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Nature Essays

One Last Cast

Reflections of an Outdoor Life

by (author) Bruce Masterman

RMB | Rocky Mountain Books
Initial publish date
Mar 2017
Essays, Mountains, Wilderness
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price

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One Last Cast is a collection of soul-touching and evocative stories about author and outdoor enthusiast Bruce Masterman's experiences in wild places and with wild critters.


Award-winning Alberta writer, journalist and storyteller Bruce Masterman has been a passionate outdoors enthusiast for more than five decades and has explored Alberta's natural world while fishing, hiking, hunting, snowshoeing, camping or just sitting on an old weathered stump watching the river flow. One Last Cast is a compilation of his writings, some never before published, others drawn from newspapers, magazines and books to which Bruce has contributed. The stories are about place and landscape, intertwined with the rich experiences and people the author encountered along the way.


One Last Cast is a literary journey that speaks to outdoor aficionados of all stripes – anglers, hunters, hikers, wildlife watchers, snowshoers, anybody who enjoys and takes comfort in being involved in nature, whether in an urban park or deep in the wilderness or even while dreaming about it from the comfort of an armchair.

About the author

Bruce Masterman has been a writer and journalist for more than 40 years, and a passionate outdoors enthusiast for even longer. After a 26-year career reporting and writing for daily newspapers in Western Canada, including 21 years at the Calgary Herald, Bruce started freelancing full time in 2000 for magazines including Reader's Digest, explore and Outdoor Canada. He specializes in writing about conservation and the outdoors and is the author of two books – Heading Out: A Celebration of the Great Outdoors in Calgary and Southern Alberta, and Paradise Preserved: The Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area. Bruce has earned many conservation and writing awards, including 10 National Magazine Awards and the Andy Russell Nature Writing Award. In 1998 he became the first print journalist to receive an Alberta Order of the Bighorn Award for “outstanding contributions to the conservation of Alberta's fish and wildlife heritage.” Bruce has taught journalism part time at SAIT in Calgary since 2006 and serves as a town councillor for High River in southern Alberta. He and his wife, Karen, live in High River, Alberta.

Bruce Masterman's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Having a sense of place goes far beyond your address, demographic and the spot where you draw a pay cheque. The natural world teaches us that just like other animals we too have natural habitats, and a life rich in experience is one deeply rooted in the land, the waters, the seasons, and the rhythms of other animals. Bruce Masterman has his finger on those rhythms, that pulse, and his essays freshen the wild spirit within each of us.

Pamela Banting, environmental literature professor, University of Calgary

Fly fishing and daughters (and much more) bring memories of my own growing up as the daughter of a fly fisher—lowing water, flashing silver, life along rivers and on lakes. Masterman thoughtfully captures it all in these pieces from over the years he has spent in the outdoors—fishing, hunting, random wandering and celebrating nature. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious—all worth reading or re-reading on a day when the weather keeps one by the fireside.—Valerie Haig-Brown lives on the edge of Waterton Lakes National Park where she hikes often and occasionally guides wildlife and wildflower enthusiasts. She is the author of a biography of her parents, Deep Currents: Roderick and Ann Haig-Brown

Valerie Haig-Brown, author, Deep Currents: Roderick and Ann Haig-Brown

The era of the classic outdoors writer isn't past — it lives on in Bruce Masterman. His work combines authentically-lived experience and a naturalist's sensitive observation with the kind of easy prose style that marks a real writer's craft. From marsh to mountaintop, with rod, gun or binoculars, at all seasons — Masterman has been there and now he takes the rest of us with him into the living wild places of our West.

Kevin Van Tighem, naturalist and author of Heart Waters and The Homeward Wolf

"You will emerge from the final chapter of One Last Cast with a greater appreciation for nature, wonder at its offerings and care and concern for its wellbeing."

The Western Producer

Many years ago, Bruce Masterman and I fished Alberta’s Oldman River together. I had only recently taken up fly fishing, and Bruce patiently and graciously shared his angling expertise. In short order, I was catching rainbow and cutthroat trout on dry flies. Although we had been working together for a few years at the time, this was our first time fishing together. The experience served to reinforce what I already knew about Bruce through his writing: he has an enduring passion for the outdoors, and an abiding eagerness to share that passion with others. And that’s exactly what shines through in this deeply thoughtful collection of outdoor reflections.

Patrick Walsh, editor-in-chief of Outdoor Canada magazine

The short pieces in this volume sparkle with knowledge and insight. Best of all, they are fun to read, and interesting to think about....Through Masterman’s fine prose, readers get to join him on a tough hike up a remote ridge in the Rockies, shiver at the night sound of wolves while survival camping solo in the wilderness, and wait by a northern Manitoba railway siding in -40F temperatures, to see if a roll-of-the-dice meeting with a trapper friend comes off.

Jim Cunningham, Calgary Herald

[Masterman’s] stories weave a rich and warmly colored tapestry of memories of landscape, place, people, and creatures both domestic and wild. [They] are personal but reach into the universal in their treatment of life’s joys, sorrows, wins, and losses, from the reminder to really live and confront challenges that was brought to him by death of two friends, to the especially tender story of how times spent fly fishing with his daughter grew into warm memories that bless them both now that she is grown. Like naturalist John Muir before him, Masterman has found that a good life demands beauty as well as bread, and he has found in nature the source of both.

Foreword Reviews

One Last Cast is a great read and will encourage all of us to go outdoors to experience our natural world, a tonic for body and soul, as Bruce points out.

Joyce Moore, High River Times

Disconnect, curl up with this book, and reconnect – with your source, the natural world. Bruce Masterman casts an evocative glance back, and every sentence breathes the beauty and meaning of a life lived outdoors. For him, for those closest to him, and for you and me.

Monte Hummel, author of Wintergreen: Reflections from Loon Lake