The John D. Voelker Foundation and the American Museum of Fly Fishing (AMFF) are pleased to announce the winner of the 2022 Robert Traver Fly-fishing Writing Award: “A Dog Named Fish” by Frank Sargeant of Guntersville, Alabama. Mr. Sargeant’s story is a warm, humorous, but heartrending story about a man and his dog who both love tarpon fishing.
The winning entry will receive a $2,500 prize and is available to read on the American Museum of Fly Fishing’s website at www.amff.org/traver-award. “A Dog Named Fish” will be published in the Winter 2023 or Spring 2023 edition of the American Fly Fisher, the journal of the American Museum of Fly Fishing.
Winner Frank Sargeant is author of ten outdoors and boating books and a regular contributor to a number of outdoors magazines and online publications. He is a former fishing guide—in Homosassa, Florida where his story takes place—and has owned a number of dogs who were his best friends and fishing companions. He has an M.A. in English from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.
Sargeant commented “I am truly honored, and astounded, to be this year’s winner. The Robert Traver Award is a great incentive for talented writers to produce their best work. It provides a venue for creative writing that’s very hard to find in the modern publishing world, and the element of competition adds a special spice to each year’s contest. I greatly appreciate the committee’s hard work each year in organizing and judging the contest.”
The Traver Award judges also bestowed Honorable Mention recognition on two other entries:
“Vanity Plates” by Sarah Holly Bryant of Dorset, Vermont
“Western Waters, 2022” by Paul Kennebeck of Denver, Colorado
Both honorable mention stories are available on the American Museum of Fly Fishing website and their writers will each received a $250 prize.
The 2022 competition drew a field of 86 stories and essays. Entries were judged anonymously resulting in seven finalists. The other four finalists were:
“How Bobby Crump’s Trout Won the Bronze Star” by Richard Landerman of Sandy, Utah
“Leather Shop Man” by David Gray-Clough of North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
“How many anglers…” by Katie MacDonald of Charlottestown, Prince Edward Island, Canada
“The Wedding Planner” by Chris O’Byrne of Mulberry, Florida
The Traver Award is named after Robert Traver, pen name of the late John D. Voelker, author of Trout Madness, Trout Magic, Anatomy of a Fisherman, the 1958 best seller Anatomy of a Murder, and the fine historical novel Laughing Whitefish. Judge Voelker also served on the Michigan Supreme Court as its 74th justice from 1956 to 1960. A collection of Voelker’s finest “yarns” and observations about fishing was published posthumously by Nick Lyons in 2001 under the title Traver On Fishing.
The Traver Award was created in 1994 to encourage and recognize “distinguished original stories or essays that embody the implicit love of fly-fishing, respect for the sport, and the natural world in which it takes place.” The winning story or essay must demonstrate high literary values in one or more of these three categories:
—The joy of fly-fishing: personal and philosophic experience
—Ecology: knowledge and protection of the natural world
—Humor: piscatorial friendships and fun on the water
Twenty-three Traver Awards have been conferred since 1994. Two anthologies of the Traver Award winners and finalists have been published: In Hemingway’s Meadow (2009) and Love Story of the Trout (2010).
The Voelker Foundation and the American Museum of Fly Fishing joined forces in 2018 to administer the Traver Award and publish the winner in the AMFF Journal.