September 10, 2001 12:00 PM

by Peter Kaminsky

Out beyond the celebrity-clogged Hamptons, at the tip of Long Island, lies Montauk Point. Each October it’s the site of one of nature’s great Mardi Gras events. When wind, tide and weather cooperate, vast, voracious schools of striped bass arrive—followed closely by vast, voracious schools of fishermen.

Kaminsky got caught up in last fall’s frenzy. Although he supplies useful tips about technique, this is more a joyous, beautifully written evocation of time and place. It brings to life crusty locals, crazed surf fishermen and the top fly-fishing guides, who seem to have a voodoo instinct for finding fish. The natural world is keenly observed, pungently described: A released albacore “shoots off like a ray of light”; a flock of gulls on the sand brings to mind “a bunch of old Russians…chatting on the boardwalk at Brighton Beach.” For those who love to fish, this may do for Montauk what Peter Mayle did for Provence. (Theia, S23.95)

Bottom Line: You’ll be hooked

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