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Catching Fish with Books, Not Just Hooks

By Scott McDuffee

Can you really catch a fish with a book? Well, sort of... The BEST way to become a better fly angler is to get real honest-to-goodness time with wet feet and a wet line, preferably with someone knowledgeable on that particular piece of water. That being said there is a wealth of literature to be discovered on the topic. From where I sit typing this, I am eyeballing a full shelf of books specific to fishing and Fly-fishing. Soft cover and hard, in every shape and size - mine have weathered pages and worn bindings from frequent use.

Frankly, being in the "weekend warrior" category, I don't get to fish as much as I would like. Some philosopher fisherman (those two words are almost synonymous, pardon the redundancy) said that the "earth is two-thirds water, so a person should spend two-thirds of their time fishing". This is perfect logic. However, the execution of said logic cannot possibly come to fruition in my life due to kid's school events and sports, work and related money gathering activities, family commitments and responsibilities, house and yard work, and other conspirator distractions from fishing. My opinion is that whoever came up with the two-thirds theory must have been retired and had a lenient spouse to boot. My point is that books are great for when you're wishin' you are fishin', as well as trying to get better connected to the sport you love.

There are many book topics beyond even the following "how to's": how to cast, how to read the water, how to find fish, how a fish sees and eats, how to tie flies, how to build a rod, how to get a drag free drift, how to ad infinitum. As I like to say, it may be that "the early bird gets the worm" but it is the "second mouse that gets the cheese". Oops, there are those cliches again, now in simpler terms - Why try to re-invent the whole dang thing yourself, when there is plenty of knowledge out there? Steal as many of those nuggets O' wisdom as you can. Reading is a great jumpstart to a lifelong love of the artful pursuit.

There are also many books that expand into story telling and history sharing; the best of these make you feel like you are hearing stories around a campfire from an old friend. You can't go wrong with blending humor and history. Given the amount of time we fish compared the amount of time we actually "catch", a fisherman must connect to the humor and philosophy of it all or seek a more "efficient" sport. Also, there are specific geographic guides that enlighten the interested, and dozens of other topics.

As well as the books shown on southwestsportsman.com, here are some of my favorites for "how to", story telling, and guide books: The Everything Fly-fishing Book, Fly-fishing Inshore Waters, Fly-fishing Techniques and Tactics, In the Ring of the Rise, Fishing Bamboo, Trout Streams of ___________(pick the state), Advanced Fly Tying, The Yellowstone Fly-fishing Guide, America's 100 Best Trout Streams, Death-Taxes- and Leaky Waders, Fly Tying Techniques and Patterns, 101 Innovative Fly-tying Tips, Fishing the Flats, Dream Fish and Road Trips, Fly Patterns, Masters of the Nymph, and Slack Line Strategies.

Another way to find great fly fishing literature is by author. I don't think someone can go wrong if they read anything by Gierach, Lyons, Kreh, Humphrey, Harvey, LaFontaine, A.K. Best, Sosin, Ross, Proesec, etc. Determine what it is you like. Get connected. Learn something. Catch a fish with a book!

You may find this and other articles by Scott McDuffee at SouthwestSportsman.com

Scott McDuffee is a lead editor for http://www.southwestsportsman.com and an avid outdoorsman.

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