The Barefoot Fisherman: a fishing book for kids

by Paul Amdahl

ISBN 0-9627815-0-9

ISBN 13:  978-0-9627815-0-6

135 pages, trade paper, first printing 2000


Thank you to all the thousands of folks who have purchased and loved this book. Paul has republished this title with London and Stout publishers.  It is available on

The Official Sales Pitch:

This book will inspire youngsters to become fishermen, and will teach them how to do it. Paul is a devoted and expert fisherman and a wonderful teacher who conveys his love of the sport in a way that children love.

From Kenn:

The author of this book is my oldest son, Paul, who is now full grown. So I’m biased just a little. I started taking Paul fishing when he was a tot, and he took to it like Dave Barry took to spitwads and jokes based upon bodily functions. Paul caught fish on bent straight pins and twine before I invested five bucks in a cheapo fishing pole with some cartoon character on it.

Even back then, somehow, he thought like a fish and caught them when everyone else got skunked. Plus, he just loved fishing. He’d stand in the rain for hours with unreasonable hope and enthusiasm.

He’s still like that. One story says it all.

As a young man, Paul became friends with a fisherman who was in his seventies and no longer able to drive much. But Stan had buddies who owned a lake in the mountains full of trout.  Paul drove Stan  to this private lake to fish with the men who owned the lake and fished it exclusively. These were guys who knew the water intimately– shoot, they owned the lake. But that day they were not lucky. Paul was the only one to catch fish. Pretty soon these successful middle aged businessmen were asking for tips. He became their fishing buddy.

I was never a very good fisherman, I confess. I’m a daydreamer and when I’ve got a line in the water my mind is often in some distant galaxy when a fish bites and I lose it. So I’m not sure where Paul got this gift. But if I wanted to introduce a kid to fishing, Paul is the one person in the world I’d ask to indoctrinate him or her into this ancient and magical pastime.

Paul self-published this book through Clearwater. He did the layout, got the photo permissions, paid for the printing and has done all the marketing. At first, the book did not sell well, but Paul treated it like he treats fishing: he just kept sending out review copies and marketing. Now I notice he has more google hits than I do (darn whippersnapper!) and this book sells as well as or better than most of mine. Plus, it was chosen by Wisconsin kids as one of their four favorite books of 2005, and chosen by Scholastic for sale at school fairs in one region. He gets great fanmail from kids.

I think your children or grandchildren will love this book.

kenn amdahl

Reviews and Blurbs:

Jim Fay

“I kept wishing that he had written the book 50 years ago so the kid in me could have learned from this master fisherman.”

Jim Fay, co author of Parenting with Love and Logic and many others

School Library Journal

“Gr 4-6-For those already familiar with the basics of fishing, this is the book to read. It covers equipment, tackle, approaching the water, baitfishing, specific types of fish, tying flies, and more. Speaking directly to children, Amdahl passes on numerous bits of information and tips gleaned from his years of experience. On the sunfish’s favorite food (the tomato worm) he suggests, “If your parents have a garden with tomatoes in it, look on the leaves for green caterpillars with a circle marking on them and a stinger thing on one end. That is a tomato worm. They look kind of scary, but they have never hurt me.” He reminds readers that it is not important to keep every fish they catch and when releasing them to be careful not to harm them. “The fun of catching a fish is in the skill it took to accomplish, not in the meat or dead body of the fish….” .-Diane Olivo-Posner, Long Beach Public Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information”

Boy’s Life:

The Barefoot Fisherman sticks to the basics: the right reel, correct line, best lures. Catching bass, sunfish, trout and walley. Sneaking up on ‘em, flycasting for ‘em, chunking dough bait at ‘em. How to to raise worms, catch crawdads and put a grasshopper on a hook.”
Boys’ Life,
November, 2002

Midwest Book Review

“The Barefoot Fisherman: A Fishing Book For Kids by experienced fishing enthusiast Paul Amdahl is an excellent and “reader friendly” introduction to the sport of fishing for aspiring young anglers of all ages and backgrounds. Individual chapters address catching a variety of different fish, from catfish to bass and walleyes, as well as lures, fly fishing, bait fishing and much more. The Barefoot Fisherman is an enthusiastically recommended “how to” guide for preparing the neophyte fisherman on how to get them most out of their fishing trip!”

Jim Cox, editor ”

Woods and Waters Magazine

Gordon Charles, Woods and Waters Magazine

National Sporting Goods Association:

“Thank you for sharing the kid’s book on fishing with me. I actually read over half of it and it was enjoyable. I wish you much success with your fun and informative book.”
James L. Faltinek
President & CEO of NSGA National Sporting Goods Association

“When I was growing up in the Missouri Ozarks, fishing was my biggest hobby along with hunting small game. I started my career as a dedicated fisherman, which eventually led to my being a professional touring pro on the Bassmasters Tour, by fishing with my Dad from the time I was four years old. I was one of the lucky kids that had a father which loved the outdoors and all it had to offer.

For those kids, and even adults, who did not have this leadership in learning the outdoors and the great sport of fishing, Paul Amdahl has written a book called “The Barefoot Fisherman”. It is an outstanding read, entertaining as well as informative. It provides the very basics needed to go fishing, along with some great humor and lessons learned while trying to catch a trophy fish while younger. Very good images and illustrations accompany the stories and information.

I wish I had been able to read this when I was a young boy to save the years of trail and error that I went through learning the sport of fishing. You may purchase the book at the website:

Bass Wishes,

Walt Reynolds, BASS Touring Pro

Barnes and

“I think that this is one of the best educational children’s books that I have ever read. The author really has a firm grasp of what makes kids want to learn. I enjoyed the part about the worms. A must read for all.

Susan Smallwood, a teacher

Dr. Samual Kowoski:

“Excellent Book for Kids and Adults!!!
I loved this book… Amdahl clearly has a passion for fishing and he relates his knowledge on the subject clearly and honestly. I bought this book for my 13 year old, Cheloe, but I ended up reading it too. It’s really really good!

Dr. Samual Kowoski, a professor of literature at NYCC”


“The Barefoot Fisherman is an enjoyable read for neophyte and veteran fisherman alike. Paul Amdahl has written a book that is an easily understood “how to” guide for the beginner, but even the saltiest sea captain would enjoy relaxing with this book. For the veteran angler, the book brings those childhood memories flooding back as he recalls what it is that he so loves about fishing.

More Reviews on