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Janet Messineo has completed her long awaited first book. Now on the shelves in your favorite book store as of July 2 2019

Published by Pantheon Order today

A moving, inspiring portrait of making a dream come true--the (unsentimental) education of a champion surfcaster (catching fish by casting a line from the shoreline).

The midnight (and early morning) tales of a young woman hell-bent on following her dream and learning the mysterious and profound sport--and the art, of surfcasting on the small, legendary island of Martha's Vineyard, breaking through the strictly enforced male-bastion of fishing life to become a world-class sportsman at a time when few women fished.

Janet Messineo writes of mastering surfcasting during the daylight and struggling with it on the beaches at night ... She writes of the Vineyard fishermen she's fished with and the fishing women who've forged the path for others. She describes the unspoken "fishing ethic" and the age-old secrecy behind fishing techniques, lures and baits, fishing locations, and writes of her own favorite spots on the island and on Chappaquiddick, of her Derby years and dreams of catching that prize-winning elusive striper; about acquiring, not only the skill of hooking and landing a big fish, but the skill of finding them.

Full of adventure and daring--a rich portrait of following one's vision and heart.


How Janet Messineo, through sheer grit, managed to acquire her skills and gain acceptance into the boys' club of master fishermen on Martha's Vineyard reads like a fairytale in which a callow youth overcomes endless obstacles to realize a seemingly impossible dream. But be warned: Once you start reading this gripping and instructive saga, it's hard to put it down."

—Lisa Alther

"Delightful . . . great insight into the existence of professional anglers and the insular culture of Martha's Vineyard . . . Messineo's captivating memoir brings a refreshing mix of vulnerability, accessibility, and joy to the fishing genre."

—Publishers Weekly

"A tackle box full of fishing tips, memories, histories, taxidermy, and even recipes from an angler who found focus and purpose for her life among her fellow fishermen on Martha's Vineyard . . . A chronicle of a life in fishing by an author who seems like good company." 


Janet Messineo was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts and has been living on Martha’s Vineyard since 1966. She has been fishing the shoreline of the Vineyard and Chappaquiddick for more than 40 years. Messineo has contributed to and been featured in many books and magazines including Reading the Water, Robert Post, An Amazing Story of the Vineyard’s Derby, Ed Jerome and Ray Ellis, The Big One, David Kinney, On the Run, David DiBenedetto, New England Stripers, a Fishing Anthology, On the Water. Offshore, Cape Cod Life, Vineyard Style and Martha’s Vineyard Magazine, The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

Messineo has been a professional fish taxidermist since 1987 when she graduated of from the Pennsylvania Institute of Taxidermy. Her extensive personal collection of mounted fish will be on permanent display at the newly built Historical Museum in Vineyard Haven.

Until recently, Messineo was a Martha’s Vineyard surf fishing guide. She has always been deeply involved in the recreational fishing community. She is a charter member and served as president for six years of the Martha’s Vineyard Surfcasters, Assoc. She is a corporate member of the M.V. Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby and has served on the committee since 1990. In 2005 she was inducted into the Derby Hall of Fame. She is also a member of Mass. Striped Bass Assoc. (MSBA)

2020 will be her 43th year participating in the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. Messineo’s long awaited book, her first, was published on June 2nd, 2019 by Pantheon Books, Casting into the Light, Tales of a Fishing Life.

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