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Old 12-30-2011, 12:33 AM
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Default The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read

I've been a big fan of Gary LaFontaine's work for quite a while. I can't remember which book I read first or how exactly I stumbled upon it. I think it was Caddisflies and I found it in the Missoula Public Library the first year I lived here. I was a greenhorn fly fisherman, new to the West and the Big Waters, and hungry - starving - for knowledge. For anything to teach me all that I was missing. I was a self taught trout fisherman from the start, learned on a couple little put and take streams of middle Michigan. So books had always been my guide and experience my teacher.

I read The Dry Fly not long after. I can actually remember the apartment I lived in while reading that book for the first time, it was utterly amazing to me that someone could know so much about fishing and be such a good writer, the romanticism was heighten by the fact that Gary had lived and fished the waters I so dearly wanted to learn about. That book taught me a lot and changed the way I approached angling for trout with flies.

Now, 12 or so year later, a couple weeks ago I grabbed the same old hardcover copy from the same shelf. My life so different now, my 3 year old daughter had already picked out her books and was trying to be patient while dad looked for something. I always head to the 799 section and just scan...as her patience ran out, I thought - "what the hell, I might as well read it again" and home I went with The Dry Fly again.

I remember how interesting and intimidating the book was a dozen years ago. Some of it is still intimidating, just in scope now, but it is mostly enlightening. I appreciate his approach and style so much more now. The life long dedication to his quarry. Gary was a true innovator, a scientist and a dreamer. It's a damn shame he left so young. I wish I could have met him. There are plenty of people still around that fished with him that I consider seeking out.

Since this is getting longer than I initially intended and I haven't yet begun to get into the book, I think I'll change my tack. I've made it clear that this book is important to me, and I wonder if anyone else has read it and feels similarly.

And finally, please share the books and writers that have changed and/or shaped your life as a fly angler.
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:05 AM
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Default Re: The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read

I'll have to read that book this winter; I've really only read one flyfishing book having just seriously fished a couple years now. My wife bought it for me last Christmas and I probably read it 3 times at least; "The Fly And the Fish" by John Atherton who also died young btw. The book was written in the late 40's I believe so there's some out dated stuff about making lines but riveting stories and anecdotes of fishing all over N.A. for trout and salmon/steelhead, as well as fishing and tying techniques. Lee Wulff was one of his fishing partners. A really good read.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:58 AM
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Default Re: The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read

As a newbie, I'm sure that my fly-fishing library is a mere smidgen of what many of you have (only four books, a few magazines, and a DVD, at this point), but I'm thoroughly enjoying the solid explanations and the accompanying clear, detailed, photos of process in Charlie Craven's Basic Fly Tying.

In fact, I went to the local fly shop last night, and spent $50 on materials to start to read and tie instead of just reading!
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read

I havn't read that one yet Dean, but it is on my list. I'm headed back to Yellowstone again next summer so I just picked up Craig Matthews book on Yellowstone. My favorite to this point is Schweiberts "Matching the Hatch". It is absolutely loaded with information and he was also a decent writer himself. I particularly appreciate his anecdotal asides and specific information about eastern waters. He spent more time fishing MI and New England than I have spent daydreaming about it. I've also picked up a couple of his other books that are collections of short stories; nonfiction but not so much informational as they are pleasure reading.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:47 AM
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Default Re: The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read

Wannafish - I heard of that title but never read it, I have read a little by Wulff, another one of my fisherman heroes. f you have a library nearby see what they have, there are so many fishing books not all will suite you. I usually try to read some of a book before deciding to add it to my library. I ordered Dry Fly last week for permanent addition to mine. Now is the best time to brush up on your reading! A good introduction to LaFontaine's writing and thinking process is his first book - The Challenge of Trout.

Rick -- I've heard a lot of good things about Craven's tying instruction, good choice. I spent quite a bit of x-mas cash on materials this week, too! Have you checked out the excellent Nymph Tie-Along thread that Pococno has going right now?

---------- Post added at 07:47 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:39 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by ausablebrown View Post
I havn't read that one yet Dean, but it is on my list. I'm headed back to Yellowstone again next summer so I just picked up Craig Matthews book on Yellowstone. My favorite to this point is Schweiberts "Matching the Hatch". It is absolutely loaded with information he was also a decent writer himself. I particularly appreciate his anecdotal asides and specific information about eastern waters. He spent more time fishing MI and New England than I have spent daydreaming about it.
Hi ausauble - I think you'd enjoy LaFontaine's anecdotes. You'd enjoy the story about a specific brown trout in the PM that they studied for a few days, and he thought the caddis hatch on the Muskegon was one of the best. He grew up in the East and knew those rivers, too. What I find so great about this book, and all of his writings, is that they are not geographically specific. He really wanted to crack some of the codes of trout, in general, and approached it very scientifically. Check it out, you'll never fish the same way.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read


Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read

Quote:
Originally Posted by dean_mt View Post
Have you checked out the excellent Nymph Tie-Along thread that Pococno has going right now?
I've been following the nymph tie-along, but I really haven't started tying yet, as I pick-up my magnifying light this wekend, while in NYC. Got a Carson MagniFly ($28 @ B&H Camera). With my eyesight, I'm lucky that I can see a 6/0 thread without a magnifier, no less tie anything with it! Sure sucks to get old, but I suppose that it beats the alternative!
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read

Probably the most inspirational book I own, especially from a tying standpoint:
[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

I'm fortunate to count many friends and acquaintances involved in producing the book, as well as having their flies in it.

This is one of the two coolest artifacts (IMHO) at the American Museum of Fly Fishing: a box of antique Jock Scott's. It was fun to have it under my care for almost 7 years:

Click the image to open in full size.

I leaf through this book and just want to start tying. Or better still, go salmon fishing!
Gary
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read

Three books immediately come to mind, all classic or if you will "Gold Standards."

Trey Combs "Steelhead Fly Fishing and Flies" first published in 1976. Many 'how to's written after this, but this is still the Steelhead fly flickers 'Bible.'

Hugh Falkus's "Speycasting, A new Technique" published in 1994. If you were into 2-hander casting this was the book you hunted down for 'self-teaching.' And unless you lived in Darkest British Columbia or the UK ... this was probably where you started.

My third call would be:

"Ted Leeson/Jim Schollmeyer's "The Fly Tier's Benchside Reference to Techniques and Dressing Styles." (First published in 1998) 400 pages of pure magic for fly tiers of all skill levels. If there's 6 ways to achieve a desired result, they'll cover all six. Clearly written, informative AND all the pictures are in colour. That last bit may not sound like it would make much difference, but let me tell you ... it really does!

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Old 12-30-2011, 01:56 PM
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Default Re: The best non-fiction fishing literature you've read

We agree on those three, Fred!
Gary
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