In Casting Seaward, author, naturalist, and educator Steve Ramirez expands beyond the geographical scope of his first two books by traveling thousands of miles by plane, motor vehicle, boat, and foot pursuing the native gamefish of North America’s salt and brackish water habitats. This journey includes following anadromous fish like salmon from the ocean’s depth to the shallowest tributaries of Alaskan rivers, and following rivers and streams from their freshwater sources to their brackish water deltas.
In the course of this journey, Ramirez explores and fishes portions of the entire American coastline from the Northern Atlantic coast to the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and up the Pacific coast from California to Alaska. The entirety of this sojourn was written while traveling through the COVID-19 pandemic, and it touches on the lessons that challenges such as global pandemics, global ecological and sociological disruption, and global opportunities for positive learning and change can teach us about nature and human nature. Most of all, Casting Seaward is a celebration of the bounty and beauty of our water-covered planet, and a recognition of its increasingly rarefied qualities.
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.
Casting Seaward is an enthralling exploration, an insightful warning and call to action, and an exceedingly 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. It is our story, in this pivotal moment in the history of humanity and the living blue planet we call home.
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.
About the author’s most recent book, Casting Onward:
“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 have seldom been touched with such respect and eloquence.” —Kirk Deeter, Editor-in-Chief, Trout Unlimited/Trout Magazine
“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
“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, columnist and editor-at-large for Field & Stream and 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
“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, director of science communications for The Nature Conservancy, editor of the Cool Green Science blog, and author of Fishing Through the Apocalypse
“Steve Ramirez is an author of rare talent, whose prose reads like poetry. In Casting Onward, the follow-up volume to his widely acclaimed Casting Forward, Ramirez travels the country, fly rod in hand, in search of America’s native gamefish in both fresh water and salt, from cutthroat trout in the West to striped bass and bluefish in the East, and much more. Along the way, he reminds us—in his signature lyrical, evocative style—that fishing is about much more than fish.” —Bill Bowers, writer, editor, and angler
“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
"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
“You open this book expecting to connect with fish, but what you don’t expect is even better. Steve offers reader’s 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