Merlin Unwin Books

"Merlin Unwin Books are lively, innovative countryside book publishers.

Their well-produced range of rural, wildlife, fieldsports and fishing books never fail to inform and entertain."

Philip Dunne MP
co-founder of Ottakar’s bookshops

The Healing Stream

Laurence Catlow’s long-awaited new book is one of the most candid and eloquent fishing memoirs ever written. This is Laurence’s unusual fishing autobiography in which he talks openly about how, as a young man, his excessive drinking brought him to an important turning point in his fishing life. This is elegantly interwoven around his lively views on the northern upstream tradition, catch-and-release, worming and other topics.

In the second part of the book, Laurence embarks on what he expects to be an idyllic time as he takes early retirement and looks forward to even more shooting and fishing – when a personal crisis plunges him into a nervous breakdown. This frank exploration of how fishing became impossible to contemplate during the darkest days but how it went on to form an essential part of eventual recovery, is a new departure in angling literature and will strike a chord with many readers.

This is a surprisingly funny, honest and moving memoir which pushes back the boundaries of eloquent fishing literature.

Author: Laurence Catlow
ISBN: 978 1 910723 27 2
Published: September 2016
Format: 234 x 156 mm
Binding: Hardback
No. of pages: 272
Price: £20.00

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The Healing Stream by Laurence Catlow

Press reviews

Reviewed by Andrew Moir of Wild Trout Trust in October 2016

'While he discusses techniques, notably his admiration for the upstream wet fly, this book is essentially a profound expression of love for a river and a recognition of the healing power that ultimately flowed from that love.  This is a truly remarkable book and a most compelling read. It is in my view Laurence Catlow’s finest work as well as one of the most candid autobiographies I have read.'


'It is an inspiring account. It shows how the angling brotherhood can be a source of comfort as when ‘true friends who belonged to my fishing life generously stepped out of it when I could fish no longer.'

Reviewed by Jeffrey Prest of Trout Fisherman in January 2017

'The best flyfishing book to cross my desk in 2016, without a doubt.  Catlow’s writing is easily accessible, simple English fused into passages that flow like a chalkstream glide, littered with lines that sit in the memory long after their page has turned. 

It’s not a pity party: Catlow remains admirably detached when describing a susceptibility to drink and depression, making this a balanced, compelling read.'

Reviewed by Andrew Herd of Waterlog in January 2017

'Catlow is a writer of deeply thoughtful books on fishing. I come away with a new respect for him, though I should warn readers that The Healing Stream is something of a challenge. At the end of it, I admire Laurence for writing as honestly as he has done.'

Reviewed by Sandy Leventon of Trout & Salmon in December 2016

'This is a remarkable book: remarkable for its candour, its high peaks of great joy and its deep troughs of melancholy and depression. It is also, as Catlow fans have come to expect, beautifully written. This is a wonderful book that will delight and sadden you. Highly recommended.'

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