped me understand why. I can appreciate someone’s passion and get excited when they can explain and express it in ways that I can understand. This memoir resonated with much of what has been shared by other enthusiasts. I especially enjoyed the CO River Cutthroat Trout chapter, as that is where my most prevalent experiences originated, and I could resonate the most with the content. Each chapter is full of tales that bring Steve’s experiences to life. An enjoyable read for an afternoon of curiosity.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given."—Brandi Rawlins, consumer reviewer