Mike Yurk: a writer with a fishing problemHis ninth book has just rolled off the press and Yurk has a good sized notebook of ideas for more on deck. As usual, the collection of stories in “Once Upon The Water” is a lot about fishing experiences but not exclusively about fishing. The tales include as much about relationships with places and people on the water and elsewhere
By: Jon Echternacht, Hudson Star-Observer
Hudson’s Mike Yurk is at it again.
His ninth book has just rolled off the press and Yurk has a good sized notebook of ideas for more on deck.
As usual, the collection of stories in “Once Upon The Water” is a lot about fishing experiences but not exclusively about fishing. The tales include as much about relationships with places and people on the water and elsewhere.
Getting paid to go fishing, more or less, is not a bad vocation. “How can I beat pursuing two passions,” he said during a recent conversation in his town of Hudson home.
His passion for writing combines the thrill of a tug at the end of the line and a long-held desire to describe the experience in the printed word.
During the warm months the fishing gets in the way of his writing so he has to bear down at the keyboard from January to May. Yurk has produced a self-published book a year for the past four years.
Yurk said his urge to write was sparked by Ernest Hemingway many years ago. “It was Hemingway’s ‘Big Two Hearted River’ that started it,” he said. “I’ll still think it’s the finest short story he wrote.”
A story in the new book titled, Hemingway Country: Part One-Dear Papa, Yurk writes, “It has been said the half (of) us who write are trying to imitate Ernest Hemingway and the other half are trying consciously not to.” The statement is probably true more than ever admitted.
The last story is another tribute to Papa, Hemingway County Part Two, sets Yurk and a friend on a search for the real Big Two-Hearted River in upper Michigan. The search is rewarded and Yurk cast a fly in the stream that Hemingway visited in 1919.
The interest in all things Hemingway has been the impetus for several trips to Key West, Fla., and visits to the house Papa lived in, now a main tourist attraction on the island. “The next trip to Key West is planned for Dec. 12, my 63rd birthday,” He said. “It will be 12-12-12.”
The trip will include fishing and another trip to the Hemingway house where copies of his books are on hand for the staff to read, “Once Upon The Water” will be added to the collection this year.
He said that he is so familiar with the Hemingway house that he once filled in as a tour guide for members of his family when a favorite guide was unavailable.
One story in the recent book, “A quiet little drinking village with a fishing problem,” tells about a good fishing trip in Key West with added anecdotes about the strange and wonderful history of the island and its people.
Yurk continues to write and fish, sometimes one gets in the way of the other, but feeding the two passions is a continuing effort.
Yurk also writes a fishing column in the Star-Observer titled “Notes From The Dockside.” The column is published the first and third week of each month.