The Complete Angler has been in print for over 350 years. Just a how-to book on fishing would not have created such a popular work. Walton's comments on how to catch and prepare numerous varieties of fish create a pleasant leisure read for any fisherman. His anecdotes are as fresh and contemporary today as they were in his century.
The greatest classic of angling literature and a unique celebration of the English countryside, Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler was originally published in 1653. No book, apart from the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, has been more often reprinted. As a treatise on the art of fishing it has never wholly been superseded.
“It would sweeten a man’s temper at any time to read it,” wrote essayist Charles Lamb some years after this novel was first published in 1653. Of course, The Compleat Angler is much more than just a 17th century “how-to” guide to catching and cooking fish.