Anything Fly Fishing

Not Just for the Coffee Table – Books for Fly Fishermen

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Magazines, articles and blogs are great, but there is something timeless about a good book. Fly fishing book covers are often eye-catching, and make great coffee table decorations. Too often these books never have the chance to be read, and to advance the skills and minds of fly anglers. I’ve curated a list of eight fly fishing books that are more than just home adornments; their pages contain stories of angling adventures, expertise on fishing, guidance and tips on fly tying. These books are for the seasoned angler and the eager novice, each one inviting you to delve deeper into the world of fly fishing.

Lords of the Fly

This might be one of the best fly fishing books ever written. From New York Times bestselling author Monte Burke, Lords of the Fly tells the history and progression of saltwater fly fishing, focused on the prized gamefish, the tarpon. Most of the stories and tales take place in Florida, mainly around the little gulf coast town of Homosassa. The lives of many fly fishing legends and IGFA hall of fame inductees are highlighted and praised, such as Stu Apte, Ted Williams, Tom Evans, Billy Pate, and others as they pursue world records for tarpon on fly. The timeline ranges from the early 70’s when fly fishing in saltwater gained popularity, then meanders through the next several decades until modern day. The stories of these colossal anglers are only eclipsed by the stories of the colossal fish they pursue. The story is captivating, the competition is fierce, and the motley crew of egos and eccentrics will make it so once you pick this book up, you won’t want to put it down.

Fly Fishing for Redeye Bass: An Adventure Across Southern Waters

Fly fishing for bass, in my opinion, is understated and underappreciated. It is accessible in every state in the United States, and where trout or bonefish are not available, bass are an excellent gamefish to pursue. Dr. Matt Lewis definitely agrees, and in his book, he does a deep dive into the Southeast’s native redeye bass species, their habitat, their forage, and most enjoyable, how to catch them on fly. The story is mostly academic, as Dr. Matt Lewis had a PhD in fisheries genetics, but it’s not boring like a thesis paper.

Fly Fishing for Bass Handbook

Dave Whitlock is both a legendary fly fisher and a fly tyer. He was a longtime contributor to Fly Fisherman magazine, an IGFA Hall of Famer, one of the most innovative fly tyers, and has been described as “Everyone’s Fly Fishing mentor.” Dave had an amazing life spent in fly fishing and fly fishing education, but what makes Dave so unique is his artistic talent and his love for warmwater fish. The Fly Fishing for Bass Handbook is both written and illustrated by Whitlock. The sketches are incredible, and the techniques laid out in the book will advance your bass fly fishing skills. This is a very special book, and it memorializes one of fly fishing’s true greats!

Smallmouth Bass Flies: Top to Bottom

Smallmouth bass are a fly fisher’s dream gamefish. Often occupying the same habitat as trout, but packing the fighting power of a saltwater fish, smallmouth eat streamers, nymphs, and even large poppers. Getting into the sport of fly fishing for smallmouth bass can be daunting, but this book gives you a true “top to bottom” comprehensive overview on beginning to fly fish for smallies, as well as a detailed overview on the flies needed and the best scenarios to use them. This book is a must have for smallmouth bass fly tiers, as there are pages full of flies and fly recipes in a curated catalog format. In the spring and summer, I keep this book on my fly tying desk to thumb through the multitude of patterns for both inspiration and fun!

Super Bass Flies

There are plenty of books, videos and resources for tying with deer hair and creating large deer hair bass poppers, but this book is an encyclopedia. Consider it the sovereign word of tying with deer hair, according to Pat Cohen! The book itself is a BEAST, but when faced with the daunting task of tying and spinning deer hair, a beast is what is required. Included in this book is an overview on the basics of fly fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass, 41 step-by-step tying instructions, and a breakdown of the different deer hair flies that can be tied and utilized for topwater, mid-column and bottom fly fishing. This is the perfect book for fly tyers wanting to begin tying with deer hair, or fly tyers wanting to improve their deer hair craft!

The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide

If there is one book that reigns supreme for fly fisher, it would be The Orvis Fly-Fishing Guide. Before I ever picked up a fly rod or sat down at the tying vise, I flipped through the pages of this book. My dad had a copy, and I remember taking it out as a kid and looking at all the pictures of trout and freestone streams. So, once I got into fly fishing, a copy of my own was the first book that I purchased. This is one of the best comprehensive overviews of the sport of fly fishing. Everything you need to get started fly fishing is contained in these pages, so I recommend this book for new and old fly fishers alike!

Strip-Set

George Daniel is one of the best fly fishermen of the modern era. He has competed around the world as a member of the USA Fly Fishing Team, is a certified FFF Fly Casting Instructor, and is a famed outdoor and fly fishing writer. His book Strip-Set is a deep dive into the world of fly fishing with streamers. This book covers rods, reels, fly lines, fishing techniques, seasonal changes and a plethora of streamer flies, from big to small. Streamer fishing can seem a bit daunting, but George breaks it down simply. Best of all, he details how to streamer fish with the fly rod you have, so no pressure to go buy a whole new setup. This is a great book for fly tyers as well as fly fishers looking to advance their ability and knowledge. Who knows, you might even crack the code and finally catch that 24” trout you’ve been pursuing!

Game-Changer

If you haven’t heard of the Game Changer fly, you must be living under a rock. And not a river rock, because even they have heard and seen this legendary fly. Created by Blane Chocklett, the Game Changer fly has revolutionized the sport of fly fishing and fly tying. The innovation of fly mechanics, synthetic fly material, and even fly fishing technique has been changed by the introduction of this fly. The book Game-Changer tells Blane’s story and the chronology of events that lead to the creation of this great fly. The book also includes step-by-step fly tying instructions to create these Game Changer style flies. This is a great book for fly anglers who love the Game Changer fly and want to hone their craft of tying this unique style of articulated streamer flies. Check it out, because the book itself is a game changer!

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