Weather Forecast


Jason Durham releases new ice fishing book

Jason Durham has published his second book on fishing

Northern Minnesota teacher and fishing guide Jason Durham has released his second book, "Pro Tactics: Ice Fishing."

Published by Globe Pequot Press of Guilford, Conn., the book comes on the heels of Durham's "Pro Tactics: Panfish," which the publisher released last April.

A native of Nevis, Minn., Durham, 32, graduated from UND in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education and got his master's in educational leadership in 2003 from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minn.

Durham teaches kindergarten in Nevis and lives in nearby Park Rapids, Minn., where he has access to almost 100 lakes within a 10-mile radius. Durham also operates Go Fish! Guide Service.

In an e-mail interview, Durham recently discussed his publishing ventures with Herald outdoors writer Brad Dokken.

Q. Tell me a little bit about your fishing background.

A. I've been in the boat with my parents since infancy. My dad would rig a stick and line with a bobber on the end just so I could watch it bounce in the waves next to the boat. That was probably a good introduction to patience, a critical aspect of fishing for any species.

From that point on, I was on the water almost every day. My parents were extremely supportive of my passion, and at the age of 15, I started my own guide business, Go Fish! Guide Service, which I still operate today; 2009 will be the 18th season.

Q. How'd the idea for writing this book come about?

A. I had thoughts of doing a project like this for a while, but this opportunity landed in my lap. The publisher's acquisition editor, Bill Schneider (Globe Pequot Press), had seen some of my writing on the Web and thought I might be a good contributor to the Pro Tactics series. He contacted me, and after several phone conversations, I signed a contract to complete "Pro Tactics: Panfish."

I turned in the manuscript by the deadline and felt a huge relief. The past several months had felt like a college writing project looming over me every second of my life. Bill Schneider called a few weeks after submitting the final draft and simply left a message that "we need to talk." I was nervous, thinking he was about to rip apart my writing and take me several steps backward in my assignment. I called him back and he told me about a few minor adjustments which needed attention, but that more importantly, they wanted to offer me the chance to author another book in the series, "Pro Tactics: Ice Fishing," which was released mid-December.

It felt like a huge accomplishment to complete my first book, but to complete two, photography included, within a year was a dream come true. Not to mention a test of my time-management skills.

Q. I haven't had a chance to see the books. Could you give a brief synopsis of what they cover?

A. "Pro Tactics: Panfish" covers crappie, bluegill and perch (even though perch aren't technically a "panfish") from their biological makeup to environmental locations and how anglers can effectively catch them all four seasons of the year.

"Pro Tactics: Ice Fishing" covers locating and catching walleye, northern, crappie, bluegill, perch, trout and bass throughout the winter months. No boat required.

Q. How did you go about researching the books and compiling all of the material?

A. The vast majority came from experience. Log books compiled over years in addition to contributions from a few angling standouts such as Ron Anlauf and Chip Leer.

Q. Who is the target audience for the books? Did you write them for first-time anglers or people with a bit more experience?

A. They're written in a manner that a novice angler can gain the knowledge required to have a successful outing, but also add some technical and unique insights so even the most veteran angler turns the final page with some newly acquired skills.

Additionally, each installment is beautiful in its layout, almost like a coffee table book. They're both full color, glossy pages with inviting photos that draw you to probe further into the text.

Q. I know you've written articles for several fishing publications. How does writing a book differ from that process?

A. There's a lot more preparation that takes place before the text begins running across the computer screen. Also, a lot more caffeine involved, many late nights and early mornings. My family was very supportive of me authoring the first book, but to immediately jump into the second was hard on them. For instance, family ski trips often resulted in four family members on the hill, while I sat behind a laptop in the lodge. Since then, I've tried to limit my writing to the periods when they're sleeping.

Q. Where are the books available?

A. Barnes & Noble stores nationwide, Bass Pro Shops,,,, and an array of online and privately operated booksellers.