Charley Soares has a new book, one he didn’t plan to write until friends and fans of his columns began urging him. Soares listened, and in November he released a book that chronicles much of his life as a noted fisherman, of those he’s met and other fond memories.
“Everybody’s got a book in them,” says Soares, who was first published in 1964 in a fishing magazine called Salt Water Sportsman. “Whether they are a writer or not, everyone has stories to tell.”
Soares, 65, was a fisherman long before he began writing. His father, who died when Soares was 13, introduced him “to the wonders of the marine world at the water’s edge,” as Soares says in his first chapter, appropriately titled “Dad’s Fault.”
“Once I’d sampled a taste of the shoreline and wet my feet along the wrack line at the water’s edge,” he continues, “that was the only place I wanted to be.”
Years later, while a member of a bass fishing club, other members encouraged him to write about his favorite hobby. He was in college, and with an old typewriter he received as a gift, he wrote a story about two friends fishing in the snow for stripers from the Brightman Street Bridge. It was in many ways a biographical account. Soares mailed the story to Salt Water Sportsman in 1964 and was surprised to get a letter back saying the magazine would publish his work.
His new book, “Stemming the Tide,” was published in November by Soares’ own Coles River Press. It is “a collection of stories about the life and times of a young boy who lost his dad at an early age and was thrusted into the role of man of the house,” as he says.
Most of the stories — each makes up a series in the ten chapters — revolve around, of course, fishing. He writes about his favorite topic not in the how-to way he has in some previous books but in an informal, storytelling style. One chapter consists of stories of the weather he’s dealt with, another describes the places he’s fished in the area, a third explores the different names and personalities he’s come across, and another discusses the different species he’s fished.
Since his first published work in 1964, Soares has written for a range of publications, like On the Water, Offshore and The Captain’s Guide, and has been a field editor for Fisherman magazine for years. For nearly 20 years, he has also written a column for The Herald News, starting at only $15 per story. Since the 1970s, Soares, a lifelong area resident, has also given lectures and spoken at trade shows, and still averages about a lecture a week.
He was also appointed by then-Gov. Michael Dukakis to the state Marine Fisheries Commission, and occasionally gives private fishing lessons.
“Stemming the Tide” is sold at Newsbreak stores in Swansea and New Bedford, and will soon be available at L.L.Bean, The Kittery Trading Post and other tackle shops and sporting goods across the New England coast, Soares said. He is also hoping to have the book on the shelves at Boaters World, Dick’s Sporting Goods and West Marine. Soares is also selling the book on his Web site, www.fishingthesalt.com
Soares’ fifth book was published on his own Coles River Press, named after the river he’s lived alongside in Swansea for four decades. He started the production company six years ago as a way to give himself more freedom with his writing.
His latest work, just over 200 pages, was in the back of his mind for a few years, Soares said. As more people wrote to him or told him they thought he should write a collection of stories, he finally decided he’d go for it. The way Soares writes about his start in fishing, it seems as though the book was something he would have eventually written on his own.
“The lasting and most generous aspect of dad’s legacy was my initiation into a life that even if I’d been granted the most extraordinary opportunity in exchange,” he says, “I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.”