In Fishing the Morning, the second volume of collected “Here Back East” columns from The Mountain Messenger newspaper, Lenny Ackerman revisits some familiar landscapes and explores new ones with fresh insights and observations. Each leaves their impressions on the author, and in telling their stories, elevates and celebrates their humanity.
It’s important to step out of the Hamptons bubble every now and then, and this latest work by Hamptons legend Lenny Ackerman brings the reader along for fishing tips in Maine, across the continent to California, and always offers an inner look through the eyes of the author.
Since early 2020, Lenny has been a columnist for The Mountain Messenger—the oldest, continually published weekly newspaper in California, established in 1853 in the small gold rush town of Downieville. The bi-coastal connection between Ackerman and the editor of the Mountain Messenger, Carl Butz, speaks to an almost bygone genre of journalism.
Ackerman’s articles are original, authentic, and free from the stink of search engine optimization or misleading clickbait. His work is best suited for print, for the quiet contemplation over coffee in the morning. With this most recent collection, you can bring the book to the beach.
Born and raised in Rochester, the self-described “peripatetic east coaster” now calls several places home, including East Hampton, New York, Danforth, Maine, and Palm Beach, Florida. He is well-known and respected around the Hamptons as a real estate lawyer for over 50 years and spends his free time painting watercolors, reading and traveling—and, of course, fishing in the morning.
Written over 18 months between 2021 and 2023, the essays in Fishing the Morning examine the enduring themes in Ackerman’s life: Maine, fishing, work, travel, and his connections with people – from life-long friends and loved ones to acquaintances and the ordinary folks he encounters day to day. To me, the author is at his strongest sharing vignettes of personal history that offer glimpses of a bygone time.
Across the Hamptons and the country, Ackerman has received considerable praise for his work, which award-winning author Michael Wolff (USA Today) described as “Simple, profound, intimate.” Last week’s book signing event BookHampton’s was well-attended by his many fans, family, and friends eagerly rapt with attention.
From the state of the lobstering business in Maine to the unexpected upside of Florida hurricanes, Ackerman is never short of subject matter, as he finds there isn’t much in the world that isn’t worth a closer look. What he notices and records in his many columns are candid reflections of his own life, always experienced to the fullest and brimming with possibility.
The underlying correspondence-like tone often bolsters the book’s tone. It feels like you are catching up with your neighbor or cousin after a long trip. Like any great storyteller, Ackerman brings broader questions and concepts to the fore through everyday experiences. For example, a recent trip to Canada presents a memorable ode to the fisherman’s paradox – the agony of no bites in a paradise-like setting.
His views on national and world events are refracted through the prism of a life well-lived, with plenty of wisdom to share. Always engrossing, Ackerman knows how to share his beliefs without preaching, instead inviting the reader to the inarguable view from the inside. That interiority, the inner expression of consciousness, demands both intellect and considerable skill on behalf of the author and editor. That “Fishing the Morning” is concise, easy to read, and genuinely interesting is a testament to the thriving relationship between the author and editor.
You can buy your copy from BookHampton here.