Sixty years ago, one hot summer’s day on the Thames, Fort felt the tug of a perch on the end of his line and something was ignited that has burnt inside him ever since. Casting Shadows is a beautifully written, unexpectedly humorous and fastidiously researched expression of gratitude for creatures and for a sport that have given Fort so much.
Who but Fort would have thought of writing a book about the A303? Or lawns, or eels? The world would be a poorer place without his eccentric passions, but maybe it is fortunate for the national GDP that there is only one of him, because he stubbornly chronicles what interests him, not what might make him richer. He is a master fisherman, and one of the many virtues of this social history of the sport is that he is an unsnobbish one. While casting for salmon has always been the toffs’ choice, Fort prefers the humble chub, “a solid, reliable, handsome citizen”, albeit inedible.