At 70 years old, Robert Roudybush has probably forgotten more about fishing than many anglers will ever know. Fortunately, he wrote it all down.
Roudybush, who retired in 1994 from the Department of the Navy Printing Service at Fort Leavenworth, put his knowledge of both fishing and the printing industry to use. After decades of journaling his fishing exploits, he compiled his expertise into his newly released book, “Fishing Secrets: Where & How to Catch ’Em.” He said his book contains information that can benefit anglers of any age and experience level.
“I think it’ll improve their fishing success,” said Roudybush, a Manhattan native who has lived in Topeka with his wife, Sherry, for the past 22 years. “You know, it’s not a magical thing, but the way I tried to write it was almost like we were sitting there having a conversation. What I did was, I have a lot of little stories about my fishing trips and there’s a lesson in each one, whether it be on a catfishing trip or a crappie trip or walleye trip.”
In the first few pages, he published photos of every lure he mentions throughout the book. He said this was to give inexperienced anglers a visual cue of what to look for when shopping for gear.
“Anybody that’s been to Cabela’s or Bass Pro lately, there’s a mountain of lures there if you don’t really know what you’re looking for,” said Roudybush. “You can buy a lot of stuff that you probably won’t be too successful with.”
“Bob is very methodical in his fishing methods. He has many tricks regarding presentation, line, weights, hooks, color, depths, artificial bodies, weather conditions and the best time of the year to fish.” - Dr. Lawrence Perry
Roudybush, who began fishing when he was 7, said he had passed on his fishing experience to his fellow anglers for years before the idea of writing a book ever came up. In fact, it was one of the recipients of his extensive knowledge — Lawrence Perry, a retired physician — who gave him the idea.
“One day he said ‘Why don’t you write some articles for some of the outdoor magazines or something?’ ” said Roudybush. “I got to thinking about it and I said ‘I’ve kept this journal all these years of my experiences and what I’ve learned, and I think I have enough material to write a book and share it with the rest of the fishermen.’ ”
After two years of work, the book finally released in June. Perry even wrote a testimonial for Roudybush on the back cover.
“Bob is very methodical in his fishing methods,” Perry wrote. “He has many tricks regarding presentation, line, weights, hooks, color, depths, artificial bodies, weather conditions and the best time of the year to fish.”
Roudybush believes his conversational style of writing will help anglers to have a better grasp of what to do when using his advice in the field.
“I didn’t get too technical and I didn’t leave it vague,” said Roudybush. “I just put the stuff in there that has worked for me and it’s all pretty simple and straightforward. I figured the person reading could relate to it better if it was a personal experience.”
Roudybush hoped the information would be especially useful to those teaching someone from a younger generation how to fish.
“I’ve taken my grandkids to some of the fishing derbies, and what I’ve experienced is the parents and grandparents bring the little ones and they’ve got a hook on that’s two or three inches long and a gob of bait that there’s no way they can catch bluegill and stuff on,” said Roudybush. “I’ve described what they need to do, just simplify and downsize everything and the kids can have a great time catching lots of ’em.”
His three grandchildren, Morgan Stewart, Nick Ketter and Jordan Ketter, also make an appearance at the end of the book on the testimonials page.
“When I was little I thought a successful fishing trip was measured by the number of fish Papa and I caught,” Stewart, 22, said in her testimonial. “But now I realize it wasn’t the fish Papa and I were after, it was the memories we were making and the time we spent together. The fish were just a bonus. I love you Papa and thanks for the memories.”
“Fishing Secrets: Where & How to Catch ’Em” can be purchased online and in stores, or by calling (620) 947-5702.