There’s no rhyme or reason to what I look for. Sometimes I’m looking for early editions of some of the classics on salmon fly tying, sometimes I’m on the hunt for some Gierach books to fill gaps in his bibliography. And sometimes I just purchase before I even know what I’m looking at.Read More
I grew up in a region designed for big words. It demands superlatives.Read More
I have a sizable collection of fly fishing books. Sometimes I’ll review one. I’ll keep it under 500 words. Any longer and you should just go read the book. Expect slander, personal opinion, and unbridled honesty. I like both books and fly fishing too much to be nice.
I have a thing for wet flies. It almost defies explanation, but it’s there. They are not the most effective patterns in most situations, they date back to an era before our current high level of understanding regarding entomology, trout, river life, and fishing tactics, but I love them all the same. It’s not unusual for someone to have a retro affectation in their hobbies. Some anglers use cane rods, some cyclists only ride steel bikes, some carpenters only use hand tools. I have a deep love for classic, old-school wet flies.
If you’re of the same bent, or even just mildly interested in adding some wet flies to your fly box, I would suggest Dave Hughes’ Wet Flies. Whatever your needs, be it tactics, patterns, tips, tricks, or just a learned dive into all things wet fly, this book kind of has it all. It’s equal parts anecdote, in-depth tactical and functional analysis, and pattern book, with loads of photos to document how Dave Hughes ties some of his favorite patterns. I wouldn’t go out on a limb and say that it’s the most thrilling fly fishing book I own, there is no high adventure here, but it nonetheless broadened my understanding of wet flies to a considerable degree. I found the section on tactics to be particularly valuable. I never hurts to have a knowledgeable person provide insight into the hows and whys of a given approach.
When I took up fly fishing again as an adult, after a nearly two decade break, I had my first real success with wet flies. Either with a tenkara rod or a western set up I carried a box of size 14 and 16 soft-hackles and kebari flies and I did very, very well on my local rivers and streams. I experienced great fellow feeling for Dave Hughes when, in his introduction to Wet Flies, he talked about the decision to walk away from a “perfect dry-fly day on perfect dry-fly water”. I’ve made that same decision and been amply repaid with fish in hand and great days on the river. One thing I love about collecting fly fishing literature is the sense that my experiences are shared with others. That somehow, across space and time, I am sharing a feeling, or a place, or an emotion, with someone else. That my angling experiences are, in some small sense, universal and that there is something inherent in the experience of fly fishing that connects anglers. Reading Dave Hughes’ revelation about wet flies reminded me of my own past conviction that a size 14 Moorit wool kebari was the fly, the only fly, that I needed. Next season I’ll be sure to have a fresh box of wet flies and, on some perfect dry-fly day on perfect dry-fly water, I’ll tie on a soft hackle and cast up into the next pool.
If you are an angler and a book person you need a copy of Muriel Foster’s Fishing Diary on your bookshelf.Read More
When the tool itself is so well designed that it works seamlessly with you, you have a winner.Read More
I would buy this book for someone who was just getting into tying flies and taking their first steps into the big, wide world of fly patterns and the heightened opinions and emotions that surround them.Read More
The Dyret is a useful jack of all trades fly that doesn’t match the hatch but blurs the line between enough different insects to be effective in multiple situations and on all but the pickiest of tailwater fish.Read More
If you are an experienced hunter for stone arrowheads then you, much like an angler, know generally the kinds of places such things could be found, what conditions are likely to make your hunt more successful, and that there’s a certain amount of hope involved in the enterprise. Just because it looks like the right spot, the conditions are right, and you bring a double armful of experience and knowledge to the table doesn’t mean that you’ll find either trout or arrowheads.Read More
When I pull into a parking spot, when I finally see the stretch of river that speaks to me, I tend to lose my calm. The tailgate opens, my gear tumbles out, and I’m lost in trying to do three things at once, to get my waders on, pack my gear, and string my rod.Read More
The first conversations before rigging up are a spell, something to conjure up a best-case scenario. We want dry fly fishing. We’d accept swinging wets. We’ll nymph if that’s what the day offers, but we won’t go home and brag about it.Read More
Want to know what goes into a Silver Doctor or any of the various Akroyd variants? It’s all in here.Read More
Goals, if I can philosophize, are the bane of camping and fishing, unless the goal happens to be the destination.Read More
I am not a fan of dropping my rod and reel into the water, I can only stumble around on the bank for so long looking for a safe spot to set the rod before it stresses out the fish in my net, I can’t balance the rod across my shoulders like everyone seems to do in their grip-and-grins on Instagram, and I’ve had it slip out from under my arm far too many times.Read More
I think that James Prosek hit on something vital and important when he conceived this book, namely that fishing books aren’t necessarily about fishing.Read More
I’ve never been someone to buy cheap tools. My grandfather had me standing on a four-legged stool next to him as soon as I could be trusted with a screwdriver. I spent years of my life repairing bicycles and using tools and my hands to earn my keep. I know the value of a high-quality tool that you can trust to get the job done. Which is why I’m so damn angry about this pair of scissors.Read More
John Gierach is everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, and I’ll admit that every time I fish the Vrain I keep an eye out for a bearded gentleman carrying a cane rod.Read More
I’ve decided that this is the year I finally crack the whole carp thing. I’ve done the reading, I’ve looked at the maps, and I am ready to go all in. At least until runoff is over and all of the trout water opens up. But until then, it’s carp for me.Read More
Above me, in stair-stepping pools of tea-colored water the river continues climbing towards the Continental Divide, a minor riverine extravagance below the greater extravagances of the mountains that chivvy and shove the shoreline back and forth between their feet.Read More
I spent the better part of the summer fishing a very short, light fly rod and the change to a long nymphing rod meant some fast and dirty changes to how I approached a bank of leafless willows along Clear Creek.Read More
The rod, I thought, looks far nicer than what I paid for. I had planned on receiving an unvarnished stick and instead got a rod that, at least as far as finish is concerned, looks as nice as some of the name brand rods that I have used in the past.Read More