So while I’m still finishing up the Gierach book, I figured I’d do a quick book review for some lighter reading material. Some books are really just meant to be picked up and perused, gathering little tidbits of information or just to look at some pretty fishy pictures. One such book is the topic of today’s Book Review.
The Big Book of Fly Fishing Tips & Tricks: 501 Strategies, Techniques, and Sure-Fire Methods
by C. Boyd Pfeiffer
I’m skeptical anytime I hear the words “Sure-Fire” when it comes to fly fishing, which despite generation after generation of fly fishermen, we still know very little about what makes our targets tick. Just the same, this is one of those books that is really great for those just getting into fly fishing. Simple tips like how to thread your fly line through your guides or how to tie a couple different knots. I kinda wish I had this book when I first started because not only did I not know the first thing about fly fishing, but I also knew no one who did. So I learned the hard way by just going out and doing it, eventually finding a few videos here or there that would help me along the way. Honestly though, it wasn’t until I started fishing with other fly fishermen that I started to find my groove.
Beyond the beginner, there are still some cool little tips for the seasoned (I use that generously) fly fisherman. Think of them more along the lines of those “life hacks” we always see splattered across our social media. Granted, some of these hacks are downright goofy. Like this hat contraption you’ll see to the right. If you see me wearing something like this on the river you have my permission to throw a rock at me.
However, there are some cool DIY hacks that I actually plan on using at some point. For example, my 5 wt rod has no case. Currently it resides in, or rather rattles around in, a plastic blueprint tube I got from a craft store. You can buy rod tubes but inevitably they’re going to cost you more cash than they’re worth and will be emblazoned with some brand label that probably won’t line up with the type of rod you have. That weirds me out for some reason. Well in this book is a pretty simple sounding method of making your own rod bags for storage/transportation of those loose fly rods like my 5 wt. Granted, they used some downright nasty fabric for a few of the examples, but there’s nothing stopping me from making one out of Cavs wine and gold.
What I thought was most useful about this book was the fly tying section. One of the things that drives me absolutely bonkers is when extremely simple tools are upcharged like crazy just because they have a brand name or famous name. There are exceptions though where the cost can be matched by the quality, such as with scissors, vises, bobbins, etc. Take for instance this hair packing tool called the Cohen’s Original Fugly Hair Packer. It’s $30. Let that sink in. That, in the picture to the left, is $30. Tongs with a hole cut into the jaw for the hook shank. $30. I’m sorry, no offense to Mr. Cohen, but that’s absurd. Especially when it’d be so easy to make something like you see below. Or even another homemade version of the Cohen.
There are some other cool little DIY projects like this drying rack for those of us who don’t use a UV cure for our flies or who paint our own popper bodies. I actually thought it could be of use after a fishing trip, to dry out the flies I used that day so they don’t get all nasty in my boxes. It’s just some pieces of wood and some bead chain. Super simple, super cheap, and does only what you need it to do.
The book offers some tying techniques as well. For instance, this little tip on how to make caddis case nymphs seemed like a cool idea. Not necessarily useful for me as we don’t live near waters with any significant caddis hatch, but still a great idea.
So all together this is a pretty cool book to have around. It’s not “sure-fire” gonna make you catch more fish, but it’s a pretty nice coffee table book for browsing, especially if you’re just getting started.