A compilation of his various writings & stories, "Fishless Days, Angling Nights" is the book Sparse is probably best known for. Published in 1971 (towards the end of his career) the subjects covered in the book are timeless. Any angler will enjoy reading through its pages. Spares' genial & self-deprecating sense of humor comes across very well in this book. So much so that after reading it, you'll feel like you know him.
The book contains chapters on many aspects of the sport & the activities surrounding angling. There's a hysterical chapter about waders & Sparse's mishaps in trying to repair them. There are also funny stories about camping, fishing in the rain, & a wedding party. Maybe my personal favorite story is about the troubles & difficulties of an unfortunate anglers Sparse overhears while night fishing. I really like this book because he covers everyday fishing happenings in proper language but in a down-home, personable way of writing.
Along the way through the book, Sparse gives us history & background on many of the topics he discusses. We learn some of the history of the Neversink River in the Catskills, the introduction of modern waders into America, etc. He also introduces us to some important figures in the history of fly fishing: Edward R Hewitt & Theodore Gordon. Sadly, I think, both of these men are not remembered as often today as they deserve. I won't go into their contributions to the sport here ( those are topic in themselves for another day) but suffice it to say that fly fishing wouldn't be what it is today without their contributions.
This book is truly an angling classic. After reading it, it's easy to see why. It belongs on the shelf of every angler. Sparse was a writer who was a master at bringing his readers along with him to the stream or the camp or the pub. This not a "how-to" book (although you might pick up a few tips or ideas), but rather it's like sitting down, listening to a congenial friend share some funny & wonderful stories. Read this book. You'll enjoy it because Sparse was a master story teller.